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  • 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 14, 2001


    Man doing handstand falls from resort hotel balcony

    PANAMA CITY BEACH -- A man was hospitalized after falling from a fifth-floor resort hotel balcony while trying to do a handstand on the railing.

    David Wesley Lord, 21, of Niceville was listed in stable condition Friday at Bay Medical Center in Panama City.

    He fell Thursday and was found unconscious on the sandy beach at the Boardwalk Beach Resort, said general manager Russ Smith. Lord, a U.S. Marine, was not a registered guest, Smith said.

    Balcony falls have claimed three lives in Florida this year.

    A high school student from Georgia died April 2 after falling nine stories from a condominium balcony in Destin. A 20-year-old Clermont man died March 14 in a fall from a fifth-story hotel balcony in Daytona Beach. A New Jersey teenager died March 12 following a three-story fall onto a concrete pool deck in Fort Lauderdale.

    Second murder is blamed on psychiatric patient

    PORT ST. LUCIE -- A psychiatric patient accused of beating a nurse to death and attacking two patients will be charged with killing a third patient who died Friday, a sheriff's official said.

    Alberto Serrano, 33, will face another murder charge in the death of Everett Stoneking, 87, said Mark Weinberg, a St. Lucie County sheriff's spokesman.

    Stoneking was a patient at the Savannas Hospital, where investigators say Serrano, a new patient, killed nurse Alda Ellington, 47, and beat patients Olive Simpson, 75, and Elizabeth Scott, 64.

    Stoneking, who had a history of falling out of bed, was found with an injury on his neck about 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, about five hours after the other attacks occurred. He lapsed into a coma before dying at St. Lucie Medical Center.

    An autopsy found that Stoneking died of a broken neck "consistent with homicide but not consistent with falling out of bed," Weinberg said.

    Stoneking had been staying in a room near where Serrano allegedly attacked Simpson and Scott, Weinberg said.

    Michigan lawmaker charged with assault

    FORT MYERS -- A Michigan lawmaker who last year served 35 days in jail for drunken driving was charged Friday with assaulting his fiancee.

    Michigan state Sen. David Jaye, 43, R-Detroit, is accused of punching Sonia Kloss, 36, in the face as the two argued over a misplaced set of keys Thursday outside Kloss' Fort Myers home.

    Jaye, who spent Thursday night in jail before his release on bail Friday, was himself punched by an inmate and had to have a one-inch cut stitched at a hospital, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said. The inmate, reportedly angry because Jaye hogged a phone, was charged with aggravated battery.

    Michigan Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow, R-Port Huron, on Friday suspended Jaye's committee assignments. DeGrow had restored the assignments two weeks ago after a suspension tied to Jaye's drunken driving conviction in June.

    Kloss said she would ask that the assault charge be dropped.

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