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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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Judge denies new Steele trial
By MOLLY MOORHEAD
Published June 6, 2007
NEW PORT RICHEY - A judge on Tuesday denied a request for a new trial by Alfredie Steele Jr., convicted in April of killing a sheriff's deputy in 2003.
He could now appeal his first-degree murder conviction and life sentence to a higher court. Assistant Public Defender Bob Focht argued that a picture of Steele holding an SKS rifle - the same type of weapon he admitted using to kill sheriff's Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison - was prejudicial and should not have been shown to the jury.
He also said a statement by prosecutors contradicting the notion that Steele was too drunk to commit the June 1, 2003, murder in Trilacoochee amounted to a criticism of Steele's decision not to testify in his own defense.
The ruling by Senior Circuit Judge Robert Beach, who presided over Steele's trial in April, was not unexpected. The judge speculated that the jurors in the case had made a deal in reaching their verdict - taking five hours to convict Steele but just 10 minutes to recommend a life sentence instead of the death penalty.
"They obviously had a great deal of difficulty," Beach said.