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Hillsborough briefs

Briefs and news of note

By Times Staff
Published August 2, 2006

Zoo veteran died of heart failure after altercation

Herman the chimpanzee, a fixture at Lowry Park Zoo for more than four decades, had underlying heart disease when he slipped into a coma and died after a brawl with another chimp on June 8, a necropsy revealed.

Lowry Park released results for the cause of death this week, saying that Herman suffered from acute head trauma and concurrent cardiac disease.

Pathologists also found signs of myocardial fibrosis with probable cardiac insufficiency.

Rachel Nelson, the zoo's spokeswoman, said Lowry Park is working on an animal memorial that will honor Herman's memory.

The 42-year-old African-born chimp had been at Lowry Park since 1965. The average life expectancy for a chimp is 50 years.

Two plead guilty to lesser charges in marijuana case

TAMPA - Two men accused of using homes in upscale Tampa Bay neighborhoods to establish a multimillion dollar drug operation pleaded guilty to charges of marijuana possession Tuesday.

Rigo Same, 54, and Delvys Castellon, 29, are two of 11 people, mostly from Tampa, accused in a scheme to create marijuana growing farms in at least 10 homes in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, according to the federal indictment handed up in December.

Same was responsible for growing nearly 1,000 marijuana plants at his home, 2809 Safe Harbor Drive, in the Estates at Old Trout Lake, according to court documents.

In exchange for agreeing to cooperate with the government, Same and Castellon were allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 marijuana plants.

They could face between 5 and 40 years in prison when they are sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Moody. No sentencing date has been set.

Homeless woman found dead along road identified

RUSKIN - Authorities have identified a homeless woman found dead on a roadside in Ruskin last week as Victoria Poelvoorde-Smith .

Someone saw the 46-year-old's body Wednesday night at 33rd Street SE and 14th Avenue SE in Ruskin, east of Interstate 75. Deputies said she was fully clothed and had suffered blunt trauma to her upper body.

Tampa bicyclist dies after being hit by two vehicles

TAMPA - A 48-year-old Tampa bicyclist died late Monday of injuries from collisions with two vehicles that morning, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The man's name was not immediately released. Troopers said he was crossing Hillsborough Avenue at Orient Road, near the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, just before 10 a.m.

First, a Chevrolet Beretta driven by David L. Abernathy , 44, of Seffner, struck the front of the bike. After falling, the bicyclist stood up in the road, troopers said, but he was hit by a Ford Mustang driven by Steven A. McMillan , 26, of Tampa.

The injured rider was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died 12 hours later

[Last modified August 2, 2006, 06:10:40]

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