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Schweickert gets 40 years in torture

Published May 1, 2007


TAMPA - A federal judge sentenced Scott Schweickert to 40 years in prison for using drugs to rape and torture a young Tampa man.

Friends and family members of the victim - Michael Wachholtz, whose decomposed body was found in his Jeep Cherokee - called it a good start.

Now, they say, Schweickert and his co-conspirator, Steven Lorenzo, should be charged with murder.

Wachholtz and Jason Galehouse, both 26, disappeared the same weekend in 2003.

Lorenzo and Schweickert, 41, were arrested in 2005 and charged with the federal crimes of conspiracy and using drugs to facilitate a crime of violence.

Pam Bondi, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office, said her office plans to announce a decision soon on whether to file murder charges.


Flock's last survivor is found dead

CHASSAHOWITZKA - Whooping crane No. 615 was one tough, and lucky, bird.

When older cranes harassed him and his pals, they were put into a pen for their protection. When lightning and surge from a surprise storm in February slammed the pen, all of the birds were killed - except No. 615.

No. 615's luck ran out this weekend.

Mary Barnwell of the Southwest Florida Water Management District on Monday found his carcass in an area of the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve in Marion County, where he had been living throughout the spring.

There were no obvious signs that the male crane had been killed by a predator, according to Liz Condie, chief operating officer for Operation Migration. "We'll just have to wait for the necropsy results to come out, " Condie said.


Condo developer refunds buyers' money

CLEARWATER BEACH - In the latest sign of the sharp drop in demand for condominiums on Clearwater Beach, another major project has refunded deposits to buyers.

Construction on the $180-million Indigo Beach Residences & Suites on the site of the former Adam's Mark Hotel had been delayed already because of slow sales, but late last year, builders thought they could break ground by this summer.


BOAT RAMPS CLOSED BY LOW WATER: Drought conditions have closed boat ramps in Pasco and Hernando counties. Hernando County has closed the boat ramp at Lake Townsen Regional Park, 28011 Lake Lindsey Road. In Pasco County, the Moon Lake Park boat ramp at 8985 Lake Drive in New Port Richey is closed.

[Last modified May 1, 2007, 00:43:00]

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