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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff writers

    © St. Petersburg Times, published September 29, 2000


    Pipeline work taking longer than planned

    CLEARWATER -- Highway work that closed an 84-inch drinking-water main from Pasco County to Pinellas County is taking longer than anticipated, and Pinellas residents are being asked to conserve water through the weekend.

    The water main is being moved to accommodate construction of the Suncoast Parkway in Pasco County. Originally, officials thought the construction would be finished and the main reopened today. But the main will be shut down until late Monday, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

    Committee okays 3,149 homes in Pasco

    ZEPHYRHILLS -- Thursday was a banner day for housing developers in central Pasco County.

    The county's Development Review Committee gave its blessing to 3,149 new homes in Wesley Chapel, fueling the brick-and-mortar make-over of Pasco's fastest-growing ZIP code.

    Although the three projects that cleared the development committee still need the approval of county commissioners next month, little appears to be standing in their way.

    The biggest of the bunch is Wyndfields, a 1,599-home development proposed for 1,173 acres south of State Road 54. Schickedanz Brothers, a Canadian-based residential and commercial developer, has designed Wyndfields. Houses are expected to start at about $110,000 and top out at $300,000. Plans call for construction to begin late this year and end by about 2010.

    Two other projects considered Thursday are slated for acreage between Boyette and Curley roads, north of S.R. 54.

    Safety Harbor Capital Corp., a Clearwater developer, has proposed 790 homes for its 274-acre Boyette Road Subdivision.

    Southeast of the Safety Harbor site, Lykes Development Corp. is proposing 760 homes on 328 acres occupied by an active dirt mine.

    Philadelphia slaying suspect held

    ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg police have arrested a man wanted on a murder charge from Philadelphia.

    Federal authorities had been told that Avery Davis was staying in St. Petersburg, and they forwarded that information to St. Petersburg police. Local undercover officers saw him Wednesday night, followed him and confronted him outside a Kmart at 3951 34th St. S.

    Davis, 25, told them his name was Shareef Abdullah Morrison, and he had a Florida driver's license that said so, according to police.

    "He tried to drive away, but police cars were in front and in back of his car. He couldn't drive anywhere," said St. Petersburg police Officer Chip Wells.

    Davis ended up being arrested on a charge of unauthorized possession of a driver's license. He is in the Pinellas County Jail, waiting to be extradited to Philadelphia, where he is charged with murder in the March 15 shooting of a 29-year-old man.

    Tampa to crack down on Bucs parking

    TAMPA -- Concerned about the haphazard parking near Raymond James Stadium when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play home games, the city is cracking down on those who park in illegal lots.

    Starting with the next home game, code enforcement officials will fan out across the area near the stadium, warning and fining people who allow parking in their lots without first obtaining permits.

    "It's looking more and more like a cesspool," City Council Chairman Charlie Miranda said. "If you have a parking lot that is not licensed, you will get cited."

    Miranda said residents in the area are complaining about neighbors who are having large numbers of cars parked in areas near their property.

    Six to eight code enforcement officials will cite those with illegal lots. Anyone caught drinking in Al Lopez Park, a city-owned park where fans park during games, will also be cited, Miranda said.

    Man, 18, charged in death of daughter

    CRYSTAL RIVER -- Police have charged Ricky Slater with killing one of his 3-month-old twin daughters and gravely injuring the other while alone with them.

    But Lindsey Ammerman, 16, said Thursday that her boyfriend and father of the children is innocent of the charges, loved the babies dearly and never would have harmed them.

    "He's never hurt those babies in front of anyone," Ammerman said Thursday. "And I highly doubt he's hurt them, period.

    "He is a very sweet and caring person. He loved those babies more than he loved himself."

    Ammerman's mother appears less sure, at least according court documents. Carla Hernandez has told investigators that Slater, 18, had a violent temper, according to information police submitted to secure a search warrant of the teens' apartment on NE Ninth Street.

    Hernandez declined to discuss Slater's guilt or innocence a day after his arrest on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She said she is mostly eager to see the surviving twin reunited with her family.

    Abuse investigator charged in child rape

    SPRING HILL -- His job was to protect children.

    But authorities say a former abuse investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families raped and abused a young boy for five years.

    Francis "Frank" McCarthy, 51, of Spring Hill, was arrested Wednesday night. McCarthy had worked for the state's child welfare agency in Lake County from March 1993 until January 1999, when he resigned after he was arrested -- and later convicted -- on charges of beating his wife, records show.

    Lake County sheriff's officials say that from the time the boy was 2 until he turned 7, McCarthy would put on pornographic movies, tie the child to a bed and then perform acts on the boy or force the boy to perform acts on him.

    The boy, now 8, whose identity is being withheld because of the nature of the case, was not someone McCarthy met through work but someone he knew and saw regularly.

    After learning of McCarthy's arrest, DCF officials said they would do a "cursory review" of all the cases he worked on over the six years he was with the agency, particularly those involving sexual abuse.

    Ordinance cracks down on Ybor fliers

    TAMPA -- Men and women, some scantily clad, walk up and down Seventh Avenue, handing out fliers advertising cheap beer and low cover charges. It's a staple of the Ybor City party scene.

    Well, it used to be a staple of the party scene.

    The Tampa City Council passed an ordinance Thursday prohibiting businesses in the booming entertainment district from passing out fliers in areas beyond their property. City officials say people are being pestered by those who pass out the fliers, which contribute to the post-party mess the area is left with.

    Handing out the fliers along Seventh and Eighth avenues and in the parking garage along Sixth Avenue between 16th and 15th streets will result in an initial warning followed by a fine for business owners for a second offense.

    Housing authority's chief gets 10% raise

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Just months after a federal audit questioned the management of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, the agency's board gave executive director Darrell J. Irions a 10 percent raise that will bring his salary to $106,700.

    With little discussion, the board agreed at its meeting Thursday that Irions had done a good job and deserved the raise. Asked later about Irions' review, Authority chairman J.W. Cate said the audit wasn't even a consideration when the personnel committee got together and reviewed Irions.

    "I don't remember any real discussion of the audit," Cate said. "We all thought that was a serious situation, but it was just a betterment program -- like going to the doctor and saying we need to cut down on fatty foods and take a pill for cholesterol. All the things the auditor commented on have been corrected and a couple things were not accurate."

    The audit by HUD's Office of Inspector General found the Housing Authority misused thousands of dollars, mismanaged its rental voucher program and awarded contracts through questionable bidding practices.

    Irions said his agency has corrected all the problems and is awaiting clearance on just four of the 11 complaints in the report. "The St. Petersburg Housing Authority has been a high-performing agency as rated by HUD for the past four years of my tenure," Irions said, referring to HUD's internal evaluation of the agency. It is separate from the inspector general report.

    6 arrested after drug investigation

    GULFPORT -- A four-month drug investigation by the Gulfport Police Department and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office netted six arrests Wednesday.

    Citizen complaints of drug activity in the 3100 block of 49th Street S inspired police to canvass the area, interview residents and stage controlled drug buys, said Lt. Michael Quill, who works in investigative services for the Gulfport Police Department.

    Those residents arrested in the drug investigation were:

    Cassandra E. Cummings, 40, and Ernest E. Lamar, 39, both of 4990 31st Ave. S, Apt. 15, Gulfport, charged with possession and sale of crack cocaine.

    Norman J. Parsons, 20, 4990 31st Ave. S., Apt. 16, Gulfport, and Robert Graham, 33, 4730 14th Ave. S, St. Petersburg, charged with possession and sale of marijuana.

    Robert L. Stiltner, 20, 4990 31st Ave. S., Apt. 16, Gulfport, charged with possession of marijuana.

    Richard A. Hensler, 27, 2617 52nd St. S, Gulfport, was charged with the possession and sale of a controlled substance.

    Police expect to arrest five more people in connection with the drug ring, Quill said.

    No arrests in cabdriver shooting

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Police made no arrests Thursday in connection with the shooting and robbery of cabdriver Gary Taviere.

    Officer Chip Wells said investigators will continue to interview witnesses and piece together forensic evidence until they identify the passenger who fired two or three shots at Taviere, 28, in the Childs Park neighborhood late Tuesday night.

    Taviere, a Blue Star Cab driver, was in serious condition Thursday at Bayfront Medical Center. He was shot once in the leg and once in the back at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday at Sixth Avenue S and 44th Street. The bullet that hit his back might also have hit his neck, or a third shot may have hit his neck.

    He also had scrapes on his face and scalp, where he appeared to have been beaten with a blunt object.

    Ex-sheriff's employee sentenced on sex charge

    TAMPA -- A former employee of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office agreed Thursday to spend 364 days in jail and nine years on probation for fondling a 4-year-old girl.

    David Adkinson, 30, a community service officer who worked at the jail, was arrested in March on a charge of lewd and lascivious act on a child. Adkinson admitted during an internal affairs investigation that he touched a girl his wife was babysitting in a sexual manner. According to the internal affairs report, the girl's mother said her daughter woke up one night in December 1999 screaming, "Don't touch me, please don't touch me." The girl's mother confronted the Adkinsons twice and then called authorities.

    At first, according to court records, Adkinson denied touching the girl. But during the course of a polygraph test and two post-test interviews, the records said, Adkinson told a detective that he had fondled the 4-year-old.

    Attorney asks for release of grand jury transcript

    TAMPA -- In an unusual move, a defense attorney filed a motion Thursday asking a judge to release a transcript of a grand jury proceeding.

    Grand jury transcripts normally are off-limits to defense attorneys, but attorney Lyann Goudie said at a hearing Thursday that she needs them to clear her client.

    Alfredo Duenes Jr., 23, was charged with first-degree murder after a clash in December at a Ruskin intersection left 17-year-old Daniel Bazaldua dead. Enoch Hernandez, 19, was charged with being accessory after the murder.

    But on Wednesday, as the trial approaches, prosecutors went back before a grand jury to charge Hernandez with first-degree murder in addition to the accessory charge.

    Goudie claims Duenes has passed a polygraph that proves he didn't kill Bazaldua, and said Hernandez has admitted to pulling the trigger that night.

    She said prosecutors have refused her requests to give Duenes another polygraph, and wouldn't allow Hernandez to give his account of the shooting to the grand jury.

    Thursday, prosecutors subpoenaed Hernandez' attorney, Rick Terrana, to testify at Duenes' trial. Terrana is expected to fight the subpoena.

    Circuit Judge Cynthia Holloway would not postpone Duenes' trial, scheduled for Monday. The judge did not rule on Goudie's request for the grand jury transcripts.

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