The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on November 1, 2000 · 17
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 17

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Wednesday, November 1, 2000
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tlp:tainpatriivcofa THE TAMP TRIBUNE ECKESDT, KQYEMBER 1, 2000 FtOSIBAMCTBO 3 Truckers hair a factor in murder trial TAMPA - A witness called by prosecutors is grilled by the defendant's attorney on her description of the man she saw In 1989. Bv OARY SPROTT of Tht Tampa Tribuna 1 For all the talk of genetic fingerprints and statistical probabilities, a more mundane matter may yet determine whether Franklin Smith is convicted of murder. Smith's hair or, more specifically, the lack of it on his head took center stage Tuesday as he again stood trial for the 1989 slaying of a convenience store clerk. Smith, a Ruskin trucker with convictions for aggravated assault and battery, was arrested last year in the beating death of Eileen Mangold. 50. A Hillsborough County sheriffs forensic expert routinely checking cold cases last summer used a new database to check a partial fingerprint found on the hood of Mangold's car. Smith was listed as a possible match and agreed to provide a blood sample. Prosecutors say Smith's DNA matched the DNA of semen found on Mangold's blouse a match that statistically excluded every other human. Smith's first trial in May ended in a mistrial after jurors couldn't break a 6-6 deadlock on his guilt "Eleven years after this crime, while memo- Ties might blur, the physical evidence doesnt change," Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner told a jury Tuesday as testimony began in the retrial. "If s not that simple," Assistant Public Defender j LyannGoudie told jurors. "You're looking at an inno cent man wno s Deen falsely accused." Two teenagers a sister and brother witnessed Mangold's abduction from the Kangaroo Fuel Stop on U.S. 301 in Riverview the night of Sept 19, 1989. Pay close attention to what they say, Goudie told jurors. The panel didn't have long to wait the sister and brother were the state's first witnesses. - What one of them said, however, stunned Goudie and others familiar with the first trial Immediately following the abduction, the teens described the suspect as having a scruffy beard and shoulder-length hair. Smith is almost totally bald and, according to Goudie, has been since before 1989. At the Franklin Smith's baldness was a major Issue In testimony at his murder trial Tuesday. first trial and again Tuesday, Goudie showed jurors oversized copies of a sketch of the suspect and a 1991 photo of Smith. It was difficult to see any similarity. Neither witness has identified Smith as the man they saw. Susan Nowell told Pruner on Tuesday that the man she and her younger brother saw with Mangold had long hair, but also was balding toward the top of his head. "WowT Goudie, seated beside Smith at the defense table, could be heard to exclaim from across the courtroom. On crossxamination, Goudie immediately went after Nowell's recall of events. At one point, Nowefl burst into tears, saying she "honestly couldnt remember." "Do you ever remember ever telling anybody before today that this person was balding?" Goudie asked, "Yes, I do," said NowelL now composed. "You do," Goudie said. "And who might that ber "I believe I might have told a detective j that he was slightly balding," Nowell explained. Goudie showed Nowell a transcript of her statement to the detective. It gave no indication Nowell had described the man as balding. The trial resumes today. Air samplers adapted to nonnuclear mission An Associated Press report Equipment installed in Florida to screen the air for particles emanating from two planned nuclear reactors in Cuba could instead be the key to unraveling the mystery of red tide. : The air samplers were put into service by the U.S. Department of Defense, which first funded the project three years ago. Funds for the Caribbean Radiation Early Warning System ran out in September, and now one college is using the technology to investigate the origin of the microscopic algae that causes red tide. "It could be an early-warning system for biological events in the ocean," Peter Betzer, acting dean of the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida, said Tuesday. CREWS was intended to pick up traces of Iodine-131 in the air and alert U.S. officials in the event of a large radioactive release from nuclear reactors near Juragua, about 80 miles south of Havana. The reactors remain partially built By last year, air samplers were installed at Florida Keys Community College; at USF in Tampa; at Louisiana University's Marine Consortium in Cocodrie, La.; and at the University of Texas' marine laboratory near Corpus Christi. But financial problems in Cuba and the Soviet Union halted construction of the reactors. President Fidel Castro has said the project is on hold indefinitely. Now the monitors have been left in the hands of the researchers and students at the colleges. Betzer said USF is using the monitoring equipment to study outbreaks of red tide and its possible link to vast clouds of dust from North Africa. A long drought in the Sahel grasslands near the Sahara in Northern Africa has caused huge and more frequent dust storms in recent years. Betzer said the monitoring systems that sample the air separate the particles from the air and can detect when one of these big dust storms comes over from Africa. B 'ami Mil umm u LrlK.a Ha aiiSimmbns 139 UNilS'JPt li.i.M.:..- ..'i:t. - - . .v .J MmmW '.In mm - r?Jir,--yt i;t.i;, it' T ImmK - r Did you know that High Blood Pressure increases your chance of getting heart or kidney disease," or of having a stroke! Men and women 18 years of age nd older who have h gh blood pressure, or think they might have high blood pressure, are being recruited to participate in a medical research study. 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