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Dad charged in infant's death seeks bail

By JIM ROSS

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 20, 2001


INVERNESS -- Ricky Slater, the Crystal River man accused of killing his infant daughter, wants a judge to set bail so he can await trial as a free man.

Defense lawyer Norman Cannella filed a written bail request with the court. In that motion, he noted that his client is 18, has not been convicted of any felonies and has extended family ties in Citrus.

The lawyer said Slater, if released, would live with his father and maintain a job.

Slater has been behind bars since late September, when Crystal River police accused him of killing his daughter Lacie, who was 3 months old. Slater, who faces a first-degree murder charge and related charges, is being held without bail.

Lacie suffered broken ribs and bleeding inside her skull, reports showed. Those injuries, and evidence of past harm, led authorities to think the child was the victim of shaken baby syndrome.

Law officers have said Lacie's twin sister, Kelsey, also has been harmed in the past.

The defense motion did not request a specific bail amount. A hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. March 30 in front of Circuit Judge Barbara Gurrola.

Slater's next status conference is set for April 12.

In other court news:

NO CHARGE FILED: Prosecutors have declined to file charges against the Homosassa man who struck a teenage boy during a home invasion.

Allen John Shields came to a friend's aid during the early morning hours of Feb. 11. According to reports, the friend, Nelson Humphrey, was holding two home invaders at gunpoint.

Shields, 60, who lives next to Humphrey in a separate apartment, said he watched the two teens while Humphrey got dressed. Humphrey already had called 911.

Shields struck one boy in the head with a hammer because the boy appeared as though he was trying to get away. The deputy who came to investigate arrested Shields.

"Although probable cause existed for the arrest, the inconsistencies in the victim's story makes proof beyond a reasonable doubt impossible," Assistant State Attorney Paul Norville wrote.

Shields heard the news from a reporter Monday.

"I'm going to write a letter to the sheriff and ask that the deputy who arrested me be fired," the former military policeman said.

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