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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Deputy due tributes, not criminal defiance
By TIMES EDITORIAL
Published May 1, 2007
Remorse beget recalcitrance Friday in a Pasco Circuit Courtroom, but the opportunity for community healing can begin anew this evening as law officers, not their assailants, are put in the spotlight. It comes at an opportune time.
Last week, the public heard for the first time a taped confession from Alfredie Steele Jr. in which his cousin encourages Steele to be a standup person.
The presumed intention of Nathaniel Vanzant's advice is to boost the crying teen-ager's courage to take responsibility and apologize for the June 1, 2003, shooting death of Pasco Sheriff's Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison
Steele's multiple apologies for taking the life of the deputy he affectionately calls Mr. BoBo led jurors to find him guilty of first-degree murder.
The same jury and Senior Circuit Judge Robert Beach agreed on a fair and compassionate sentence of life in prison for the convicted cop killer.
Steele's friends describe the now 23-year-old man as happy-go-lucky and unaggressive, and they remain incredulous of his guilt. Sadly, the intent of taking responsibility for his actions disappeared Friday.
No longer apologetic, Steele criticized the state's case for its lack of evidence and promised to be back in court on appeal.
Steele's circle of acquaintances will be better served if they store the conspiracy theories and focus their energies honoring the memory of Harrison, a coach, mentor, and bridge between the nearly all-white Sheriff's Office and the largely minority community of Lacoochee.
They can start this evening. Harrison and other officers killed in the line of duty will be remembered at the Pasco law enforcement officers memorial service at 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Dade City.
It is a precursor to National Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15 in which the country salutes law enforcement officers who have died in the line of service.
The Sheriff's Office previously christened its east Pasco operations center after Harrison and the department's patrol cars also carry a memorial along the rear windows.
They are appropriate tributes. Harrison's memory shouldn't be diminished by criminal defiance and braggadocios.