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Election panel charges legislator

By wire services
Published August 24, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - State Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, has been charged with 10 counts of violating Florida election laws for failing to identify contributors.

In 2003 Bullard filed campaign finance reports listing checks she received without identifying the donor. Details of the violations will not be released until after the Aug. 31 primary election because a law restricts access to charges brought against a candidate within 30 days of an election.

Bullard did not return a telephone call Monday seeking comment.

She faces possible fines totaling $10,000 if the Florida Elections Commission finds she deliberately violated the election laws.

Bullard is involved in a heated Democratic primary against former Rep. Ron Saunders, D-Key West, and Sheila Chamberlain, a former aide. The winner meets Republican Joseph Delaney in November in the general election.

4 indicted in slayings of 6 in house

DeLAND - A grand jury on Monday formally charged four suspects with murdering six people in a Deltona house this month, supposedly over an X-box video game system and some clothes.

The 15-count indictment provided gruesome details of the attack. It said the body of one of the female victims was sexually assaulted with a baseball bat and all of the victims were stabbed and cut after they were dead.

The suspected ringleader, Troy Victorino, 27, and co-defendants Robert Cannon, Michael Salas and Jerone Hunter, all 18, were each charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, abuse of a dead human body with a weapon and armed burglary. They also were charged with cruelty to animals for killing a small dog that was also in the house.

State Attorney John Tanner said he will seek the death penalty for all four.

Victorino, Cannon and Salas were given access to public defenders earlier this month. No one at the Volusia County Public Defender's Office answered the phone Monday afternoon, nor did anyone at the office of Grady Irvin, an attorney representing Hunter.

Police said the killings were the culmination of an argument between Victorino and one of the victims, Erin Belanger, 22.

Belanger's grandparents own a Florida winter home that was supposed to be vacant this summer, but police said Victorino and other squatters used it in July as a party spot. They were kicked out, but Victorino left behind an X-box video game system and clothing. Belanger took the items back to the three-bedroom rental home she shared with friends.

Investigators said Victorino organized the attack to retrieve the items.

Fired hotline worker blames remark

TALLAHASSEE - A state employee who answered child abuse hotline calls said Monday he was fired because he questioned a parent's allegation about inappropriate touching of a 5-year-old girl's chest by remarking that she was too young to have a chest.

Wayne Clemmer said he was fired Aug. 10 by the Department of Children and Families. He is appealing to the Public Employees Relations Commission.

He said he took a call from a man complaining that his 5-year-old daughter's mother inappropriately touched the girl's chest.

"She doesn't have a chest'; that's all I said," Clemmer said.

He said he made a report on the man's complaint, so a field investigator could look into his allegation, and told his supervisor the caller had taken offense to his remark.

"It's not right," said Clemmer, a 34-year veteran of state government. "You fire somebody for a first offense? No harm was done, no children were injured, or killed, the department wasn't embarrassed."

Bill Spann, a DCF spokesman, said he couldn't say much, including whether Clemmer's remark on the phone was the sole reason for his dismissal.

"Mr. Clemmer was fired for misconduct and it would be inappropriate to discuss the matter further," Spann said.

[Last modified August 24, 2004, 00:08:14]

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