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Boys accused in shootings rearrested

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2000


TAMPA -- Two Tampa teenagers charged in February with randomly shooting a .22-caliber rifle at passing motorists on U.S. 41 in Ruskin have been arrested again.

Ryan Applegate, 16, of Ola Street, and Jeremiah Williams, 16, of Otis Avenue, face grand theft, burglary and carrying concealed weapons charges on top of the attempted murder charges in the shooting incidents.

The boys, out of jail pending resolution of the attempted murder charges, were seen April 5 by a witness who saw them breaking into a car, the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said they stole a car from an apartment complex and drove to a subdivision, where they broke into several cars. They were held Thursday in the Juvenile Assessment Center.

Killer to be tried in rape

TAMPA -- Willie Crain, the crab fisherman sentenced to death last year for the 1998 kidnapping and killing a 12-year-old girl, has a trial scheduled for July 24 to resolve outstanding rape charges. Crain, 54, was convicted in September of first-degree murder for killing Amanda Brown. The rape victims came forward after seeing Crain in the news after Amanda disappeared. The rapes took place more than a two decades ago.

Woman shot by trooper improves

ST. PETERSBURG -- Heather Ann Boyd, a Tampa woman shot in the face by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper last week, has been upgraded to fair condition at Bayfront Medical Center.

Boyd remained in the intensive care unit Thursday, said hospital spokeswoman Cassandra Morrell.

Authorities say Boyd, 30, might have been driving under the influence when she led the trooper on a 100 mph car chase through St. Petersburg's waterfront neighborhoods, became trapped in a cul-de-sac and was shot in the face and arm when, authorities said, she drove her car toward the trooper.

The incident is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

TV anchor sues over portrayal in book

ST. PETERSBURG -- A Dallas television anchor is suing three media ethics experts and two journalism organizations, including the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, over the way he is portrayed in an ethics textbook.

Mike Snyder, 47, who has worked for KXAS-TV for nearly two decades, filed the defamation and libel suit last month in Tarrant County, Texas, accusing the authors and the distributors of Doing Ethics in Journalism of damaging his reputation.

The book describes a 1994 incident in which Snyder acted as a "master of ceremonies" in political rallies for George W. Bush, then a Texas gubernatorial candidate, and introduced him as "the next governor of Texas" according to the suit.

Snyder, who covers politics, adamantly denies those incidents ever took place.

He did say he attended a Republican's women's picnic as a favor to a friend in 1994 in which he introduced U.S. Rep. Richard Armey of Texas, and thanked people for attending. He said he was asked, but declined, to introduce Bush and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.

He said his only comment about Bush being the next governor was to an upset child and his mother in the parking lot. The comment was overheard by a print journalist and published, he said. Snyder also said he never acted as a master of ceremonies or served as a volunteer for Bush.

Snyder said he received a two-week unpaid suspension, about $15,000 in pay and benefits, for participating in the picnic -- what he calls a slip in judgment.

But he said the picnic and suspension has nothing to do with his suit. That, he says, is about the authors of the book not telling the truth and not allowing him to respond to the allegations.

The suit names the Poynter Institute and James Naughton, president of the school for journalists, which promoted and used the book, the Society of Professional Journalists that sponsored the book and authors Jay Black, Bob Steele and Ralph Barney. The Poynter Institute holds controlling stock in the Times Publishing Co., which publishes the St. Petersburg Times.

Alison Steele, a First Amendment attorney who is representing the institute and Naughton, said the institute "didn't publish or commission the book and is not responsible for the book."

Snyder said the authors have given him a private written apology, which he will not release. But he said he wants a public admission of wrongdoing and for the men to be prohibited from continuing to work in their field.

Hernando drops watering waiver effort

BROOKSVILLE -- Hernando County has wavered on its sprinkling waiver request.

"We will follow the restrictions the best we can," Utilities Director Kay Adams said Thursday about new state rules limiting lawn watering to once a week.

One day earlier, County Administrator Paul McIntosh said he planned to ask the Southwest Florida Water Management District for permission for Hernando to opt out of the stricter regulations. Enforcement posed a problem, McIntosh said, and the county should be able to manage with twice-a-week watering.

After consideration, the county changed its position even though Adams said she still worried about water pressure problems. The quick turnabout did not result from pressure by Swiftmud or county commissioners.

"It's an administrative thing," Commissioner Bobbi Mills said.

Thonotosassa woman dies in crash

A Thonotosassa woman died early Thursday morning after she lost control of her car along Knights-Griffin Road.

Martha Lee Hays, 32, of 13811 McIntosh Road, was driving her 1997 Ford Mustang westbound about 2:15 a.m. when her car went into the ditch on the south side of the road, according to a news release from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The car became airborne, flipped several times and ejected Hays.

Investigators don't know why the car left the road but said alcohol was a factor in the crash.

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