Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on August 6, 1987 · 34
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 34

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, August 6, 1987
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2B ST. PETERSBURG TIMES THURSDAY, AUGUST 6. 1987 state DIGEST Li- . -X Gains jackonville Gainssvili Orlando) ' St. Petersburg n ' FortMyeXV r , Key West fZy Inmates accused of cocaine theft FORT PIERCE Three prisoners, assigned to wax the floor outside a jail evidence room, broke Into the room and stole about two pounds of cocaine, officials said Wednesday. The three prisoners, Charles Comer, 26, Jon Ford, 18, and Daniel Reynolds, 22, all of Fort Pierce, wrapped the cocaine in a blanket, and smuggled it back to their cell at the St. Lucie County jail, officials said. The prisoners distributed the cocaine among other Inmates, officials said, and by the time the theft was discovered Tuesday there was not a trace of it to be found. The three were charged with burglary, grand theft and tampering with physical evidence. Trooper retires after suspension TALLAHASSEE Barney Stallworth. 1986 Florida Highway Patrol trooper of the year, resigned Wednesday following a series of misconduct alleaations. Stallworth. S3, was "1 X suspended for two weeks last month for 1 r improperly seizing valuables from motorists he T j had stopped. A review panel of fellow officers ' ...A had recommended ha b fired for one of the incidents, improperly taking jewelry valued at up to $65,000 from a California woman last November. Stallworth also was investigated for taking $1,650 from another motorist he stopped last March and not turning it in as required by Highway Patrol rules. 1 . i . j STALLWORTH Finders children returned to mothers TALLAHASSEE The last two Finders children remaining in state custody have been released to their mothers. Six children were taken into state custody on Feb. 4 when Tallahassee police found them in the company of two men later identified as members of the Finders, a Washington, D.C., communal organization. The men were charged with child abuse, charges that were eventually dropped. Four of the children were returned to their mothers shortly after the arrests, after authorities debunked rumors of child abuse and satanism among the Finders. On Monday, the two children kept in state custody pending an agreement over their education and health care were returned to their mothers. Trial date set in murder-kidnapping JACKSONVILLE A new trial date was set for a woman accused of kidnapping a newborn baby and killing the baby's mother. Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case indicated last month that Wendy Leigh Zabel's case might be settled before trial. But Circuit Judge Bill Parsons set a new trial date of Nov. 2, and Assistant Public Defender Alan Chipperfield said he expected the case would be ready by then. Ms. Zabel, 19, recently underwent a psychiatric examination, but the findings have been kept confidential by the defense attorneys. Murder suspect to be returned to state AMITE, La. A Louisiana judge ruled Wednesday that a suspect in a triple-murder at a Fort Lauderdale fast-food restaurant must return to Florida to face charges. Bernell Hegwood, 1 7, was ordered turned over to Florida authorities by Judge Kenneth Fogg. The teen-ager was arrested after arriving in Hammond, La., by bus two days after the May 23 shooting of three co-workers at a Wendy's restaurant. Authorities say the workers were killed during a robbery attempt. Death row inmate loses appeal ATLANTA A federal appeals court Wednesday rejected the appeal of Florida death row inmate Willie Jasper Darden, who claims testimony obtained after his trial shows he could not have killed a Florida furniture store owner. Darden was convicted and sentenced to death for shooting two people during a robbery at a furniture store near Lakeland on Sept. 8, 1973. Darden later produced two people who said the crime occurred earlier than originally reported by police and argued he could prove he was elsewhere at that time. Darden has survived five death warrants, more than any other inmate currently on Florida's death row. Compiled from wire reports tPorfielDas ctag smuggler pJearils guSlfty ' Valverde sentenced to 1 8 years in prison Auoclald Ptm JASPER Pinellas County drug smuggler Joseph Francis Valverde III interrupted jury selection at his trial Wednesday to plead guilty. Circuit Judge Wallace Jopling immediately sentenced Valverde to 18 years in state prison for trafficking in marijuana and for escape. Valverde also received a 15-year term for trafficking conspiracy, which will be served concurrently. Valverde will be returned to federal authorities to finish serving a 57-year sentence in a separate drug case out of Arkansas and then will serve the 18-year state term, said State Attorney Jerry Blair. Valverde decided during the trial's first recess to change his plea after 12 prospective jurors had been called to the jury box, Blair said. Valverde and co-defendant Thomas Geers were accused of flying more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana on a twin-engine plane to a North Florida airstrip on Dec. 28, 1984. Both escaped from the Madison County Jail in 1985 before they could be brought to trial. Federal agents recaptured Valverde after his jailbreak on a plane in Little Rock, Ark. Officers said more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana were found aboard that plane. Geers remains at large, but the prosecution received permission to try him in absentia be- VALVERDE cause of the cost of duplicate trials, Geers' trial ended when Valverde en tered the plea. j "Obviously much of our legal basis for trying him in absentia dissipated with Mr. Valverde's plea," Blair said, Valverde once owned a computer business in North Pinellas and lived in a waterfront home in Crystal Beach; He and his wife, Lee Knight Moffett, had a fondness for champagne and caviar. They also were widely knowrj in Tampa Bay religious circles, often donating cash to religious groups. The couple's home in Crystal Beach was seized by the Internal Revenue Service and sold, Information from story by St Petersburg j Timet staff writer Lucy Morgan was used in this report j Sheriff, judge resolve dispute Drugs blamed for 2.5 rise in state's crime rate AMOciatod PrM Associated Prsss NAVARRO FORT LAUDERDALE A sheriff whose security blitz earlier this week nearly shut down the county courthouse admitted Wednesday he made an error in skipping a contempt hearing, and a judge lifted an order for his arrest. I hope you keep serving the people of Broward County well," Circuit Judge Arthur Franza said after Sher-iff Nick Navarro told him why he discarded a sum mons calling him to court Tuesday to explain the measures. Sheriffs deputies practically shut down the courthouse Monday by forcing everyone, judges included, to use one door and to submit to body searches. As block-long lines formed outside the building, the sheriff said he was simply following the orders to make the courthouse secure. The tighter security had been ordered by Chief Circuit Judge Miette Burnstein after a shooting last week at the Gulf County Courthouse in Port St. Joe in which three people, one a circuit judge, were killed. Franza said Monday that Navarro's slow security checkpoint was a blatant attempt to avoid good-faith compliance with Burnstein's order. He scheduled a contempt hearing for Tuesday morning. When Navarro did not attend the hearing, Franza called for Gov. Bob Martinez to arrest him. Navarro told Franza that he didn't respond because he didn't think the process server, a court-appointed attorney, had the authority to serve him. TALLAHASSEE Serious crime in Florida rose 2.5 percent DEMPSEY in the first six months of 1987, mainly because of drug-related offenses, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Robert Dempsey announced Wednesday. Dempsey said he found the increase disturbing because it followed a pattern that began in 1983, when cocaine use dramatically increased in the United States. "The picture is not a good one, as you can see," Dempsey said, gesturing toward charts that detailed crime increases since 1983. "We are very concerned with the fact that there is a continual increase in the volume of crime." Dempsey said drug crimes and property crimes related to drugs accounted for the biggest part of the increase. Auto thefts, for example, increased by 10.2 percent in the six-month period. Crime categories included murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, auto theft, burglary and larceny. The six-month figures did not include breakdowns by county. "There's no question in our minds that if we could bring the drug situation under control, we would have' a dramatic downturn in the crime rate," he said, j Drug users with expensive habits like cocaine often resort to property crimes to get enough money to buy the drugs, he said. In 1982, cocaine arrests made up 12.8 percent of all drug-related arrests in Florida. Last year that figure jumped to 50.5 percent of total drug arrests. ! A total of 485,129 serious crimes were reported from January through June 11,813 more than were reported for the same period in 1986. If that rate continues, Dempsey said an estimated 1-million serious crimes will occur in Florida by the end of 1987. j "Statistically, we are faced with a major crime every 32 seconds," Dempsey said. The value of property stolen during the six-month period was $434-million. About one-third of that property, $142-million, was recovered. Although the figures also showed a 4.5 percent increase in arrests, Dempsey said law enforcement needed more help from the Legislature in financing criminal justice programs and more public cooperation in preventing crime. HAPPINESS IS LIVING AT... CASA CELESTE "An Innovative Approach to Rental Retirement Living." We invite you to come and visit Pick out your own individual, ground floor (No Steps), 3 room villa & Move In & Leave the Cooking, Shopping, Cleaning & Driving to: CASA CELESTE 9225-82nd Avenue N. Seminole, FL. 34647 (813)397-7272 WE WILL SERVE: Continental Breakfast Daily Nourishing dinners, Tastefully Prepared PROVIDE: Maid Service Linen Service Transportation 24 Hour Security AND: TLC & MORE! WH ILE Frolic in the pool, go to meetings, YOU: meet with your friends, or just watch the birds fly as you socialize with your neighbors. N I M I - t. W I 1 b. 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