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Man faces murder charge in fatally shaking toddler

By Times Staff
Published July 11, 2005

LANTANA - A man who allegedly shook his girlfriend's 3-year-old son to death was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

Walfrido Pina, 23, had dropped Tabatha Geronimo off at work Thursday morning and was supposed to take her son Alias to day care, but instead returned with the toddler to the motel room where they were staying, Lantana police said.

Pina violently shook the crying boy, and Alias was bruised and unresponsive when Geronimo returned to the motel room about four hours later, Capt. Andy Rundle said.

Geronimo and Pina took Alias to a Lantana hospital whose doctors transferred him to Delray Medical Center, where he later died, Rundle said.

Pina was being held at the Palm Beach County Jail without bail on the homicide charge. His bail was $25,000 on the child abuse charges.

FHP identifies driver killed in Tampa accident

TAMPA - The Florida Highway Patrol has identified a man who died early Saturday morning in a traffic accident along Dale Mabry Highway.

Larry J. Langston, 35, of 1930 Hammocks Ave. in Lutz, was behind the wheel of a northbound 2000 Toyota Celica about 3 a.m. Saturday when he lost control and collided with a pickup truck in the southbound lane of Dale Mabry, troopers said. He died at the scene.

The driver of the pickup, Leonard Torretta, 20, of Tampa, was taken to University Community Hospital in Carrollwood with minor injuries.

Landlord hurt, two others slain in eviction shooting

JACKSONVILLE - A landlord was injured and two of her relatives were fatally shot when they attempted to serve an eviction notice to tenants who had allegedly not paid the rent.

Pamela Batie, her brother John L. McPherson and cousin Calvin Threadcraft went to the Jacksonville house Batie owned about midnight Friday to finalize the eviction, said Leonard McPherson, Batie and McPherson's father.

John McPherson, 21, and Threadcraft, 26, died at the scene, police said. Batie was taken to Shands Jacksonville and remained in critical condition Sunday afternoon, Officer Ken Jefferson said. He said a suspect has been identified, but he said the name is not being released.

Batie had rented out the two-bedroom house for two years, Leonard McPherson said.

The tenants had stopped paying rent in recent months, and Batie filed for an eviction 30 days ago, he said.

"They had been going back and forth for weeks about the rent, and it didn't look like (the tenants) were going to leave any time soon," Leonard McPherson said. "I just wish they wouldn't have done it themselves that night."

[Last modified July 11, 2005, 01:00:09]

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