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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Elaine Silvestrini

Tribune Staff

New Hillsborough chief judge looking forward to the challenge

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— Even as he prepares to assume a new role, Ronald Ficarrotta loves bei...

Swinger blames lawyer, hit man, victim for life sentence

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— Even though he admits he helped hire a hit man to kill his then-girlfriend’s husband, Jerry Bottorff says he was stunned and overwhelmed when he was

St. Pete man gets 51 months in Middle East gun smuggling case

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— A 20-year-old St. Petersburg man is “the tip of the iceberg” of an international arms smuggling ring that hid guns in cars to ship them to the Middle East, a def...

Woman at hub of Tampa police scandal pleads guilty in food stamp case

- Rita Girven pleaded guilty last week to petty theft and food stamp fraud and was sentenced under an agreement to 18 months in state prison. She has already served most of her sentence and might be free by Christmas, accordi...

Federal prosecutors in Florida’s Middle District collect record cash

- This past fiscal year, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Middle District of Florida had its best year ever, collecting more than $367 million in civil and criminal penalties and seized assets, officials said.

Secret Service says fugitive still stealing IDs

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— Michel Lermos-Hernandez was a fugitive for more than a year, wanted on charges he led a ring of thieves who stole credit card information from more than 1,000 unwitting shoppe...

Tampa tax fraud ‘queen’ may have sentence reduced

- Rashia Wilson, who is serving 21 years in federal prison for using stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns and steal millions from federal taxpayers, is likely to have her sentence reduced after an appeals court ru...

Westchase pharmacy a victim of Florida’s pill mill war

- With its national certification, its clean rooms and emphasis on non-narcotic medications, the Westchase Compounding Pharmacy is an unlikely casualty in the state’s war on pill mills.

Buju Banton to courts: Release me, deport me to Jamaica

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— Grammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton hopes recent changes

Plant High student's injury may improve street's safety

- A friend hopes the hit-and-run that put Jackie Faircloth into a Tallahassee hospital will lead to changes that will make the street where she was injured safer.

Family thankful as Dooley begins prison sentence

- Four years after her father was shot to death in a park where he’d been shooting hoops with his 8-year-old daughter, the now-12-year-old Danielle James has something to celebrate.

Local child sex prosecutions at record rate

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— A defense contractor from Riverview is spending 30 yea...

Victim: Viewing child porn isn’t harmless

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Ashley Reynolds wants people who think viewing child pornography is harmless to think again.

Federal judge slams DEA for its actions in Tampa case

- Calling the actions of federal agents “preposterous,” a federal judge ordered the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow a pharmacy to resume sales of controlled substances.

Tampa pharmacy sues DEA after drugs were seized

- The filing says the West Coast Compounding Pharmacy and its patients are being harmed by the federal agency's actions. It says the pharmacy provides medications that are not commercially available and are specific to patien...

Dooley begins prison sentence in Valrico park shooting

- Nearly two years after he was sentenced in the fatal 2010 at a Valrico Park, Trevor Dooley has begun serving eight years in state prison.

Redington Beach man suing Apple, Samsung over GPS patent

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— With nearly three quarters of smart phone owners using their phones’ GPS capabilities to fi...

Tampa’s U.S. judges lug thick briefcases

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— Federal judges in the district that includes Tampa are among the most overworked in the nation, according to a recently re...

Prosecution: Covington a psychopathic drug-user

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— Edward Covington doesn’t have bipolar disorder, a prosecution expert said Friday; he’s a dangerous, remorseless drug user.

Mom testifies she warned that Covington was bipolar

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— Edward Covington’s mother says she warned Lisa Freiberg her son was bipolar.

Covington killed cats when wife left him, retired police officer testifies

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— Less than three years before he slaughtered his girlfriend and her two young children, Edward Covington was found despondent amidst the remains of his estranged wife’s ...

Covington describes Lutz murders in chilling taped interview

- Edward Covington laughed and cried; he bragged and explained; he talked about life and death.

Cruelty of killings could seal Covington's fate

- The suffering of Edward Covington's victims is a central issue in the determination of whether he should be sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and her two children.

Prosecutors plan to argue for death sentence for Covington

- Just after his trial began, Edward Covington pleaded guilty Oct. 24 to murdering Freiberg and her children, as well as killing the family dog, Duke, a white German shepherd.

USF researcher delves into world of domestic torture

- Thirty states, including Florida, have laws on strangulation, and the federal government also recently agreed to fund a national institute on training to prevent strangulation.

Covington changes plea, found guilty in triple-slaying

- Edward Covington changed his plea this morning, and a judge found him guilty in the grisly 2008 slayings of his former girlfriend and her two young children. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3.

Trial shocker: Covington fires lawyers, wants to plead guilty

- The Edward Covington triple murder trial screeched to a halt Thursday when the defendant fired his public defenders and said he wanted to plead guilty.