The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on February 6, 1997 · 37
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 37

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, February 6, 1997
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THE TAMPA TRIBUNE Thursday, February 6, 1997 Lakeland Winter Haven Bartow Lake Wales Haines City Mulberry Frostproof Auburndale Polk City Eagle Lake The Ridge Send comments and tips through e-mail to or write co The Tampa Tribune, 230 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, Fla. 33801 k roil NEWS OF POLK BARTOW 2 charged in drug schemes Authorities have arrested two people in separate efforts to buy controlled drugs from pharmacists by calling drug stores and pretending to be doctors. Stephanie Lynn Brown, 25, of Lake Wales, and Nathan Cordell Mintle, 35 of Lakeland, were each being held in the Polk County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail. Brown was charged with attempting to obtain a controlled substance by deception or fraud. Mintle was charged with obtaining a controlled substance by deception or fraud. About 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, someone called an Eckerd Drugs in Lake Wales and asked if a prescription transfer had been made from the Wal-Mart pharmacy in Haines City, police said. A pharmacist assistant told the caller no, but said he would check into it. The Eckerd pharmacy manager called the Wal-Mart and found someone claiming to work for physician Pantrour-is Stephani had called in a prescription for Darvocet, and said the prescription should be transferred to Eckerd store in Lake Wales. The manager double-checked with Stephani and learned no one had authorized the prescription. About 4 p.m., someone called the Eckerd store to inquire about the transfer, and the assistant said the caller could pick up the prescription in 30 minutes. When Brown came to get the drugs, the assistant called Lake Wales police and Brown was arrested. Brown told police she had someone call in the prescription to Wal-Mart for her. She told police she was addicted to the drug. Mintle, posing as Dr. Z. Lamorena, telephoned a prescription for a narcotic to a Winn-Dixie pharmacy in Lakeland. The pharmacist called and found that the doctor wasn't working Tuesday and hadn't called in any prescriptions. Mintle was arrested by Lakeland police in the parking lot after he bought the drugs. He said he had become addicted to the drug after being treated for back problems. Man accused of stalking Bartow police arrested a Winter Haven man on stalking charges after his girlfriend complained that he repeatedly was breaking into her home to intimidate her. : John Douglas Harrison,' 26, was being held in the Polk County Jail without bail Wednesday. Harrison and his girlfriend broke up in early January after living together for two years. He still received mail there, but the woman had made arrangements to deliver his mail to his mother's house. Harrison, who no longer had property at the woman's home, would get inside her residence when she was gone, take his mail and move things around so she would know he had been there, a police report said. The woman told Harrison not to return to her home, but he reportedly replied, "I can come in any time I want and you can't stop me," the police report said. The woman has added new locks to the doors-and windows of her residence. Harrison told police he had returned to the woman's home three or four times after they broke up. He said his mother relayed a message from his girlfriend not to return to her home. The report said although the woman takes his mail to his mother's house, he insists there is nothing wrong with him coming inside the woman's home when she isn't home. COUNTYWIDE Water restrictions in place Water restrictions in place in Polk and throughout the 16-county Southwest Florida Water Management District include: I People at even-numbered addresses or ones that end with 'a letter between A and M may water between midnight and 10 a.m. and and after 4 p.m. Saturdays and Tuesdays. Those who live at odd-numbered addresses or ones that end with a letter between N and Z may water the same hours Sundays and Wednesdays. New lawns and landscaping may be watered any day for the first month, between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. Cars, boats or recreational vehicles can be washed on any day, at any time. Irrigation using reclaimed water or low-volume irrigation devices is not restricted. Hand watering of bushes, shrubs, flowers and vegetable gardens is not restricted. This does not include hand watering of lawns. Washing sidewalks, driveways and other surfaces is prohibited. For more information or to lodge a complaint, call the district's toll-free hot line at 1(800)848-0499. Compitafby Tribune ilarf Judge dismisses man s case SUMMARY: The state's evidence fell short in showing that a man intentionally intended to help his friend kill himself, a judge said, dismissing charges. By BILL HEERY of The Tampa Tribune BARTOW A circuit judge Wednesday acquitted a Virginia man of two counts of manslaughter one a rare charge of assisting in a suicide. Circuit Judge E. Randolph Bentley granted de fense attorney Dick Mars' motion to dismiss the charges against John Daniel Adams, 44, a truck driver. The ruling came after the state rested its case late Tuesday. Adams, who was on vacation at the time, was charged with handing a loaded .410 shotgun to a friend, Robert Bruce Cain, 36, who put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. on March 14, 1995, in the front yard of a west Lakeland home where Cain was living. Adams, who was free on bail, was charged with two counts of manslaughter, one for culpable negligence a common charge and the other for assisting "self-murder." The manslaughter by assisting suicide law, adopted in 1868, is seldom used. No one in the 10th Judicial Circuit, comprising Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties, remembers anyone ever being prosecuted under the law. Bentley said the statute requires that a defendant deliberately assist someone in killing himself. There was not sufficient time for Adams to form that intent between the time Cain told him he wanted to kill himself and the two walked to Adams' car where there was a shotgun in the trunk, the judge said. He also noted testimony that there was a cooler of beer in the trunk and that both men had been drinking. Adams had consumed two six-packs of beer and Cain had a blood-alcohol level of .27, more than three times the state standard for drunk driving. The manslaughter by culpable negligence charge requires that actions show a flagrant disregard for life. The prosecution's evidence fell short of that, Bentley said, and would not support the case going to the jury. According to testimony, Adams handed the loaded .410 shotgun to Cain and warned him it was loaded and to keep his hand off the trigger. "I think Judge Bentley made a very courageous decision," Mars said. "I also think the decision was correct." Prosecutors declined to comment on the ruling. Prosecutor Peter Sternlicht told the jury Tuesday that Cain began talking about how depressed he was over money taken from his paychecks for child support and bills from his former marriage. Adams told deputies at the scene that when Cain told him he wanted to kill himself, he told Cain, "You shouldn't just talk about it, you should do it," Sternlicht said. When a neighbor arrived at the scene and told Adams he should have helped Cain instead of giving him the gun, Adams told the neighbor that if he had wanted to kill himself, he would have given him a gun too, Sternlicht said. Mars told jurors Adams was in shock at the scene and told detectives that he "never, ever believed Bob Cain was going to kill himself." t: A ' J t ' . Ui f L. '. ' . jtf - i - '- ' , , -I i .'A ' : ' 4i I i mmrrrmrg r... .....- i - M j If V, ( '-fed? f y ' '. f If - 1 v - ri i "Vk - V If sm 3 3 '1 : , . 9T . -x ( . Swan stamp U.S. Post Office officials joined with Polk County and city of Lakeland officials Wednesday, above, to unveil the new 1997 Love postage stamp. Lakeland was selected for the second-day ceremony at the Polk Museum of Art because of its wedge of 200 swans living on Lake Morton. The swans descend from a pair given the city in 1957 by Queen Elizabeth II. Left, Gilbert Bigelow, city parks director, holds a swan being petted by, from left, Carolyn Robinson, 7; sister Leslie, 3; brother Scott, 10; and Robert Tirrell, 11. Story, NationWorld GREG FIGHTTribune photos Center work to be bid SUMMARY: Work to complete the problem-plagued Haines City Head Start center will be bid soon, nearly concluding a four-year saga. By JENNIFER ELLIS Tribune correspondent HAINES CITY Residents soon may hear the sounds of construction at the half-finished Haines City Resource Center, putting to rest nearly four years of inconvenience and frustration. Acting County Manager Jim Roden Jr. on Tuesday put out a call for bids to finish the 10,000-square-foot building. Once completed, the facility a joint project between the county, Haines City and the Polk County Opportunity Council will house a police substation and a Head Start center. A pre-bid conference between the county and interested contractors is scheduled for Feb. 26, with construction slated to start April 14. See HEAD START, Page 2 r ) If''1 ; ; Codefendant claims Fletcher pulled trigger PATRICK DENNISTribune photo Albert Leon Fletcher listens to testimony from Deputy Rich Klaysmat, who arrested and charged him with first-degree murder. The state is seeking the death penalty. SUMMARY: Cousins Albert Leon Fletcher and Douglas Porter are pointing the finger at each other in one's death penalty murder trial. By BILL HEERY of The Tampa Tribune BARTOW A convicted murderer told a jury Wednesday that his cousin and codefendant was the triggerman in the 1993 shooting death of a Lakeland man during a robbery attempt. The code-fendant's attorney quizzed Douglas Porter about whether he told a Polk County jail cellmate and a state prison cellmate that he was the gunman. "I didn't shoot nobody," said Porter, 27, of Lakeland. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty for Albert Leon Fletcher, 26, of Zephyrhills, in the April 3, 1993, killing of Nelson Medina Oliveras, 32. Oliveras was shot in the neck with a sawed-off shotgun during a robbery attempt r. -t-- J i Porter after a tire on his station wagon was shot out about 1:30 a.m. on Harden Boulevard in Lakeland. Porter was found guilty in November 1994 of first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and robbery with a firearm and was sentenced to two life sentences carrying a maximum of 50 years without eligibility for parole. The state had sought the death penalty, but a jury recommended the life sentence. Porter was convicted under the felony murder law, which allows a first-degree murder charge if a person is involved in certain felonies, including robbery, even if they did not commit the killing. An appellate court granted Porter a new trial because he was tried at the same time on the murder charge and an unrelated car theft attempt that took place an hour earlier. Porter's request for separate trials should have been granted, the appellate court said. Porter pleaded guilty in June 1996 to second-degree murder and two counts of attempted armed robbery. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison plus 30 years. Porter is to be sen-See FLETCHER, Page 2 fMM Circuit Judge E. Randolph Bentley steps down in May. No injuries in train accident. Stories-Page 2

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