By TIMES WIRES
Published August 22, 2006
Committee endorses three in School Board contests
The African American Voter Research and Education Committee has endorsed candidates in three of four Pinellas School Board races.
In District 6 - which covers Seminole, Pinellas Park, parts of St. Petersburg and most of the beaches - the group endorsed sitting board member Linda Lerner.
In District 7 - which covers St. Petersburg roughly south of 54th Avenue N, Kenneth City, Gulfport and South Pasadena - the organization endorsed sitting board member Mary Brown.
In one of two countywide races, the group selected former school administrator Lew Williams.
It declined to endorse a candidate for the countywide seat sought by sitting board members Mary Russell and Nancy Bostock.
Man robs Wachovia branch on Fourth Street
ST. PETERSBURG - Police released a surveillance photo of a man who robbed a Wachovia Bank branch Monday morning, wearing sunglasses and gloves.
He walked into the branch at 4100 Fourth St. N at 9:43 a.m., approached a teller and demanded money in large bills, police said. He did not display a weapon or suggest he had one.
The man, about 5 feet 7 and weighing around 170, ran to a parking lot at 4200 Fourth St. N, got in a green vehicle and drove off, police said.
Officials identify woman found dead in mobile home
DUNEDIN - Sheriff's officials late Monday released the name of a woman found dead at the Grand Bay Mobile Home Park earlier in the day.
Mary T. Dittus, 60, of No. 122, 3300 Alt. U.S. 19 N, was found bloodied and on the floor by a neighbor about 1:45 p.m. Sheriff's homicide detectives provided no further details.
Man cleared of rape gains immigration release
MIAMI - A Cuban-American man cleared of a 1982 rape by DNA evidence finally won release Monday from federal immigration custody, ending months of legal limbo.
"I will start my life anew," Orlando Boquete shortly after walking out of the Krome Detention Center. "Anything that happens will be good. Nothing bad can happen to me."
Boquete, 52, was initially cleared of the Key West rape in May, but he was taken into immigration custody because of crimes allegedly committed during 10 years he was on the loose after a prison escape.
Boquete came to Florida from Cuba in the 1980 Mariel boatlift.
Under the agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Boquete will get deferred action on a final deportation order, meaning he can remain free as long as he adheres to several conditions, such as regular reporting to immigration authorities.
Boquete was serving a 55-year prison sentence before the DNA evidence found by the Innocence Project proved that he did not commit the rape for which he was convicted.
Three charged in pair of Polk drive-by shootings
LAKELAND - Three men were jailed Monday on charges related to two drive-by shootings that left a woman dead and two men wounded.
The Sunday morning shootings were in Lakeland and Winter Haven.
About 1:20 a.m. a gunman fired at a crowd of people outside a Lakeland apartment building, killing Monique Martinez, 21, and wounding Jamarc Jackson, 17. About 15 minutes later, David Jones, 21, was wounded in Winter Haven by gunmen in a similar vehicle.
Jerome Edwin Denmark, 19, of Lakeland was arrested in Lake City early Monday and charged with second-degree murder in the first shooting. His brother, Tarance Devon Denmark, 20, of Winter Haven, was arrested late Sunday on a charge of being an accessory to attempted murder in the second shooting. Inois Alexandre Jr., 19, of Winter Haven was charged with attempted murder in that shooting.