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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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High-rise diver's buddy takes fall
The man who parachuted from a Tampa skyscraper apologized. His accomplice didn't.
By COLLEEN JENKINS
Published July 14, 2007
TAMPA - It didn't take long for police to catch up with Bill "Wild Bill" Stroup and Brian "Potato" Barbarossa after the first man parachuted off the top of a new skyscraper and his buddy filmed the dive.
Stroup, 43, quickly apologized and led investigators to the video. Barbarossa, 32, hung his head and claimed not to know his cell phone number or arrest history, Tampa police Detective Greg Stout said.
Prosecutors didn't charge Stroup. They hit Barbarossa with felony trespassing.
On Friday, a judge found Barbarossa guilty of a only misdemeanor trespassing charge and sentenced him to five days in jail and six months of probation.
The man with the camera had previously refused an offer from prosecutors for a year's probation and a chance to remain conviction-free.
During a short nonjury trial Friday, Circuit Judge Gregory Holder watched the March 6 home video of Stroup and Barbarossa climbing the 32 flights of stairs at SkyPoint, a condominium building that was then under construction at Ashley Drive and Polk Street.
A prosecutor cut off the video before it showed Stroup, who lives in upstate New York, jumping about 3:45 a.m.
But the judge watched the men, BASE jumpers who parachute off buildings and tall structures as a hobby, giddily plotting the dive.
"Let's break into a building and throw you off of it," Barbarossa was heard saying.
"We're going to have fun," he said later, smiling at the camera.
They didn't count on witnesses below seeing the jump and phoning 911 about possible terrorist activity.
Barbarossa, who lives in Macon, Ga., lucked out on the timing of the incident.
This spring, the state Legislature eased the legal requirements for the types of signs that must be posted at a construction site to convict someone of felony trespassing. But the old law still applied in March, and the signs at SkyPoint didn't meet the stricter standard.
Holder said Barbarossa could serve his probation, including 50 community service hours, back home in Macon.