Around the state
Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 2001
'Tamiami Strangler' admits killing 5
MIAMI -- A serial killer dubbed the "Tamiami Strangler" who was sentenced to death for killing a prostitute has pleaded guilty to murdering five others as part of a plea agreement.
Rory Conde agreed to the deal Tuesday and was sentenced by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley to five consecutive life terms without parole.
As a condition, if Conde manages to get his death sentence overturned, he cannot try to vacate his guilty pleas in the killings of Lazaro Comesana, Elisa "Daphne" Martinez, Charity Fay Nava, Wanda Cook Crawford and Necole Christina Schneider.
Conde has been in jail since his arrest for the killing of Rhonda Dunn, his final murder victim. Now that the other cases against him have been settled, he will be moved to death row at Florida State Prison in Starke.
Conde began preying on prostitutes along a stretch of rundown motels on Miami's Tamiami Trail in late 1994.
The victims' bodies were dumped at night beside manicured lawns in neighborhoods of neat homes. One victim's back carried a taunting catch-me-if-you-can message for police.
The four-month series of killings ended when a prostitute bound with duct tape made enough noise in Conde's apartment to attract the attention of neighbors while he was out.
Victim of capsized boat missing
PUNTA GORDA -- A fisherman who went on an outing with five others remained missing Wednesday after waves swamped their boat in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.
Two charter fishing boats helped rescue the five, ranging in age from 58 to 74. The men declined medical treatment.
Charlie O'Neil, who is in his 60s, was missing. Like the others, he lives in Punta Gorda, just north of Fort Myers.
"The man we lost couldn't swim," said Larry Lockrey, 63. "He was sitting on a life jacket."
Lockrey said he pulled O'Neil onto the overturned hull, but O'Neil kept slipping off.
"I couldn't save my friend," Lockrey said.
Floridian named envoy to Jamaica
WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Wednesday named Sue Cobb, managing director and general counsel of Cobb Partners, Ltd., a private investment firm in Florida, to be ambassador to Jamaica.
Cobb, of Miami, served six months in 1999 as interim Florida Lottery secretary under Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother. Her husband, Charles Cobb, served as ambassador to Iceland under the brothers' father, former President George Bush.
Amazon breaks autopsy photos link
DELAND -- Amazon.com has pulled its link to a Florida-based Web site because the site posted autopsy photos of two NASCAR drivers who were killed in racing accidents.
Websitecity.com posted autopsy photos of Rodney Orr and Neil Bonnett last week before Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law a measure that makes it a felony for a medical examiner to make autopsy photos public without a court's permission.
Websitecity.com is seeking access to the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photos. A court hearing on its motions and those of a University of Florida student newspaper also seeking access to the Earnhardt photos is scheduled for today. "Due to the graphic nature of the autopsy photos that you have posted, we have decided that your site does not present a mutually beneficial business opportunity," Amazon.com's Erik Aust wrote Michael Uribe, the Web site's president, in an e-mail Monday.
www.Amazon.com has relationships known as associates operating agreements with 600,000 Web sites. The Web sites can receive commissions as high as 15 percent if visitors link to Amazon.com and make a purchase.
Man dies trying to save boy in surf
PENSACOLA BEACH -- A Minnesota man died trying to rescue a 10-year-old Georgia boy in rough surf. The boy survived unharmed.
Christopher Chapman, 44, of Edina, Minn., was pronounced dead Tuesday minutes after rescuers pulled him from the Gulf of Mexico. An autopsy was planned to determine whether he drowned.
Witnesses said Chapman, who was vacationing with his wife and two teenage children, entered the water to help rescue the Newnan, Ga., boy who had been playing on a Boogie Board in choppy waters. Escambia County sheriff's deputies didn't get the boy's name.
Witnesses said Chapman ran into the waves after seeing two women trying to save the boy. They pulled him out, but Chapman got caught in a riptide, a strong outward current.
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From the Times state desk
From the state wire