Florida briefly

Published October 11, 2006

New grandpa delays jury deliberations in slaying trial

BARTOW - Jury deliberations in the trial of a man accused of a mass slaying were delayed Tuesday when a juror rushed out of town to see his new grandchild.

"Can't blame him for being a grandfather," defendant Nelson Serrano, 68, said when the judge asked him if it was okay to delay deliberations for a day. The juror had told the judge the baby's arrival was imminent.

The case is expected to go to the jury today. If convicted, Serrano could receive the death penalty.

Prosecutors said he gunned down George Gonsalves, 69; Frank Dosso, 35; Diane Patisso, 28; and George Patisso Jr., 26, on Dec. 3, 1997, in a Bartow factory that makes garment conveyor systems. Gonsalves and Dosso were Serrano's former partners in the factory. Diane Patisso was a Polk County prosecutor.

Hospital limits elective surgery during biker events

DAYTONA BEACH - The hospital that operates the region's trauma center will limit elective surgeries while the area hosts two events that draw scores of motorcyclists.

A committee of hospital physicians voted to ask area doctors to schedule around Biketoberfest, Oct. 19-22, and Bike Week in the spring, said Dan Lang, Halifax Medical Center's administrator.

"During the events, we'll have 135 injured come in; half will have to be admitted and 25 percent in the ICU (intensive care unit)," Lang said. "And these are the most serious kinds (of injuries): amputations, spine injuries, head injuries."

That annoyed Dorothy Tench of New Smyrna Beach, whose 47-year-old son's surgery has been delayed until Nov. 1.

"This is implying that the bikers are more important than the taxpayers who live here all the time," she said.