Tampa Bay briefs
By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times,
Police: Motel owner shot fleeing robbery suspect
TAMPA -- The owner of a motel shot one of three men trying to rob the desk clerk early Wednesday morning, police say.
Sham Chhabria saw the robbery at the Economy Inn over a monitor at about 12:30 a.m., said police spokesman Joe Durkin. The robbers, armed with a handgun, pistol-whipped the night desk clerk, 41-year-old Malcolm Weedman.
Chhabria rushed into the parking lot and fired three shots at the fleeing suspects.
One of the shots struck 25-year-old Gerald L. Marsh in the back. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition Wednesday evening.
Durkin said Marsh and two others arrived at the motel in a stolen 1996 Dodge Intrepid, which they abandoned at the motel. Weedman apparently did not suffer injuries that required treatment.
Marsh has an arrest record in Hillsborough County dating back to 1993 on charges that include car theft, possession of cocaine and marijuana, and robbery with a firearm.
Judge wants teenager in mental health facility
LARGO -- Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Peter Ramsberger said Wednesday that he wants an 18-year-old woman taken out of a juvenile detention center and housed in a locked mental health facility -- unless state officials can convince him he doesn't have the authority to order the transfer.
"I think it's utterly horrible to have a mentally ill child and lock up that child without any treatment and counseling," Ramsberger said.
The young woman was arrested on a domestic battery charge in April, when she was 17 and considered a juvenile, and has spent the past four months in the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center. The Department of Children and Families had arranged for her to go to Tampa Crossroads, a mental health facility where adult males and females live.
Ramsberger said Wednesday he is inclined to accept a different plan suggested by the Public Defender's Office. That calls for the girl to go to a locked facility that serves younger people, Windmoor Healthcare in Clearwater. However, he will allow a DCF attorney to make an objection to that plan in a hearing today.
Dover woman charged with insurance fraud
A Dover woman went to a lot of trouble to pull off an insurance scam involving her 2000 Lincoln Navigator, authorities say.
But instead of getting a nice check to replace her "stolen" SUV, she got arrested and charged with a couple of crimes, deputies say.
Deputies arrested Dorice Moore, 29, at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at her home at 3447 N Forbes Road, said Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman Rod Reder. She has been charged with insurance fraud and falsely reporting a crime. She also faces a charge of obtaining property with a worthless check in an unrelated incident.
Reder said Moore's SUV was stashed in a garage in Pasco County. Then an accomplice drove her to Wimauma, tied her up and left her in a ditch on June 20.
Found by a passer-by, Moore said three Hispanic males had abducted her at gunpoint, sexually attacked her and stolen her vehicle. Moore owed $46,000 on the SUV, said Reder. Its current retail value in this area is a little more than $36,000, according to a price guide for used and new cars.
Lawton Chiles Elementary principal to resign
TAMPA -- Tom Dessy, principal of Lawton Chiles Elementary School, has announced he will resign effective Friday for health reasons.
Dessy, 59, came out of a five-year retirement to lead the new school in New Tampa. He began working in February but had been ill for several weeks. He wrote to parents Wednesday saying he was leaving.
Assistant principal Kim Pietsch will take over his duties until the district names a new principal.
Dessy has 32 years' experience as a teacher, dean and school administrator in Hillsborough County. Before retiring in 1995, he served as principal at Tampa Palms Elementary School. He lives in Tampa Palms.
Man charged in fatal shooting during dispute
ST. PETERSBURG -- A 20-year-old transient is charged with shooting an 18-year-old man to death during an argument outside an apartment building Monday evening.
Lonnie Edward Tate was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder, police said Wednesday. Tate is accused of killing Courtney Terrell Eubanks, who was shot near the Paradise Apartments, 2185 16th Ave. S.
Police say Tate shot at Eubanks five times as Eubanks was turning and running away. A witness identified Tate as the gunman, homicide detectives said.
Tate was charged with second-degree murder because the killing did not appear to be premeditated, said police Sgt. Mike Puetz. He said the dispute started earlier Monday and involved Eubanks and a relative of Tate's.
Tate is being held in the Pinellas County Jail.
It was the city's 15th killing of the year.
Dade City back on track for Olympic bicycle race
DADE CITY -- When Tampa's 2012 Olympic bid was ready to ditch Dade City as a bicycle racing venue, Dade Battle of Brilliance race organizers were unfazed -- the race would go on with or without Olympic gold.
Tampa 2012 president Ed Turanchik warned in June that international Olympics directors wanted the road-racing portion of the bicycle competition held in an urban setting. That position softened over the summer. In its official paperwork submitted with the bid, east Pasco is listed as the proposed home for the event.
The news came Wednesday as Battle of Brilliance organizers got ready for the second annual race through downtown Dade City.
The all-day series of races is scheduled for Oct. 14.
Man jumps to death from Sunshine Skyway
A 38-year-old Lakeland man jumped to his death off the Sunshine Skyway bridge Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Grady Mart, who lived at 1110 Aston St. in Lakeland, leaped from the Skyway's center span about 2 p.m., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Mart parked his Toyota Camry on the southbound side at the top of the bridge. A woman driving by called the Florida Highway Patrol on her cell phone to report seeing a man sitting on the bridge's side wall.
The U.S. Coast Guard recovered Mart's body in water beneath the Skyway.
3 teens charged with stealing, vandalizing cars
Two teenagers and an accomplice were arrested Tuesday and charged with stealing, burglarizing and vandalizing cars in the Gibsonton area, authorities said.
The oldest suspect, 19-year-old Kenneth Ray Jackson of 15040 McGrady Road in Balm has been charged with four counts of car theft, said Rod Reder of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.
The other two suspects are 14 and 15. Their names are being withheld because of their age. In addition to multiple counts of car theft, they also have been charged with numerous auto burglaries and criminal mischief.
Reder said the incidents occurred between July 22 and Aug. 4.
Jackson is in the Orient Road Jail; the two boys are in the juvenile assessment center.
Father shoots boyfriend of teenage daughter
TAMPA -- A father shot his daughter's boyfriend Wednesday after she had fled from him to her family's home.
Wayne Warren, 21, of 3008 Spillers Ave. was shot once in the arm. Treated and released from Tampa General Hospital, he was jailed and charged with burglary and domestic violence battery, said Rod Reder of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.
Warren had been arguing about 11 a.m. Wednesday with 18-year-old Arlena Ottinger in an east Tampa restaurant. She left with her 10-month-old baby and started driving to her home at 2711 N 60th St., said Reder.
Warren caught up with her at 60th Street and Broadway Avenue. Reder said that while her car was stopped, the suspect broke a window and pulled her hair. Because bystanders interceded, she was able to flee on foot to her home.
But the suspect followed. Her father, Arl Ottinger III, 47, told the intruder to leave their screened-in lanai and stop banging on the door and windows. After he refused to leave and started making threats, Ottinger shot the man.
Reder said Warren had been charged previously with kidnapping and battering Arlena Ottinger on May 27, but prosecutors dropped the charges because the woman refused to cooperate.
Her father was not charged for shooting Warren, said Reder.
Woman testifies man raped her twice
NEW PORT RICHEY -- After describing the attacks for more than an hour, a woman in court Wednesday identified John A. Casteel as the man who raped her on Dec. 5, 1998, and again 29 days later.
Casteel, 43, is on trial in connection with the first rape. Charged with sexual battery, armed burglary and aggravated assault, he faces life in prison if convicted. He previously served 14 years for raping a Jacksonville woman in 1983.
Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases Wednesday. Closing arguments are set for 9 a.m. today.
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