Death row inmate dies of natural causes

Published February 14, 2007

A condemned inmate who spent 16 years on death row for fatally stabbing a Lakeland man has died of natural causes in prison, authorities said. George Wallace Brown, 58, died Sunday at Union Correctional Institution, said Corrections Department spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff. Brown was sentenced to death for the April 1990 fatal stabbing of Horace Brown, 62, who was no relation.

Gov. Crist appoints elder affairs leader

Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday appointed Douglas Beach, a Central Florida expert on aging, as the secretary of elder affairs. Beach served for seven years as the chief executive officer of central Florida's Senior Resource Alliance, one of 11 area agencies that work with the department he will now head. Beach previously was deputy director of programs for the Ohio Department of Aging.

TV Marti executive enters guilty plea

A senior executive with U.S. government-run TV Marti pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he accepted more than $100,000 in kickbacks from a company doing business with his employer, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Jose M. Miranda was indicted by a federal grand jury in November and is scheduled to be sentenced April 18.

Teen shot, charged with burglary

A 17-year-old boy was recovering Tuesday from a gunshot after he tried to break into the home of a classmate who had allegedly been spreading rumors about his girlfriend, authorities said. Daniel Scott Merkel has been charged with burglary and criminal mischief and is in custody as he recovers at Delray Medical Center. Ricardo Collier III, 44, who shot Merkel early Sunday morning, has not been charged. Investigators said he was defending his home under Florida's Castle Doctrine law, which allows the use of deadly force if there is a "reasonable fear of imminent peril."

Man accused in beating, slaying

A 28-year-old man was held Tuesday on a second-degree murder charge after he allegedly beat a homeless man to death for shorting him $5 in a crack cocaine sale, authorities said. James Morton of Boynton Beach was held without bond in the Palm Beach County Jail. Morton is accused in the Aug. 29 beating death of Thomas Richardson, 52.

Undercover deputy foils murder plot

An 80-year-old man held in the shooting of another man outside a synagogue was charged Tuesday in a murder-for-hire plot. Marc Benayer was charged Tuesday with soliciting a hit man to kill his former lawyer and a potential witness against him, though the supposed hit man was actually an undercover sheriff's deputy.