tampabay.com

Crime journal

By Times Staff Writer
Published January 11, 2008


LARGO

PLEA MAY BRING EQUAL SENTENCE FOR BLACK MAN

Joshua Cobb and Robert G. Walker Jr. were accused of the same crime in Pinellas County: firing a gun. Walker got misdemeanor probation. Cobb faced 20 years in prison. Walker, 60, is white, a former prosecutor and Clearwater's former city attorney. Cobb, 21, is an unemployed black man without connections. In the end, both men may end up with the same sentence. Cobb pleaded guilty Thursday to felony aggravated assault, avoiding a trial on the charge that could have brought him 20 years in prison. His was an open plea, meaning he received no guarantee from the judge. When Pinellas-Pasco Judge Richard Luce sentences him on April 4, Cobb could get anything from probation to 10 years in prison - Luce said he would cap Cobb's potential time at 10 years. But Cobb's lawyer, John Trevena, said he is confident that Cobb will get probation.

CLEARWATER

Fifth motorcyclist dies in a month

The fifth motorcyclist killed in a month in Pinellas County died Wednesday night in a wreck on Hercules Avenue. Lawrence "Jerry" Kwiatkowski, 29, who moved from New York six weeks ago, crashed into a pickup. He was wearing a helmet, but appeared to be speeding, authorities said. There were just 24 motorcyclist deaths in all of 2006.

LARGO

Man dies after 2-vehicle crash

A 46-year-old Largo man died Thursday after a two-vehicle accident on Ulmerton Road near an entrance ramp to Roosevelt Boulevard, the Florida Highway Patrol said. James Berrios of Largo was driving east on Ulmerton, approaching the entrance ramp, about 6:42 a.m. The driver of a 1999 Cadillac Catera, John A. Stewart III, 17, of Clearwater, was turning from the westbound left turn lane of Ulmerton onto the ramp. Stewart hit the driver's side of the truck. Berrios was pronounced dead at Northside Hospital. Charges are pending.

NEW PORT RICHEY

Holiday man dies in crash on SR 54

A 25-year-old Holiday man died Wednesday night when his car clipped another car in a failed attempt to pass, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The accident occurred on State Road 54, near the Seven Springs subdivision. Highway Patrol officials said Cody Hayes was headed west in a Mazda when he tried to overtake a Lincoln driven by Anthony Sandora, 35, of New Port Richey.