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    Judge delays trial for 8 accused in inmate death


    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published June 1, 2001

    GAINESVILLE -- A judge on Thursday pushed back the trial of eight corrections officers accused in the beating death of inmate Frank Valdes and ordered prosecutors to detail each defendant's actions in the case.

    Circuit Judge Larry Turner moved the trial set for July 16 back to Aug. 27 because of the mountain of evidence facing the attorneys for four new defendants charged three weeks ago in Valdes' July 1999 death.

    Turner ordered prosecutors to explain each defendant's role in the death of the Florida State Prison inmate. Prosecutors have said the new information would confirm that Valdes was beaten not once, but twice.

    A medical examiner has said Valdes suffered 22 broken ribs, a broken nose and a boot print on his stomach.

    Seven of the eight defendants face second-degree murder charges, among others.

    Prosecutors contended the order was premature and they were not trying to hide anything. "We're not concerned at all about any of that information," said Assistant State Attorney Mark Peterson.

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