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Deputies cleared in death of Collier County inmate

By wire services
Published January 9, 2006

NAPLES - Collier County sheriff's deputies are not responsible for a jail inmate's suicide in February 2004, an internal affairs report said.

Robert Duane Williams, 46, of Naples hanged himself in his cell with a sheet tied around his neck. The investigation found the jail was short-handed on deputies that night, which made visual checks of the inmates difficult.

The investigation also determined that much of the inside of Williams' cell could not be seen by deputies from outside.

Williams was arrested by Naples police on charges of domestic violence and child abuse. The next morning during a head count, a deputy got a partial view of him apparently lying on the floor. The deputy entered the cell and saw the sheet around Williams' neck, something that could not be seen from the outside.

Charges dropped in fatal beating of UF student

JACKSONVILLE - Charges have been dropped against a second man in the fatal beating of a University of Florida student.

Jeffery Gronczniak, 19, of Ponte Vedra Beach was released from jail Thursday after pleading guilty to an unrelated traffic charge. He will testify against three men charged in the death of Thomas Oliver Brown, 23, following the Oct. 29 Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville.

Alex Samuel Canzano, 21, Jeremy Alan Lane, 21, and Mark Tyler Foss, 19, all of Jacksonville, are charged with second-degree murder.

Last month, prosecutors dropped charges against Casey Michael Schuurman, 20. His attorney said evidence showed Schuurman was not a participant.

Brown was beaten to death on a street after he became separated from some UF friends after the game. A reason for the beating was not clear, police said.

Agriculture department to review canker protocol

TALLAHASSEE - A state law requiring the removal of trees within 1,900 feet of one infected with citrus canker is being reviewed by the Florida Department of Agriculture in the aftermath of four bad hurricanes.

The storms that struck Florida last year caused an estimated $2.2-billion in damage to the state's crops and farming infrastructure and also may have spread diseases that threaten the state's $9-billion citrus industry.

Agriculture officials estimated Wilma and Katrina could be responsible for spreading canker to 183,000 acres, or a quarter of the state's commercial citrus groves.

As the agriculture department tries to determine how far canker was spread, growers have sought a less restrictive approach than the 1,900-foot law. They are trying to limit tree removals after losing valuable trees to the hurricanes.

Once canker is found in a grove, the state requires that citrus trees within a 1,900-foot radius be destroyed. Any change would have to be done by the Legislature.

[Last modified January 9, 2006, 00:56:11]

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