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Hunting accident fatal to Marine Iraq veteran

Published January 16, 2007


ORANGE PARK - A Marine who survived three tours of duty in Iraq was killed in a hunting accident.

Christopher Bland, 24, a five-year Marine Corps veteran who had recently returned from his third Iraq tour, was shot accidentally by his brother Wednesday on a family member's property in Washington County in the Florida Panhandle, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Doug Berryman.

Bland had just climbed down from a tree stand and his brother thought the movement was a deer and shot him. He wasn't wearing hunter orange, which might have prevented the tragedy.


Pilot undergoes facial surgery after crash 

TITUSVILLE - A man who crashed a kit-built experimental ultralight aircraft into a yard shortly after takeoff Sunday has undergone massive facial reconstructive surgery.

James Garrison, 60, suffered fractures including his nose, cheekbones, jawbone and at least one eye socket in the crash, said Larry Van Zandt, a co-worker at Garrison Construction Inc.

Garrison spent five years building the aircraft, which officials think was on its maiden flight. He took off from Arthur Dunn Airpark, home to the Experimental Aircraft Association, Holland Sheltair Aviation Group and Skydive Space Center.


Head of Cuban mob gets 20-year sentence 

MIAMI - Jose Miguel Battle Sr., ailing boss of "the Corporation," a Cuban-American crime syndicate that stretched from Florida to New York to Latin America, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a racketeering conviction in Miami federal court.

Another defendant, Julio Acuna, received life imprisonment. The sentences were handed down Friday.

Battle's son, Jose Miguel Battle Jr., faces sentencing in March.

Battle, his son, Acuna, and three other defendants were accused of five premeditated murders, four arson attacks resulting in eight deaths, and more than $1.5-billion collected during four decades of illicit activity, including drug trafficking, illegal bookmaking and bolita numbers rackets.


Robbers on bikes fatally shoot teen 

MIAMI - Robbers on bicycles shot and killed a teenager early Monday after accosting the 18-year-old as he sat with his girlfriend in a car outside his home, police said.

Garvin Webster stepped out of the car when two young men approached on bicycles, his girlfriend told police. They made Webster and her hand over cash and jewelry, then shot him and rode off. Webster ran but died outside his front door.


Mentally ill veteran killed after standoff 

JACKSONVILLE - A mentally ill Vietnam veteran was fatally shot by police Monday after a nearly 12-hour standoff at his mother's house.

The standoff started around 8 p.m. Sunday after a woman called police, saying her son had a shotgun and tried to kill her.

Police later rescued the woman by breaking a window and pulling her outside while her son, Harry L. Shuler, 65, was distracted, Sheriff's Office spokesman Ken Jefferson said.

Shuler was shot after he emerged from the house with a gun shortly before 8 a.m. He was pronounced dead at Shands Jacksonville Hospital.

Shuler had been a patient in mental institutions for about four decades after serving in the Vietnam War, relatives said, and was on a visit home from a mental hospital.


[Last modified January 16, 2007, 00:45:20]

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