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Digest

Jury pool narrowed to 75 in Steele trial

By TIMES WIRES
Published April 18, 2007


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DADE CITY

Attorneys in the first-degree murder trial of Alfredie Steele Jr. finished the first round of juror questioning Tuesday, sending many potential jurors home because they already knew too much about the case. Of the original pool of 140, 75 now remain. Steele is accused of killing veteran Pasco sheriff's Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison, who was shot on patrol outside a Trilacoochee nightclub on June 1, 2003. The case has drawn intense media coverage in the three-plus years since Harrison's death. Many jurors said they saw TV and newspaper reports that influenced their opinion. Steele faces the death penalty if convicted. Jury selection continues today.

LAND O'LAKES

Court-ordered chemo starts

Natasha Esteras took her 10-year-old son for chemotherapy treatment at All Children's Hospital on Tuesday, complying with a judge's order issued last week. But Esteras has also said she will continue to fight for her right to decide what is best for her son. Last week, Circuit Judge Linda Babb ordered Esteras to take Daniel Gomez for chemotherapy and radiation - preventive measures to keep a fast-growing cancer from returning. Daniel's test results say he is free of the cancer that surfaced in February, according to his mother, when a tumor was discovered and later removed from his testicles.

Board delays votes on charter schools

Two charter schools with their fates on the line will have to wait another week to see what the future holds for them. The Pasco School Board delayed action Tuesday on the proposals to expand the Athenian Academy and to close the Language Academy because two board members - Kathryn Starkey and Allen Altman - were out of town. "(They are) serious issues and if we made a decision to do what the superintendent recommends and there's an appeal, it would seem not as good if there (were) five members there," chairwoman Marge Whaley explained.

For more information on Tuesday's Pasco County School Board meeting, visit The Gradebook education blog at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

ZEPHYRHILLS

Homeless man held in DUI death

A 56-year-old man was arrested Monday and charged with drunken driving in a crash that killed a 52-year-old man, according to reports from the Florida Highway Patrol. Thomas R. Turco, who is homeless, was charged with DUI manslaughter. He admitted to drinking at least 12 beers, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Turco was traveling south on U.S. 41 north of Swans Landing Drive on Friday when he lost control of his 1992 Ford Taurus and crashed into Elizabeth Cueto's 2005 Acura in the northbound lane, killing Michael D. Sanders. The collision happened about 11:30 p.m. Cueto, 48, of Land O'Lakes, was taken to a hospital. Her condition is unknown. Turco remained in Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

[Last modified April 17, 2007, 23:15:41]


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