MIAMI - Caregivers for Rilya Wilson pleaded innocent Thursday to child abuse charges covering the months leading up to the foster child's unsolved disappearance more than three years ago.
The pleas were submitted in writing; Geralyn Graham and Pamela Graham were not in court for the perfunctory arraignment. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Daryl Trawick set a trial for Dec. 13.
Geralyn Graham, 58, faces a possible life sentence if convicted of kidnapping and three counts of aggravated child abuse. She is already serving a three-year sentence imposed last year for fraud. Her roommate, Pamela Graham, 39, could face as much as 10 years on child abuse charges.
Police fear Rilya is dead after a long, international hunt for her turned up nothing. Geralyn Graham is accused of punishing the girl by locking her in an animal cage, tying her to her bed and confining her in a laundry room.
The women claimed that in early 2001, when Rilya was 4, a state welfare worker came and took her away. The Department of Children and Families denies that.
Hospital disciplines nurses for avoiding Frances duty
ORMOND BEACH - Florida Hospital-Ormond Memorial has fired or suspended about 25 nurses for not working during Hurricane Frances, hospital officials said.
Nurses were fired for not calling in, failing to show up or refusing to work. Some were suspended for not finishing a shift or coming in late, hospital spokeswoman Desiree Paradis-Warner said.
She said critical care employees are required to work during a disaster under stated policy.
"We have to have caregivers here. ... patient safety is our No. 1 priority," Paradis-Warner said.
The hospital provided shelter for working employees and their families.
Paroled convict guilty of killing police officer
TALLAHASSEE - A man faces a possible death sentence after he was found guilty Wednesday of murdering a Tallahassee police officer who was trying to stop a home invasion robbery.
A jury convicted Coy J. Evans, 34, of first-degree murder, burglary, armed kidnapping, armed robbery and fleeing law enforcement, all connected with the fatal shooting of Sgt. Dale Green on Nov. 13, 2002.
When Green, a 13-year veteran, responded to the robbery, Evans shot him five times, including once in the back of the head.
Evans was released from prison a few months earlier after serving six years of a seven-year sentence for burglary and robbery with a firearm.
Man who hit girlfriend with gator gets six months
DAYTONA BEACH - A man who swung an alligator at his girlfriend during an argument was sentenced to six months in jail.
David Havenner, 41, of Port Orange, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery and possession of an alligator, said Linda Pruitt, spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office. Sheriff's officials said Havenner was keeping the 3-foot gator in his bathtub and swung it at his girlfriend, Nancy Monico, 39, on July 16, hitting her at least once. He claimed she bit his hand first, in an argument that began because they had run out of alcohol.
Man shooting puppies is shot, deputies say
PENSACOLA - A man who was trying to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs made the .38-caliber revolver discharge, deputies said.
Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, of Pensacola, faces felony animal cruelty charges, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
He was treated at a hospital for the gunshot wound to his wrist, said sheriff's Sgt. Ted Roy.
Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old puppies because he couldn't find another home for the shepherd-mix dogs, according to the Sheriff's Office. On Monday, he was holding two of them when one hit the gun's trigger with its paw, making the gun discharge, the sheriff's report said.
Deputies found three puppies in a shallow grave, Roy said. The other four appeared to be in good health and were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which planned to offer them for adoption.