tampabay.com

Crime journal

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 20, 2008


CLEARWATER

Woman, 75, has court date over tiff with officer

Jean Merola, the 75-year-old woman arrested at a Clearwater McDonald's last month, has been charged with obstructing a public place. It was the latest in the saga that began Jan. 17, when Merola ordered coffee and fries at the drive-through. Workers asked her to pull her car forward because her food wasn't ready. Clearwater police Officer Matthew Parco, who was behind Merola, said he couldn't get by and asked her to move. Parco said Merola cursed at him and called him names. Merola said the officer harassed her. She was arrested. "What she did was wrong and it is no different than if it had been a 25-year-old woman," said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney. Merola is due in court March 6, though Bartlett said no one is looking for her to serve jail time.

PALM HARBOR

$500,000 of pot seized from house

Deputies found more than $500,000 worth of marijuana and arrested a 32-year-old Pasco County man Tuesday after raiding a house near Lake Tarpon. Timothy Edward Stacy of Holiday had converted the two-bedroom house at 85 S Canal Drive into a crude hydroponic growing operation, officials said. Stacy was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on one count each of manufacturing and trafficking in marijuana and was released after posting $20,000 bail.

DADE CITY

Couple arrested in Kentucky murder

Two fugitives wanted on murder charges in Kentucky were arrested Monday afternoon in Pasco County. James Conn, 50, and his wife, Katherine, 38, are accused of shooting 28-year-old Timothy Riggs, according to the Kentucky State Police. The slaying occurred in October 2007, police said. James Conn was arrested in Dade City, his wife in Zephyrhills. Pasco deputies say the couple lived in Dade City.

NEW PORT RICHEY

Mental patient accused of rape

A patient in the mental health wing of Community Hospital raped another patient in her room, police said. Stacy Lee Munoz, 33, of Spring Hill faces charges of kidnapping, sexual battery and false imprisonment. Munoz, who was arrested last month on a warrant, remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Tuesday in lieu of $130,000 bail.