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    Around the state

    By Compiled from Times staff and wire reports

    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 24, 2000


    No word from judge on execution schedule

    GAINESVILLE -- No sign emerged from U.S. District Judge Stephan P. Mickle's office here Wednesday about when or whether he might lift the stay of execution he granted Tuesday for condemned murderer Dan Patrick Hauser.

    Mickle halted the execution to give himself time to pore over hundreds of pages of pleadings and evidence filed by death row attorneys and by the state Attorney General's Office. Hauser has fired his attorneys and represented himself, acting to hasten his execution by lethal injection.

    Capital Collateral Counsel, which represents death row inmates, says Hauser is trying to commit suicide by means of the death penalty, behavior prompted by his manic depression.

    The Florida Supreme Court last week tossed out a similar CCC petition, and Hauser himself has filed a brief with Mickel urging him to do the same, writing that CCC attorneys "persist in shopping these issues around from court to court."

    Hauser confessed to strangling 21-year-old Melanie Rodrigues on Jan. 1, 1995.

    4 crash victims identified as Manatee residents

    Four teenagers killed in a head-on collision near Arcadia Tuesday lived in Manatee County.

    The Florida Highway Patrol said the four teens were returning from an Atlantic coast surfing trip.

    Cory Burkett, 18, of Bradenton, was driving the Isuzu Rodeo and trying to pass a truck when it struck a Ford van heading east.

    Burkett's passengers were Adam Avalos, 17, and Nicholas Johnson, 16, both of Bradenton, and Patrick Mills, 17, of Bradenton Beach.

    A passenger in the van, Marion L. Randall, 85, Salt Lake City, also was killed. Four people in the van were injured and flown to Tampa General Hospital.

    The injured included two of Randall's daughters, Faustine Bonhan, 53, of Salt Lake City, and Erin Orgel, 48, of Scarsdale, N.Y. Orgel's two sons, Spencer, 9, and Travis, 8, were hurt.

    The accident happened just before 3 p.m. Tuesday on State Road 70, 18 miles east of Arcadia and just east of the Highlands-DeSoto county line.

    Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Tommy Keen said the Burkett's car was traveling at least 80 mph in a 60 mph zone. The van was traveling about 60 mph.

    Coral Gables lawyer appointed to the PSC

    TALLAHASSEE -- Coral Gables lawyer Braulio Baez was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission on Wednesday by Gov. Jeb Bush.

    Baez, 35, a former executive assistant for the utility regulating panel, replaces Jose "Joe" Garcia, who resigned to head a Cuban-American political group.

    Garcia stepped down in May from the five-member panel, which sets electric, telephone, water and sewer rates in Florida.

    Rolling's ex-fiancee to pay more for stories

    GAINESVILLE -- The former fiancee of convicted Gainesville student killer Danny Rolling owes the state more money for the sale of stories about him, a judge has ruled.

    Prosecutors got a court order last year to collect about $16,400 from Sondra London, and Circuit Judge Elzie Sanders decided Friday that she must pay an additional $800.

    London earned money from stories and a series of articles she wrote with Rolling for the Globe supermarket tabloid on the five serial killings that terrorized the University of Florida campus 10 years ago this week.

    Ex-cruise line worker indicted in sex assault

    ORLANDO -- A federal grand jury has indicted a former Cape Canaveral Cruise Line worker on a charge of raping a female passenger two years ago. Garland George Curtis, 31, is charged with aggravated sexual abuse in the June 1, 1998, assault on a passenger aboard the cruise line's Dolphin IV, according to the indictment handed up Tuesday.

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    From the Times state desk