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Tampa Bay briefs

News of note.

By Times Staff
Published October 4, 2006

Man accused of sexual assault on intoxicated man

ST. PETERSBURG - A 43-year-old man was arrested on a felony sexual battery charge early Tuesday after assaulting an intoxicated man, police said.

Ricky Lee "Peaches" Ellis' victim "could not defend himself" when attacked, an affidavit said.

Ellis has a long criminal record, records show. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.


Man arrested after row, shooting in motel room

TAMPA - Benjamin Rayburn, 31, is a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair. A habitual traffic offender, he is not supposed to drive in Florida.

Police say that didn't stop him from shooting a man in a Rocky Point hotel room early Tuesday, then driving off in a van.

Rayburn had rented a room with his girlfriend at the Sailport Resort, police spokesman Larry McKinnon said. The girlfriend told authorities Rayburn returned to find her sleeping next to Nicholas Fernandez, 23, about 5 a.m. Tuesday and shot him in the back. Rayburn was believed to have fled the scene in a white Plymouth minivan.

Fernandez, who was treated at St. Joseph's Hospital, gave police a different account. He told officers the three were visiting in the room Monday evening and Rayburn and his girlfriend were smoking crack cocaine and got paranoid. He said they held him at gunpoint all night, demanding that he admit he was a police informant. Police found a used crack pipe in the room.

About 11 a.m. Tuesday, Rayburn was arrested after appearing at the West Shore pharmacy at 3206 S West Shore Blvd. He was charged with false imprisonment and aggravated battery with a firearm.


Veteran's 'unusual' death at James Haley reported

TAMPA - Administrators at James A. Haley VA Medical Center have asked federal investigators to look into the death of a patient involving "unusual circumstances."

In a statement Tuesday night, Haley spokeswoman Carolyn Clark said the case was referred to the inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Clark said the death occurred Friday but would not identify the patient, who was in his 70s, or comment on how he died, referring all questions to the inspector general.

[Last modified October 4, 2006, 05:50:52]

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