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  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
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  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
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  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
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  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
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  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
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  • 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 April 7, 2001

    Condemned killer of girl seeks DNA test

    TALLAHASSEE -- A death row inmate scheduled to be executed May 1 for the 1983 murder of a 15-year-old Tampa girl asked Gov. Jeb Bush to delay the execution for a DNA test.

    Hairs found with the victim's body could not be tested in 1984 when they were sent to the FBI. But they can be now, and may exonerate Wayne Tompkins in the death of Lisa DeCarr, attorney Todd Scher wrote in his letter to Bush on Friday.

    "Mr. Tompkins maintained and continues to maintain his innocence," Scher wrote.

    Bush spokeswoman Katie Baur said the governor would not immediately stay the execution. But "If there is any relevant DNA evidence, we'll take steps to make sure it is properly tested."

    Tompkins, 44, was convicted in 1986 of killing DeCarr, the daughter of his girlfriend. Her body wasn't found until 1984, buried under her house. Witnesses said Tompkins spoke of choking her to death when she fought his rape attempt.

    The issue of DNA testing of death row inmates has gained prominence since December when tests came back showing Frank Lee Smith was innocent of a murder that landed him on death row for 14 years. The results came several months after Smith died on death row of cancer.

    Proposals to guarantee access to DNA testing for death row inmates are pending in the Legislature and before the Florida Supreme Court.

    UF fraternity members arrested at quarry

    GAINESVILLE -- Deputies believe most or all the 41 men they arrested for trespassing at a pre-dawn party at an old rock quarry are members of a University of Florida fraternity.

    The 41 were taken into custody -- not just ticketed -- because they ignored deputies' orders to leave the party at 1 a.m. Thursday at Limestone Products Inc.'s inactive 80-acre quarry, which has huge water-filled pits. All appeared in court Thursday and were released on their own recognizance.

    Company officials have complained about trespassers diving off the quarry's steep cliffs and swimming and fishing in the pits.

    Authorities said it appeared the party was associated with the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

    "They said they didn't feel like they needed to leave. The deputy pointed out they were trespassing, and they were like: "I don't care,' " Alachua County sheriff's Sgt. Jim Troiano said.

    Some at the party ran off when deputies started making arrests, and some others along the road, and not on private property, also were not charged.

    Trespassing, a first-degree misdemeanor, is punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.

    Corey King, the university's associate dean for students, said school officials, the fraternity's president and officials of the Interfraternity Council would meet "to determine if this is a chapter issue. If it is a chapter issue, a decision could be made to press charges against the fraternity."

    Fire strikes apartment house again

    ST. PETERSBURG -- For the second time in three days, a fire accidentally started Friday in the garage of an apartment house at 832 13th St. N, firefighters said.

    Friday's fire, caused by an electrical short, displaced a family of five and a family of six that live in the apartments. The Red Cross will provide lodging for the families until electricity is restored, said St. Petersburg Fire Lt. Chris Bengivengo.

    The 2 p.m. fire caused about $10,000 in damages. No one was hurt.

    Another accidental fire started in the same garage Wednesday after gasoline used for cleaning was ignited by a water heater, authorities said.

    Doctor accused of having sex with girl

    TAMPA -- Hillsborough County deputies have charged a 68-year-old retired osteopath with having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

    Sheriff's Lt. Rod Reder said John Eloian of 5700 Mariner Drive in Tampa paid to have sex with the teen on numerous occasions between September 1999 through last month.

    Reder said the case is linked to an investigation of teen prostitution that began in January, when police discovered that a 13-year-old was being offered for prostitution on the Internet.

    So far, five adults, including another doctor and a lawyer, face various charges in the investigation.Reder said deputies searched Eloian's home Friday and confiscated still cameras, videotapes and photographs of the victim and other young girls. Deputies also seized a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, he said.

    Eloian was charged with 18 counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child, as well as possession of marijuana. He was held Friday in lieu of $270,500 bail.

    Police: Teens' targets based on race

    TAMPA -- Drivers pulling up to the stop sign at Spruce Street and Oregon Avenue on Wednesday afternoon encountered a black youth in their path.

    If the driver was black, police said, the youth would wave him or her through. If the driver was white, according to police, the youth would shout insults and profanities while other youths hurled rocks at the car.

    When an 18-year-old white woman pulled up about 3:10 p.m. and turned onto Oregon Avenue, two youths ran alongside and one threw a soda bottle at the driver's window, said police spokeswoman Katie Hughes. The girl was cut by window glass shards and hit in the face by a bottle, police said.

    On Friday, police arrested a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old and charged them with throwing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle and aggravated battery with a deadly missile. Their charges have been classified as hate crimes.

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