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Judge denies Couey's request for new trial

Published March 31, 2007



Circuit Judge Ric Howard denied John Couey's request for a new trial during a hearing Friday. Couey, 48, was convicted of kidnapping, raping and burying alive 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford earlier this month. A jury recommended the death penalty. Defense attorneys said their client didn't get a fair and impartial hearing, arguing that the judge erred in not giving the defense more challenges during jury selection. A sentencing hearing is tentatively on track for late April.

Man may win fight with government

Many people battle government. Among the more persistent is Carmine Petrangelo, 59, who is tussling with the Social Security Administration about disability benefits. The agency says Petrangelo owes $9,921 because he was overpaid. Petrangelo says the agency should waive the debt because it has consistently made significant mistakes during the 20 years he has received disability and because requiring a refund has caused him financial harm. Petrangelo receives benefits because of a back injury suffered in the 1980s; that work injury aggravated a pre-existing condition. The government recently conceded that it wrongly withheld Petrangelo's checks along with Medicare since October because of the supposed overpayment. He awaits word on whether the agency will forgive the debt altogether.


It's time to enroll in schoolhouse

Spaces are available in the current session of the Little Red Schoolhouse Academy scheduled from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through May 8 at the Instructional Resource Center in the Lecanto school complex. Participants learn how the school system operates and visit the Environmental Science Academy and Marine Science Station. Past graduates of the academy are asked to attend the graduation celebration of the 2007 participants at 7 p.m May 8. To register, call Pat Lancaster at 726-1931, ext. 2205.


Meeting tackles suspected bias

The Marion County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Marion County Voters League are sponsoring a five-county (including Citrus) meeting to address suspected discriminatory decision-making of the 5th Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Baptist Theological Seminary, 1205 NW Fourth St.

[Last modified March 31, 2007, 07:23:34]

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