The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on January 24, 1984 · 14
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 14

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 24, 1984
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4-B THE TAMPA TRIBUNE, Tuesday, January 24, 1984 Wife recants testimony of husband's beating By BILL HEERY Tribune Staff Writer BARTOW A circuit judge Monday ordered a new trial for Thomas Drake after the defendant's' wife, Nancy Drake, testified at a hearing , that it was not her husband who beat her on the head with a hammer at a Winter Haven church last July. .Nancy Drake testified Monday that her memory had returned and said it was a tall, slen-' der, white-haired stranger who beat her at the First Church of the Nazarene and robbed the church of an estimated $3,800. Nancy Drake, 48, was unable to recall the events of July 8 when she testified at her husband's trial in November. A jury found Thomas Drake, 45, guilty of attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery with a deadly weapon after that trial. Drake was awaiting sentencing this week, and he faced a possible life term. Circuit Judge Edward F. Threadgill, in granting -the defense motion for a new trial, said, "Whether or not she is lying or rather she has been influenced, I have some feeling about, but I can't substitute my feelings for those of a jury." .Noting that the prosecution's case against Drake was based on circumstantial evidence and Nancy Drake was the only eyewitness to the crime, Threadgill said that under the rules of criminal procedure, "I don't have a choice." Thomas Drake's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Larry Shearer, told the court the new evidence met the criteria for a new trial, in that he ttfought it would have changed the jury's verdict." - Prosecutor Lank Havice argued that the victim's husband had undue influence over her, and her testimony was "not credible not worthy of belief." lt she had to say a Martian did it, she would saywa Martian did it" Havice told the judge. &ancy Drake testified Monday that the man whijubeat her came into the church, where she ' wagg secretary, and asked to purchase tickets to a ctrarch concert. She said the man had a $100 bilCand when she told him she could not change th&1ll, he argued with her to get change. She sai&ghe went to the church safe, and the man watted into the office with the safe and struck heptover the head while she was leaning over the safe? ." .', , .. A judge ordered a new trial for the man after his wife said her memory had returned arid ' that it was not her husband who beat her on the head with a hammer. . Nancy Drake, who is under 24-hpur nursing care at her Winter Haven home, said her memory of the incident started to return about a week after her husband's trial. , "I was lying in bed, and I kept dreaming this, and my first thought was I must be dreaming," she said. "And then it dawned on me I wasn't dreaming. I. was wide awake.". !, , , v.,. , , - She said she first told her husband about re-. .' calling the white-haired man when she visited Drake at the county jail, and he told her to inform his attorney. "' .' ' . Nancy Drake said she had clipped some articles about her husband's case from, a newspaper. : But she denied reading about the testimony of a church member who said she had seen a white-haired man sitting in a station wagon in the church parking lot shortly before the attack. Drake said she still' loved her husband and would be happy to have him home. She denied prior knowledge about an alleged affair he. was having with a Fort Lauderdale woman. . Thomas Drake testified at his trial that he went to the church the day of the beating to take his wife lunch. . .,.'' When Havice questioned Nancy Drake Mon-,. day about what she had for lunch that day, she had trouble remembering and, laughing; said, '' "Could I ask Tom these questions?" . ;v Dr: David Taxdal of Winter Haven Ja neuro- '. surgeon, testified Monday that the brain damage Nancy Drake suffered made it unlikely she would be able to recall the events surrounding ; the beating. But he said it is not a medical impos- , sibility. ' " l'.-?' 'Z':.f "s Dr. Thomas McClane, a psychiatrist who examined Nancy Drake, testified that she Was "reasonably competent" to be a witness. But as to the reliability of her testimony, he said, "I am in a quandary." "I do believe that Mrs. Drake is susceptible to undue influence by her husband," McClane said. He said her love for her husband approached the ."neurotic or obsessional level" as evidenced by the burning of a bedroom light 24 hours a day until his return. Nancy Drake's mother. Mildred White of Indiana, testified that her daughter had said she would leave the light on until her husband returned, home. '' ' White said that on the way home from a visit with Thomas Drake at the jail, Nancy Drake commented, "I just wish that I could remember that white-haired man that hit me." Two of Nancy Drake's nurses testified that she told them on separate occasions, "Even if Tom did try to kill me, I still love him." One of the nurses said Nancy Drake suddenly stopped, looking stunned, and added, "But he "didn't." A third nurse, Sandra. Venable, said she accompanied Nancy Drake to the county "Jail and overheard her ask Thomas Drake, "Should I- tell them he was thin?" ; . During her testimony. Nancy Drake said she was only asking her husband' to repeat the description of her attacker that she had given him earlier. ;v- : ' ' : ' - ' . The prosecution challenged Nancy Drake's story about the stranger with the $100 bill by putting the Rev. Charles Kirby, pastor at the Nazarene church, and Jody Poston, associate pastor, on the witness stand. ; ' ' Both said that the morning of ..the beating, Kirby asked Nancy Drake how the concert ticket sales were going, and, opening her desk drawer, she told them she had collected about $600. Kirby and Poston, said there were some checks, but most of the receipts were in cash. Though neither counted the cash, they both said they believed there was plenty of money In the desk drawer to change a $100 bill. ; l ; Thomas Drake testified Monday that he never mentioned ;a white-haired man to his wife. At one point in the hearing. Judge Threadgill warned the defendant about making gestures or ; moving his head while witnesses were testifying. The judge jsaid he had observed Thomas Drake making the movements while Nancy Drake and another witness .wjere testifying. , . The prosecution contended at Drake's trial . that he tried to kill his wife because he had been seeing another woman for more than a year. T3 3SSf5T $6.9 million in 'daisy chain' damages due TALLAHASSEE (AP) Three remaining defendants in the Florida Power Corp, "daisy chain" oil price-rigging case have been ordered to pajtjSS.S million to the state, the Flqrida attorney general's office reported Monday. 8ut state officials are doubtful they will be able to recover much, if any of the default judgment and indicated that collecting it could be a lengthy process. U.S. District Judge George Carr of Tampa ordered Larcon Petro- ' leum Inc., Matrix Properties Inc., and John L. Burns, vice president of Charter International Oil Co., all of Houston, to pay $6.9 million in the judgment signed Jan. 11. "The order wraps up the daisy chain case," said Attorney General Jim Smith. Seven other defendants, including the St. Petersburg-based utility and its top official and other Texas oil companies and brokers, had settled with the state for $5.7 million in 1980 and 1981. The new judgment is the difference between that settlement and triple damages of $12.6 million based on the state's allegation that r the defendants overcharged Florida Power and its customers $4.2 mil- ' lion for 50 million gallons of fuel oil used during the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. - --' : ', - The overcharges resulted from . unnecessary and cost-inflating sales. C and resales. Carr ordered the default judgment after the three defendants failed to respond to the state's motion for a judgment against them. Of the prior settlement, $5.4 mil lion was returned to. FPC customers refunds amounted to about $3 or $4 per customer after legal fees and other costs were deducted in the summer of 1982. "Those who those not to settle did so with knowledge that they might have to bear responsibility for the unpaid balance of the amount due. the state," Smith said. : . "We intend to pursue that payment as far as we can, although it now seems clear that sufficient assets will not be available to pay the entire award." : GRAND OPENING Special Offering . . , When you purchase one of our luxury, waterfront I condominiums during our Grand Opening -TrtE " IUYER CLLB will sponsor a return trip to Florida, ' including roundtrip airfare and 7 days accommodations at the new, riverfront Holiday Inn. But hurry, this i a very limited offering! '- P.S. To our local suncoast residents: Uhere in the world will we send you? Visit THE RIVER CLLB and discover your destination! A RIVER CLUB 2"l Irii Mrrri P II. firm 11(1. Hnriilu :l:t.'ilH I'lmiH'lHi:!) nMt If sports is your thing, you. should be reading Tom McEwen In The Tribune. NEW YEAR CLEARANCE SALE I: Save 34 JJ 25" FULL SUSP. HON FILES T I ' 4 DWR LETTER REG $167 SALE $119 I 4 DWR. LEGAL I REG, S190 SALE $139 I 3 Puttv. Ssrd or Black HON FILES 2 Dwr. '30" Lateral Reg. S282 Sale $199 4 Dwr. 36" Lateral , Re6 $599 Sale $429 , ' Putty. Sand or Black Record crowds flock to TI A as fans leave Super Bowl city "No question; today is the busiest day in Tampa International's recorded history," said an airport official. By GIL KLEIN Tribune Staff Writer jActor James Garner posed for pictures while standing in line ar the United Airlines gate Monday while Jimmy the Greek shared lunch with Raiders owner Al Davis in Tampa International Airport's seafood restaurant. " jThe great and the near great, the elated and th dejected crowded through Tampa International on their way home from Sunday's Super . Bol to make Monday the airport's biggest day so fa -"No iuestion; today is the busiest day in Tampa International's recorded history,", said RiChard Allen, chief of the airport's air control tofe. "We don't have the figures yet, but today is bigger than Sunday, and Sunday was a record." with nearly double the number of air traffic coBtrollers working in the tower, the airport ban-dld"about 1,800 takeoffs and landings Sunday, including 500 commercial flights. "The flights were backed up a couple of hours lad night (Sunday) because everyone wanted to take off at the same time.'- Allen said. "We had 575 operations (takeoffs and landings) between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. alone. But today just about everything has been on schedule." While throngs of people passed through the airport Sunday, far fewer than expected stopped ; at the airport's bars and restaurants. "We got hit about 8:30, but after 10:15, the terminal was a morgue." said Jim Hanna. who is In charge of the airport's concessions. "We didn't know that a lot of people taking charter flights would be driven directly to their planes without going through the airport, and a lot of people we were told would be spending the night at the airport didn't." But much of the stockpiled food and beverages were consumed Monday as thousands of people poured through the airport. Lines formed outside all the restaurants, and the terminal had never looked so busy. Chaos was averted by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority's plan to have all the charter buses filled with passengers heading for the airport stop at a parking lot near the U.S. Post Office. There they waited until contacted by Aviation Authority officials that lines at ticket counters had receded.-' ,v '.. 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