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19-year-old's death is latest blow to family

In 1999, three siblings lost their dad to their mother's rage. Now they've lost a brother.

By THOMAS C. TOBIN, Times Staff Writer
Published December 25, 2007


Tim Rousonelos, left, and his twin brother, Zach, were standout wrestlers at Indian Rocks Christian School.
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[Times files (2004)]
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Tim Rousonelos, shown here in 2004, was killed in a car crash early Sunday morning.

LARGO - A Pinellas family that has suffered its share of tragedy is enduring yet another blow this holiday week.

Nineteen-year-old Tim Rousonelos was killed early Sunday when the car he was driving spun out of control on Indian Rocks Road. He leaves behind a twin brother, Zach, and an older sister, Sabrina. The three had weathered the trauma of the highly publicized death of their father in 1999.

Anthony Rousonelos, then the 42-year-old pastor at Faith Assembly of God in St. Petersburg, was stabbed to death by his wife, Carri Rousonelos, who is serving a prison term for manslaughter.

The couple's children were adopted by an aunt and uncle, Margo and Bob Ryder of Belleair.

Family members declined to be interviewed Monday, saying they did not want to revisit the past.

A 2004 Times profile recounted how the twin boys had together received acclaim at Indian Rocks Christian School, becoming the school's first Class A district wrestling champions - as freshmen.

Tim Rousonelos won at 119 pounds and Zach at 125 pounds, a poignant moment for the family. The boys' father had been a wrestler and wrestling coach and had taught them the sport.

The brothers went on to successfully compete in cross country and track at Indian Rocks Christian.

Largo police said Tim Rousonelos was driving a green Kia north on Indian Rocks Road shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday. The car was traveling at a high speed and spun out of control south of Wilcox Road, they said.

It struck a fence on the east side of the road, snapped a power pole, tumbled end over end and hit a parked car. Rousonelos was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Eight years ago, Anthony Rousonelos died after his wife stabbed him in the femoral artery in what she later said was a jealous rage. The two had argued that night about his infidelity with a church member and his flagging career as a minister.

His church was too small to hold the nearly 700 mourners who came to the funeral.

That December, Carri Rousonelos pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter in exchange for a 12-year sentence - the most lenient allowable under state guidelines.

She said she had not meant to kill her husband but that her actions were wrong. Prosecutors agreed, noting that a stab to the leg did not indicate an intent to commit murder.

Her prison term is scheduled to expire in 2011.

Thomas C. Tobin can be reached at tobin@sptimes.com or 727 893-8923.

[Last modified December 24, 2007, 22:39:05]


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