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News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida • Page 18

Fort Myers, Florida
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2B Fort Myers News-Press, Tuesday, February 15, 1983 Combs' lawyers: Slaying not cruel enough for death penalty By ALLEN BARTLETT News-Press Staff Writer Florida death row Inmate Robert Ike Combs, of Bonita Springs, should have his sentence reduced because the murder he committed wasn't any more gruesome than most killings, his attorneys contended Monday. In a bulky written request filed Monday in Lee County court records, attorneys for the 23-year-old Combs contend the death penalty wasn't intended for the type of murder he committed. Combs Is one of nine Southwest Florida men on death row. A 12-member Lee County jury decided In April 1980 that Combs was guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the June 2, 1979 death of Gay Lynn Parks, 17, of Bonita Springs. Combs was sentenced to death on June 11, 1980 by Circuit Judge Thomas Reese.

The Florida Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in July 1981. Less than a year later, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Combs' appeal. Gov. Bob Graham hasn't signed a death warrant for Combs, who Is awaiting a clemency bearing.

Combs, represented by court-appointed New York attorneys Asa D. Sokolow, Elizabeth Shollenberger and Edward Kornreich, contended Monday that the murder of Parks wasn't especially cruel, atrocious or heinous. Those words are used in the state law which sets out the criteria under which a death sentence can be imposed. There is "nothing to (increase) it beyond an ordinary homicide," the attorneys contended. The attorneys are affiliated with a New York City firm that has volunteered Its services to battle Florida death sentences, according to officials of the Florida Clearinghouse on Criminal Justice in Tallahassee.

In addition, the lawyers claim: One juror shouldn't have been allowed to sit on the panel because of his belief that the death sentence is "mandatory" in some types of murders. The jury wasn't sufficiently asked to deliberate whether Combs was too drugged and drunk to know what he was doing. Court records state Combs had consumed 20 beers in the previous half-day and had been smoking marijuana and taking cocaine. There were unsubstantiated claims during Combs' sentencing that he had tormented his victim. Attorneys who represented Combs during his sentencing were ineffective.

Court records and testimony in the case show: On the night of the murder, Combs, Parks and then 20-year-old Robert Perry went to a remote area of Bonita Springs after a night of drug-taking, partying and pool-playing at area nightspots. After buying $80 of cocaine, Perry and Parks were led to the woods by Combs. At a clearing. Combs pulled a handgun and demanded money and drugs. Parks became belligerent and threw a small purse containing drugs into a bush.

Combs shot the girl in the head at close range. The bullet went through her mouth and sliced her spinal cord, but didn't kill her. Perry charged toward Combs, was shot and fell unconscious. Parks was shot twice more in the head and Combs fled. Perry regained consciousness, went to summon police and Combs was arrested soon afterward.

Lee Democrats replace leaders who resigned DATELINE: SOUTHWEST FLORIDA Fort Myers. Members of the 15-member steering committee indicated they would resign in order to give Bedell "the latitude to mold the party the way he wants." The retired United Auto Worker lobbyist said he intends to launch a fund-raising drive and will seek to bolster party membership. While the resignations of Long and Evans may have dealt the party a temporary setback, he said, "I think the party is ready to work." Smith, who served as vice chairman of the party In 1977 and 1978, said she will work to educate the public about the Democratic Party and try to get apathetic Democratic voters to the polls. Although there are more Democrats than Republicans registered in Lee County, fewer go to the polls and public bodies such as the Lee County Commission are Republican domains. Of the effect the resignations of Long and Evans had on the party, she noted that after they unexpectedly announced their resignations and walked out of last month's meeting, the meeting continued without incident.

Smith has lived in Lee County for 13 years. She is a bookkeeper at Bill Branch Chevrolet and lives in North Fort Myers. She defeated Sandy Komito for the post. Other party officials are Lucy Shepard, secretary, and Bill Bloch, treasurer. After operating for nearly a month without top leadership, the Lee County Democratic Party returned to full strength Monday night In a unanimous vote, 76 members of the local executive committee elected Daniel Bedell to fill an unexpired four-year as party chairman.

In a contested election, Joanne Smith was elected vice chairman. The two positions became vacant Jan. 17 when Chairman James Long and Vice Chairman Madeline Evans resigned saying that Democratic Gov. Bob Graham had betrayed the party when he appointed Republican Porter Goss to temporarily replace suspended Lee County Commissioner Mike Roeder. Roeder, a Republican, was suspended from office pending trial on a charge of lying to a grand jury about whether there were women present on a boat trip three county commissioners took with contractor Louis "Butch" Stramaglia.

Both Long and Evans said Graham's disregard of party lines in making the appointment rendered their work futile. "He's running as a Democrat and acting as an independent, and I'm sick and tired of it," said Long, who had served two years as chairman and was to serve two more. Although Bedell and Smith said that few followed Long and Evans from the party, both said one of their primary goals is to unify the party. "It's a challenge of significant magnitude," said Bedell, 69, of East Lawmen learn name of man crushed by train IMMOKALEE The Collier County Sheriffs Department has learned the Identity of a man who was run over aod killed last week by a freight train here. However, the sheriffs department would not release the man's name on Monday because his family had not been notified.

According to the sheriffs department, the man had gone to sleep under a parked flatcar on the tracks near Main Street and New Market Road. The cars were later moved and the man was run over sometime last Tuesday morning, officials said. Cause of packing house fire probed IMMOKALEE State fire marshals on Monday sifted through the remains of a warehouse at the 6 L's Packing House which was gutted by fire Sunday morning. The exact cause of the fire is not yet known, according to the Collier County Sheriffs Department. Deputies spotted the burning warehouse at about 2 a.m.

The fire spread from the warehouse to nearby gasoline tanks which ignited and destroyed a truck. A year ago, another fire at the packing house caused more than $1 million in damage. Immokalee Fire Chief Jack Whisnant said he did not think the fire Sunday did as much damage as the fire a year ago. However, there is no estimate yet on the amount of damage caused by the fire, he said. State group backs Collier measure NAPLES The State Association of County Commissioners has endorsed legislation being proposed by Collier County which would give counties more property tax money to provide general government services.

Collier County Commissioner John Pistor who serves on the board of directors and the Ways and Means Committee of the state association said the organization of county commissioners agreed to back the legislation during a statewide meeting Thursday and Friday in Jacksonville. The measure being proposed by Collier County is scheduled to be discussed by local state legislators during a meeting Wednesday at the Collier County Courthouse. The county proposes that special taxing districts for services such as street lighting and fire protection be excluded from a current state formula which determines the amount of property tax dollars that can be collected by the county each year. County officials say that the more taxing districts there are, the less property tax revenue central county government has to provide general services for all residents. Food will be distributed in Lehigh Acres LEHIGH ACRES U.S.

government surplus food will be available to Lehigh Acres residents Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Lehigh Community Services, 8 Arizona Road, according to community services director H. Edgar Walton. Those in need must call Lehigh Community Services at 369-5818 before Thursday to complete and sign applications for the food.

Lawmakers will hold 3 hearings in area The Lee County Legislative Delegation will meet today In Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres to discuss state laws that affect local agencies and businesses. Most of the items on the agenda deal with special fire, water, drainage and mosquito control districts. The delegation will hear arguments for and against the various bills and may vote today on them. The laws then will be Introduced to the state Legislature during its regular session, which begins in April. Legislators from other areas usually follow the vote of local delegations when the proposed legislation Involves purely local Issues, according to State Rep.

Keith Arnold, D-Fort Myers. The hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Cape Coral Country Club. At 1:30 p.m., they will be held at Fort Myers City Hall and at 7:30 p.m. they will move to the Lehigh Community Center.

The six-member delegation includes: State Sen. Frank Mann, D-Fort Myers, State Sen. Patrick K. Neal, D-Bradenton and state Representatives J. Keith Arnold, D-Fort Myers; Fred Dudley, R-Cape Coral; Vernon Peeples, D-Punta Gorda and Mary Ellen Hawkins, R-Naples.

House ransacked, items worth $885 taken CAPE CORAL A Cape Coral resident returned to his home after a brief absence Sunday to find his house ransacked and $885 in property missing, according to a police report. James Vitcha, of 223 Southeast 45 told investigators someone removed a window screen, forced the window open and crawled through it to get into the garage. The bolts were then removed from the hinges of the kitchen door, allowing access to the house. Officers said a pillowcase, removed from a bedroom, was used to collect the silverware, jewelry and coins that were taken. Ex-immigration supervisor charged in fraud MIAMI A federal grand jury has returned a 21-count indictment charging a former Immigration and Naturalization Service supervisor from Naples with producing and selling falsified documents.

Richard Meyer Carleton is charged with 1 0 counts of manufacturing the false papers, 10 counts of selling them and one count of conspiring to do both. A woman identified only as Jane Doe is also named in the indictment as an accomplice. Carleton was arrested at his home Jan. 30. The document says Carleton arranged with an undercover Border Patrol agent who posed as an illegal alien Mexican farmworker to sell false work papers for $500.

Rob Williams, an attorney in Immokalee for Florida Rural Legal Services, which often handles problems for migrant workers, said he has only second-hand information about Carleton's activities. Carleton and his accomplice face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for each charge of manufacturing or sale, and an additional maximum five-year sentence and 1 0,000 fine for the conspiracy charge. NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING Notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioner acting as the Zoning Appeals Board will hold a Public Hearing on Monday, February 1983 at 9:30 a.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, Lee County Courthouse, Fort Myers, Florida for appeals from the previous Zoning Board Hearing of January 24, 1983. If a person decides to appeal a decision or hearing, a record of this proceeding will be needed for such purposes.

Such person may be assured that a verbatim record of the proceeding is made to include the testimony and evidence upon which any such appeal is to be based. The followini cases will be heard. LEE COUNTY DIVISION OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 82-7-24 (District 5) 8-11-20 Murder victim was headed home, county lawman says (District 5) who she was with," Bonsall said. "She was trying to get back (to Fort Myers Beach). She missed the last bus and was looking for a ride.

"I'm not going to say she hitchhiked back. She might have just met somebody she got a ride with." Three boys discovered Hart's body clad only in a pair of brown sandals and unmatched pierced earrings the next afternoon in the water near the shoreline of the Caloosahatchee River. She had been dead about 12 hours, according to the Medical Examiner's office. Hart, who lived in a van off Main Street, suffo cated after she was struck at least four times in the neck and upper chest with a heavy blunt instrument, an autopsy revealed. Investigators aren't sure if she was raped.

Lawmen were able to identify Hart when her boyfriend, commercial fisherman Mickey Kirlin, saw her description printed in the News-Press, Bonsall said. "Breeze," as she was nicknamed, was 5 feet 5, 172 pounds, with shoulder-length blond hair and gray eyes. She had a prominent tattoo on the back of her left shoulder depicting a red and blue bird with outstretched wings hovering over a flower. By JEFF ROBERTS News-Press Staff Writer A Fort Myers Beach woman, whose nude, beaten body was found at the east end of the Cape Coral Bridge on Saturday, was trying to get back home from Fort Myers when she was killed, a Lee County lawman said Monday. Michelle Hart, 20, hitchhiked to Fort Myers to see her attorney about a drunken driving arrest at about 4 p.m.

Friday and then stayed in the city several more hours visiting bars, Sgt. David Bon-sall said. "We don't know where she went afterward or Trjfll From page 1B 82-11-26 (DCI) (District 1) Zoning votes favor signs, security 82-11-50 (District 4) Signs, sunsets and security were the stuff of which Lee County zoning cases were made Monday. The Lee County Commission, sitting as the Zoning Appeals Board, took the following action: Allowed the Oxford Development developers of The Bell Tower Shopping Center, to keep two of its three signs Identifying the 55-acre shopping center at U.S. 41 and Daniels Road.

The ones along U.S. 41 and Big Pine Way can stay. But the one along Daniels Road will have to be moveri back 200 feet from the road in order to comply with development orders the county agreed to enforce to secure some $19 million in federal grant money for the construction of the Southwest Florida Regional Airport. Allowed residents of Stratford Place Condominium Association on Cypress Lake Drive to have a 6-foot wall constructed around the complex for security. In granting the request, commissioners said some sort of policy should be developed coun-tywide before all subdivisions become fortresses.

Denied a request from Joseph Bacik to put a boat storage on a 1.71-acre track along Hurricane Bay at Fort Myers Beach. Nearby residents complained the building would block their view of the sunset. Approved a request to rezone 4.48 acres of land at Old Bayshore Road and State Road 31 for a shopping center. The landowner is T.R. Woodbridge.

83-1-1 REQUEST; Amend Resolution ZAB-82-264 to reflect correct request. Correct request: A change in zoning from C-l to CG district. HARRY AND BETTY TRENERY (Cont'd Jonuary 10, 1983 Appeals Hrng) REQUEST: Amended Request: In the AG district oi a) Special Exception for one single family mobile home b) Variance from the required minimum lot area of 5 ac to 4.9 ac LOCATION: Sec 05, Twp 45S, Rge 25E, lee County, Fl From Colonial Blvd. Ext. to on Deer Run Rd.

for then for 1000 E. Ft. Myers ZONING BOARD DECISION: Denial APPEALED BY: Betty Trenery WECLVEC, LAND DEVELOPERS (Cont'd January 10, 1983 Appeals Hrng) REQUEST: In the AG District a) District Boundary Change to CG District b) Unusual Use in CG district for Security GuardNightwatchman Facility LOCATION: Sec 26, Twp 43S, Rge 24E, Lee County, Fl Crnr of Laurel Dr. Dorlee N. Ft.

Myers ZONING BOARD DECISION: Denial APPEALED BY: Pamela E. Houck, Director, Current Planning Department SALVATORE P. ELAINE L. DELLIPOALA, JAMES FARR, AGT (Cont'd Jan. 10, 1983 Appeals Hrng) REQUEST: In the AG District a) District Boundary Change to AGR district b) Variance from the minimum lot width requirement of 100 ft.

to 66 ft. LOCATION: Sec 26, Twp 43S, Rge 24E, Lee County, Fl 1262 Laurel N. Ft. Myers ZONING BOARD DECISION: Denial APPEALED BY: Pamela E. Houck, Director, Current Planning Department JOSEPH F.

OKULA REQUEST: A district boundary change from AG to RS-1 LOCATION: Sec 34, Twp 47S, Rge 25E, Lee County, Fl Lot 58, Patrick Bon. Springs (W side of Patrick side of Pennsylvania Ave.) ZONING BOARD DECISION: Approval APPEALED BY: Pamela E. Houck, Director, Current Planning Department FLORIDA WATER PROOFING, INC. 4 GENERAL CAULKING COATINGS, INC. (HORACE ANDREWS, TRUSTEE) Request: A district boundary change from AG to IL LOCATION: Sec 36, Twp 43S, Rge 25E, Lee County, Fl side of SR80 past Veterinary Clinic, at gate corner of Florida Power Si Light plant ZONING BOARD DECISION: Denial APPEALED BY: Pamela E.

Houck, Director, Current Planning Department Le'Ni CORP REPRESENTED BY WILLIAM H. VAN DUZER REQUEST: In the C-l district a) Unusual Use for a miniature golf course (Sec. 500.10) b) Variance from the required 36 parking spaces to the existing 1 3 spaces (Sec 500.21.1.2) LOCATION, Sec 24, Twp 46S, Rge 23E, Lee County, Fl 1 50 San Carlos Blvd. (located at foot of new Ft. Myers Bch.

Bridge, triangular shaped between San Carlos, Center St. and 5th St.) ZONING BOARD DECISION: Denial APPEALED BY: William H. VanDuzer EUGENE WALLIN REQUEST: In the AG District a) Special Exception for one single family mobile home b) Variance from the required minimum lot area of 5 ac to 4.27 ac LOCATION. Sec 35, Twp 47S, Rge 26E, Vincent Bonita Springs ZONING BOARD DECISION: Denial APPEALED BY: Eugene Wallin a mistrial. The opinion states the case is unusual because Adams said there was no basis for a mistrial but then granted one anyway.

In its ruling, the appellate panel wrote: "The record strongly suggests that the state may have resorted to its demand for a mistrial only when prospects of acquittal were apparent The mistrial wasn't manifestly necessary under the circumstances We agree with (Nelson) who reluctantly dismissed the indictment on the ground of double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same offense)." The Justices added, "We in no way condone a judge conversing with a witness as was done in this case." Frank Alderman HI, a Fort Myers attorney who represented Collins, said her family was "elated" by the ruling. Adams "Is clearly vindicated by that opinion," he added. Alderman said prosecutors used a "nitpicky" issue to get a mistrial "because their case was going down the tubes." During a break in the case, prosecutors brought up the question of Adams' reported discussion with a witness. Adams was a friend of the witness, who was the half-sister of the dead man. In its opinion, the appeal judges mentioned that Deputy State Attorney Marshall King Hall didn't immediately ask for a mistrial after learning about the comments.

Instead, the judges wrote, prosecutors continued efforts to try to get the note admitted as evidence. At a subsequent hearing in Adams' office, the judges wrote, it was "revealed that during the course of the Judge's conversation with the witness, he told her the state had a questionable case and the trial would soon be over." However, "the witness stated the judge never intimidated her nor did anything to alter her testimony He had no discussions with her concerning the substance of her testimony." As a result, the appeal court ruled, prosecutors had no reason to ask for (District 3) 83-1-2 (District 3) 83-1-33 New postal annex opens Saturday in Cape (District 3) NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN The City of Fort Myers Planning Board has been given the responsibility to oversee the Fort Myers Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Board, staff, and City's Engineering Consultant are holding a Public Hearing to discuss the Surface Water Management Element of our Comprehensive Plan. Anyone interested in the Surface Water Management (storm water drainage and retention) of our City is cordially invited to attend. Copies of the proposals are available for perusal at City Hall.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, March 1, at 3:00 p.m. in the Fourth Floor Conference Room at City Hall, 2200 Second Street. All parties who may want to appeal the decision of the Planning Board must ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made. CITY OF FORT MYERS By: M.W. Matz City Clerk 82-12-23 ing to travel to the downtown Fort Myers post office.

The annex will give temporary relief until a new Cape Coral post office can be built to replace the outgrown facility. Bill Deason, manager of the Cape Coral office, said the annex Includes room for expansion. He said it Is expected to take three years to complete the new post office after the land is purchased. He said the present office contains only 2,500 square feet. Postal officials are now in the process of acquiring a Southeast Ninth Avenue site for the new post office.

The postal service plans to construct an mail distribution center. CAPE CORAL North Cape Coral residents and postal carriers will be able to save time and gas when a new mall annex opens Saturday at 1316 Southeast 10th St. Sess Hall, general superintendent of delivery for the U.S. Postal Service in Fort Myers, said the opening of the annex will allow all 33 Cape Coral routes to be sorted within the city, instead of being sorted in Fort Myers because the Cape's 17th Place office was too small to handle the load. In addition, Hall said, customers on these routes will be able to pick up registered, certified and postage-due mall and parcels at the annex In the dry's industrial park Instead of hav (District 3) RPO 307192.

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