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Oops department misfiled this one


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2001

The following is e-mail sent Feb. 8 to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office from a Tampa police officer. It should be noted that the Sheriff's Office is responsible for maintaining the list of people wanted by law enforcement in Hillsborough County.

The Times has deleted one name.


This is Officer Gene King with the Tampa Police Department. I wanted to inform your department of a situation that I encountered the other day and hope that we can work on a solution to resolve future occurrences like this.

You see, I went out into my assigned work area and was attempting to serve some old warrants. When I went to the home of one of the wanted subjects . . . and inquired of his whereabouts, I was given an ear full.

I was in not so polite verbiage advised that we (Police -- TPD) had shot and killed him back in 1996. Now the family was just not too happy that I was there looking for him and I will admit this made me a little uneasy too.

I did verify their statements and . . . we did in fact shoot and kill (him).

Now the second part of the problem is this, no one can seem to tell me what procedures need to be followed to have (him) removed from the active warrants list. Can you please give me some advice on this matter.

* * *

TIME WARP: It was a murder case that already had its share of weird coincidence.

Sixteen-year-old James Hargrove was charged in January with shooting his friend, Eric Wright, 15, inside Hargrove's bedroom in a Seffner mobile home.

Rewind to that same mobile home 13 years earlier. Hargrove's father, William Hargrove, found his estranged wife's new boyfriend nude, in her bed. The elder Hargrove shot and killed the man.

James, who was only 3 then, wept at the sound of the gunshot.

Both victims were dragged away from the mobile home and abandoned.

Both were shot in the right side of the head.

The father is currently serving a sentence of life in prison. The son awaits his own trial on a second-degree murder charge.

And now another parallel. It was hotheaded prosecutor Mike Benito who put the elder Hargrove away back in 1988. And it is former prosecutor turned defense lawyer Mike Benito who is now representing the son in his case.

Benito said he was hired by the teenager's mother, who was a witness against her estranged husband at the trial more than a decade ago.

"I guess she thought I did a good job," Benito said. "There's a little irony there, isn't there?"

SHARK DANCING? Seems the Florida Aquarium wants folks to know there's more to Tampa than that important legal battle over precisely how close a stripper can get to a patron's lap.

"Only 12 inches separates you from Tampa's most exotic entertainers," says the aquarium's ad in Weekly Planet. It features a picture not of Bambi or Amber, but a fearsome shark. And no, we don't mean Joe Redner.

- Sue Carlton can be reached at 226-3346 or Amy Herdy can be reached at 226-3386 or

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