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  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
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  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
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  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

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    Around the state

    Compiled from Times wires

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 24, 2001

    Man who followed "queen" not fit for trial, judge rules

    FORT MYERS -- A man accused of following a self-proclaimed "daughter of God" into a crime spree isn't mentally fit to stand trial, a judge ruled.

    Lawrence Ansaroff, 20, will be hospitalized until he is able to participate in his own defense, Circuit Judge Thomas Reese ordered Thursday.

    Ansaroff was one of three "manservants" of Richell Denise Bradshaw, who called herself Queen Shahmia.

    Bradshaw was convicted of ordering her followers to rob gas stations and convenience stores to support a lavish lifestyle. She is serving a 25-year prison sentence.

    Paul S. Kling, a doctor who examined Ansaroff, said he was manic and delusional. Ansaroff's defense attorney said his client won't talk to him because the attorney won't proclaim Bradshaw's connection to God.

    Another of the three "manservants" arrested, Anthony Menendez, also faces trial, but the Public Defender's Office has asked that he be evaluated too.

    The third man arrested in the robberies, Ismael Castilleja, pleaded no-contest to the charges and testified against Bradshaw. He is serving a two-year sentence.

    Former trooper guilty of fleeing, lying to police

    LANTANA -- A former Florida Highway Patrol trooper was found guilty of leading police on a chase and filing a false statement and report to police.

    Wayne Titus, 39, was also convicted Thursday of official misconduct, a third-degree felony, and soliciting for someone else to file a false statement, a misdemeanor. He was found not guilty of having sex with a prostitute.

    Titus was accused of lying to police on July 20 when they radioed and asked him where he was. Authorities said the lie led St. Lucie County sheriff's deputies to think that a patrol car they saw at a location different from the one Titus gave was stolen.

    When deputies signaled the car, which was Titus' vehicle, the trooper fled. Deputies chased him for about 10 miles at high speed before he stopped. Deputies said they found a known prostitute with Titus. Titus allegedly told her to lie about the encounter by saying she was reporting a crime.

    Titus could receive up to 15 years in prison on the felony fleeing charge.

    44 new judges are needed, high court tells Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE -- Florida needs 44 more trial judges, the state Supreme Court said Friday in its annual certification to the Legislature.

    "Full funding of the requests certified in this opinion is absolutely essential if Florida's courts are to fulfill their constitutional mandate to resolve cases in a fair, impartial and timely manner," Chief Justice Charles Wells wrote.

    Last year, the high court certified the need for 43 new trial judges. State lawmakers, however, did not provide the money to create any of those positions.

    Florida has 493 circuit judgeships and 269 county judgeships. The Supreme Court this year asked for 30 new circuit judgeships and 14 new county judgeships.

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