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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff reports

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 1, 2001


    Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter speaks tonight at USF

    TAMPA -- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter isn't bitter that he served 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Or that he was picked up in 1996 by police, who had mistaken him for another black man and handcuffed him for half an hour.

    He's not bitter for one reason: "That would mean they won," Carter told Salon.com in 1999.

    Carter speaks at 7 tonight at the Special Events Center on the University of South Florida Tampa campus. The event is free and open to the public.

    Described as a preacher-like speaker, he talks of one race -- the human race -- acceptance and forgiveness, his publicists say.

    In 1966, he was the No. 1 contender for the middle-weight crown with 20 knockouts, eight in the first round. On June 17 that year, three white patrons were shot and killed in a bar in Paterson, N.J., Carter's hometown.

    Yes, Carter was there that night. Yes, he and John Artis, who was taking him home, were in a white car. No, he did not commit the crime, he told police.

    A jury convicted him, with key testimony coming from two ex-convicts who later recanted. "There's no doubt Carter was framed," one of them, Alfred Bello, told the New York Times. A state judge denied his appeal. Carter claimed racism and wrote The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender to #45472 while at Rahway State Prison.

    In its introduction were these words: "Now the only chance I have is appealing directly to you, the people . . . for the first time in my entire existence, I'm saying that I need some help."

    A Brooklyn teenager, Lesra Martin, and his three Canadian guardians read the book and began the process that later got Carter freed. He was released in 1985.

    A 1999 movie starring Denzel Washington retold Carter's story.

    Motorcyclist dies after being struck by car on U.S. 19

    PINELLAS PARK -- A 66-year-old man driving a motorcycle died early Wednesday after an 81-year-old man in a car hit him on U.S. 19, police said.

    Christopher J. Pecora, of Chili, N.Y., died about 5 a.m. at Bayfront Medical Center. His wife, Jeannette Pecora, 65, who was a passenger on the Honda motorcycle, was treated at Bayfront and was released.

    The accident happened about 11:10 a.m. Tuesday at the interchange of U.S. 19 and 49th Street N, according to Pinellas Park police. The Pecoras were headed north on U.S. 19 in the lefthand lane.

    Jose Orriola, 81, of Pinellas Park drove onto U.S. 19 from the 49th Street N onramp, crossed two lanes and crashed into the motorcycle with his Chevrolet, police said.

    The Pecoras, who were wearing helmets, were thrown from the motorcycle. Orriola, who was not injured, was charged with violating the right of way.

    Judge approves dancer's request for a hearing

    TAMPA -- A county court judge has granted a nude dancer's request for a hearing on whether the activity causes crime and spreads sexually transmitted diseases.

    Shawna Bohne, charged with violating a city ordinance requiring 6 feet between dancers and customers, asked for the hearing Feb. 23. County Court Judge Mark Wolfe granted the request Wednesday and scheduled the hearing for March 30 at 9:30 a.m.

    According to the motion filed on Bohne's behalf, another judge upheld the law's constitutionality Feb. 14 when ruling on another case because the city wanted to curtail the "negative secondary effects" associated with lap dancing.

    In hearings last November before the Tampa City Council, testimony and videotapes taken by undercover detectives were used to support contentions that lap dancing led to prostitution.

    Wolfe ruled that Bohne was entitled to a hearing to determine whether there is any connection between lap dancing and crime or sexually transmitted diseases.

    Woman charged in boyfriend's slaying

    TAMPA -- Thanks to a tip called in to Crimestoppers, authorities found a woman accused of murdering her boyfriend last month and arrested her Wednesday morning.

    Rosie Lee Perry, 40, also known as "Scent," was found by sheriff's deputies at 2701 N 52nd St. at 8 a.m. Wednesday. She offered no resistance, officials said.

    Perry had been wanted by Tampa police since Feb. 10. Police said witnesses saw her stab her live-in boyfriend, Thomas Wilson, 57, during an argument and then ran. Wilson died eight days later.

    Perry was charged with second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. She is being held in jail without bond.

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