Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on September 13, 2006 · 5
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 5

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St. Petersburg, Florida
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
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5
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tf)etetbut0 LOCAL EDITION WEDNESDAY September 13, 2006 WEATHER High 85, low 74 thunderstorms rain chance 70 FLORIDA'S hesi NEWSPAPER to I II II 11 uhIm 1 Ik v- i 1. .". V7 Officials think a jury can be found there that has not been tainted by the case's high profile coverage. By JOHN FRANK Timet Staff Writer Timet (2005) STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON John Couey is accused of murdering 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Citrus County. INVERNESS The murder trial of sex offender John Couey is headed for Miami-Dade County, a move that could be an advantage to the defense and become an issue on appeal The change to a big city hundreds of miles away should improve the chanc es of finding 12 jurors who haven't been biased by the publicity surrounding the grisly kidnapping, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, court officials said. Citrus County court officials announced the move Tuesday, adding that a tentative start date was set for Feb. 12. Mark Lunsford, Jessica's father, was satisfied with the decision. "I think they can find a jury in Miami," he said. "I don't care where we do it as long as it gets done." Jessica was taken from her Citrus County bedroom last year, raped and buried alive. Her disappearance and murder made national headlines. In July, Circuit Judge Ric Howard moved jury selection to Tavares, a small town similar to Inverness in nearby Lake County. He hoped to keep the trial contained to the 5th Judicial Circuit The idea was to pick a jury of Lake County residents and then hold the rest of the trial in Inverness. Four days into the selection process, Howard determined that finding an unbiased panel in Tavares would be impossible. Intense media coverage was partly to blame. About two out of every three potential jurors said they had formed an opinion about the case or knew . about Couey's confession, which Howard had ruled inadmissible. Please see TRIAL 9A .PartB. premium modestly The extra $5 a month is much lower than expected, but for the wealthiest Medicare users, 2007 also marks the start of significant surcharges. By KRIS HUNDLEY Timet Staff Writer For most Medicare beneficiaries, the news Tuesday afternoon was good. Premiums for Part B, which covers doctors' services and outpatient procedures, will go up just $5 a month next year, to $93.50 from $88.50, a much MEDICARE PREMIUMS $88.50 Current monthly payment per individual for Medicare Plan B enrollment $93.50 New payment, to begin in 2007, for those with an income of $80,000 or less. $162.10 New payment, to begin in 2007, for those with an income over $200,000. ' MORE DETAIL, 10A lower increase than expected. But for the first time in the program's history, wealthier seniors will be kicking in more for their coverage. The surcharge, which will . affect about 4 percent of Medicare's 40-mil-lion members, is a major departure from the traditional arrangement under which premiums have been the same for all seniors regardless of their income. Congress approved the change through a little- noticed provision - of the 2003 law that created the Medicare drug benefit in an effort to help the financially ailing government insur-ance program. - According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, individuals with incomes of less than $80,000 will pay Part B premiums of Please see PREMIUM 10A Dawes apoiogfees for vote t i 1 AP Democratic nominee for governor Jim Davis, left, apologizes Tuesday to Freddie Pitts, center, and Wilbert Lee for his 1990 vote to deny compensation for the two men, who were wrongly convicted of killing two gas station attendants. The Democrat shifts ground a.:d says he was wrong to oppose compensation for two wrongfully convicted men. By ALEX LEARY and TAMARA LUSH Times Staff Writers , MIAMI U.S. Rep. Jim Davis apologized and said he made a mistake 16 years ago when he voted not to compensate two wrongfully convicted black men who served 12 years in prison on murder charges. "Jf you're looking for the perfect candidate, it's not me," the Democratic nominee for governor said Tuesday during a news conference in Miami, while seated next to the two men. The apology came after Davis was criticized for the vote, made while he represented Tampa in the state Legislature, during his primary campaign. One critic was U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, who told Davis he would have problems gaining support in Florida's black community unless he confronted the issue. Davis had previously said that there was not enough evidence to support payment and that the vote was being used to misrepresent his overall standing on civil rights. Please see DAVIS 10A THE ISSUE Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee were twice convicted of ' killing two white service station attendants in North Florida in 1963. They were imprisoned fof 12 years, nine on death row, before being pardoned in 1975 by Gov. Reubin Askew. The Miami men originally pleaded guilty to the killings, but said they were beaten and threatened. Another man later confessed. The first conviction of Pitts and Lee was overturned, but they were convicted again by an all-white jury. Beginning in 1979, advocates tried to get compensation for the men by appealing to the Legislature. But the effort failed each time, including in 1990 when the bill went before Jim Davis, now a Democratic candidate for governor, and other members of a state House committee. That bill was co-sponsored by Davis' Republican opponent then state Sen, Charlie Crist Davis said at the time there was not enough evidence to pay the men. On Tuesday, he said that was a mistake. Did she love him, or kill him? Charles "Chuck" Rock died after he was set on fire. Prosecutors say his ex-lover Elizabeth Williams planned it. By COLLEEN JENKINS Times Staff Writer TAMPA She wrote him a note signed "Your Fatal Attraction." She showered him with gifts beer, a race car and jewelry when she felt him slipping away. She phoned after he moved on to another woman. Elizabeth Jewell Williams called it love. Charles "Chuck" Rock's family and friends called it obsession. They now say she carried out her fatal attraction on Aug. 10, 2003, using drugs and money to get a friend to douse 35-year-old Rock with gasoline andMight him on fire in a Riverview park. Williams says the man who killed Rock was acting on his own. "I loved Chuck Rock with all of my being," she told a detective hours after her ex-lover was burned. "I would never let anybody hurt that man." Williams, 40, of Pinecrest, is on trial this Times photo KEN HELLE Elizabeth Jewell Williams faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of ex-lover Charles "Chuck" Rock. week on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Since Rock's death, former radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem made a public Please see ROCK 10A Ticket master muscling in on the scalpers' turf Tempted by a multibillion dollar market, the broker is auctioning seats for about a third of major music tours. Wall Street Journal Reselling sports and concert tickets online has become a multibillion-dollar business for eBay Inc., StubHub Inc. and other middlemen. Now the concert and sports industries and Ticketmaster, which sells the majority of seats are fighting to take back some of that money. A division of Barry Diller's IAC InterActiveCorp, which also owns HSN in St Petersburg, Ticketmaster is overhauling the way it sells tickets. It's embracing new methods mat it long shunned. Most notably, Ticketmaster is running auctions to sell seats for roughly 30 percent of this year's major music tours including Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, B.B. King and Melissa Etheridge. Ticketmaster also is letting customers resell some seats at its Web site. Since that lets fans sell tickets far above face value, Ticketmaster has joined the fight Q&A: TICKETMASTER How does the auction of tickets work? Similar to eBay. Promoters of concerts and sports events put up a limited number of seats for auction for a given event and establish opening bids. Bidders enter the maximum amount they're willing to pay along with credit card information and can track competing bids online. MORE, 8A against state antiscalping laws, reversing its earlier position. Concert promoters, performers and sports teams stand to win if the new methods at Ticketmaster reduce scalper sales and return some of the proceeds to their own coffers. Ticketmaster, which for 15 years has held a near-monopoly over the market for ticketing major live events, is battling competition from online rivals that can easily resell tickets at whatever price the market will bear. Tickets for live events are frequently either overpriced leading to potentially disastrous Please see TICKETS 8A The Times TODAY v.- n Syria protects U.S. Embassy The Bush administration praises Syria for repelling four attackers armed with hand grenades, automatic weapons and a truck bomb. Timet 2, 4A , New light on an old case ; The 12-year-old boy vanished from his Iowa home in 1982. Now, 24 years later, photos have surfaced that could restart the investigatioa Timet 2, 4A A crash course on America Somalis immigrating to the United States get three days to absorb U.SL history, customs, weather and appliances before the big move. 8 A SPORTS A new Vick leads Falcons As Michael Vick prepares for the Bucs on Sunday, he is bringing a new sense of urgency and maturity to his play this season. 1C Yankees 12, Devil Rays 4 The Rays allowed a record nine runs in the first inning. Yankee Bobby Abreu drove in six of them, and finished the game with seven. 1C BUSINESS y5i v 1 f ? Cypress Gardens fails The adventure park files for bankruptcy less than two years after reopening, blaming hurricanes. It will honor season passes. ID HP chief takes the fall Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn resigns under pressure after a controversial inquiry into the leak of boardroom secrets. 1D LOCAL ; A tiger attacks owner A Hillsborough County tamer of big cats is injured by a 25(pound tiger after stumbling inside its cage. "It comes with the territory," he says. IB TASTE ; On the Food Network By days the hosts are cooking, at night they are entertaining, and thaf s the recipe for success for the all-food cable channel. IE THE DISH: Roll your own sushi. 3E ONTAMPABAY.COM How to educate boys, girls Do boys and girls learn differently? And if so, how best to teach them? Tell us your thoughts at blogs.tampabay.comclassroom. INDEX Abby2E Astrology 2E Bridge E Business 1-6D Comics E ' Crossword, 2E, in Classifieds Editorials 12A Entertainment 2B Jumble E Letters 12A Lottery 2A Movies E Parimutuels 7C " Sports 1-8C I Television E it ii i1 an ni l nil I8906719941 Vol. 123 No. 51 l 1 sections- M0,TimM ! PubtHhtng Co.

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