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Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Elaine Silvestrini

Tribune Staff

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.

Jurors hear disturbing details about Lutz slayings

- Defense lawyer Michael Peacock argued that the brutality of the killings and what Edward Covington did to the bodies of his girlfriend and her children afterward proves he was insane at the time.

Hillsborough County judicial candidates tout experience


— Because they’re not allowed to talk about much of substance, including how they’d rule on cases, candidates for judgeships generally have to try to distinguish t...

Scott, Crist both tough on crime, but different


As the state’s chief executive, the governor of Florida wields significant power over the court system and has great influence on how the state keeps the public safe.

Supreme Court decision in Tampa case could alter judicial campaigns


A case that started with a letter written by a candidate for judge in Tampa may change how judges seek office nationwide.

Lawsuit: Store shouldn’t have sold gun later used to kill 2


A gun shop accused of selling the weapon used by a mentally ill man to kill his mother and her boyfriend two years ago has been sued by a national gun control group that says the shop is liable for the deaths.

Court rules Debra Lafave can end probation early

- It may not be as early as she hoped, but notorious former teacher Debra Lafave may soon end her probation for having sex with a 14-year-old student.

Jury selection begins in Covington triple murder trial

- Jury selection began for the trial of Edward Allen Covington, charged with murdering his girlfriend and her two young children and then mutilating their bodies.

Trial to begin in 2008 triple slaying

- On Tuesday, lawyers will begin picking a jury to decide the fate of Edward Allen Covington, 43, who is charged with three counts each of murder and abuse of a dead body.

Hakken rants in court, then sentenced in sons' kidnapping

- Diagnosed as paranoid and delusional, Joshua Hakken and his wife Sharyn were sentenced to prison and probation for kidnapping their two young sons and taking them on a sailboat to Cuba.

FBI probed threats against Glazers after soccer buy

- More than 120 pages of newly released records detail calls and emails threatening Malcolm Glazer and his family after the Bucs’ owner purchased Manchester United.

Pasco teacher agrees to plea guilty to online enticement of children


— Trying to persuade a 13-year-old girl in Belize to have sex with him, Pasco County middle school teacher David Wendel Thompson used a tactic officials say is common among adul...

Eyes on Florida gay marriage ban after court decision

- Attorney General Pam Bondi says she is reviewing cases after the Supreme Court on Monday turned away several appeals, clearing the way for same-sex unions in 11 more states.

How reliable are eyewitness accounts? It’s complicated


— The thought of putting an innocent person in jail is horrific, says Tampa Police

Taxpayers will fund Cortnee Brantley's mental health treatment

- Cortnee Brantley is appealing her conviction of misprision of a felony. She was the driver of a car involved in a motor vehicle stop that ended when passenger Dontae Morris shot to death two Tampa police officers.

Hakkens accept plea deals in kidnapping of sons

- Joshua and Sharyn Hakkens admitted to snatching their young children from the home of her parents in April 2013 after losing custody, then sailed with the boys to Cuba.

Plan to prevent tax fraud could delay refunds

- The voices calling for a fundamental shift in the way federal tax refunds are processed grew louder Monday as the Government Accountability Office released a report saying changes are needed to end the stolen identity refun...

Feds: Translator shortage an issue in Florida courts

- In many Florida courtrooms, people with limited or no ability to understand English are on their own. The U.S. Justice Department says that’s not fair.

Largo business owner still not happy with birth control rules under Obamacare


— Although the federal government has officially dropped its appeal of a ruling exempting his company from having to provide employees certain types of birth control, Thomas Bec...

Bondi fights to prevent lesbians’ divorce

- Attorney General Pam Bondi may be fighting to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in Florida, but she is also taking a legal position that has the effect of forcing gay couples who married elsewhere to stay married, lawy...

Court may unmask Hillsborough drug informant known as 'Mr. X'

- For more than two years, a prosecutor has fought to keep the man's identity a secret. Judges have repeatedly sided with defense lawyers, who describe him not as a confidential informant but a cooperating defendant.

Trial date set for former Tampa cop accused of food stamp fraud


— A former Tampa police sergeant and another woman are scheduled to go on trial for food stamp fraud in December.

Voting purge protester sentenced for letters to Republicans


When James Webb Baker Jr. read about Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to purge voter registration roles of ineligible voters, he got mad.

No prison for Seattle man who intimidated GOP donors in Florida


— When James Webb Baker Jr. read about Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to purge voter registration roles of ineligible voters, he got mad.

Menendez helped Hillsborough Courts rise from chaos, scandal

- When Manuel Menendez Jr. took the helm of Hillsborough Courts as chief judge, he inherited a system in chaos.

Lesbian couple from Tampa will have to wait for ruling on divorce


A lesbian couple from Tampa will have to wait for the Florida Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban before the women’s divorce case can be settled.

Crackdown helps Florida heal from pill mill epidemic

- The “patients” used to pour into Florida from across the country as doctors passed out Oxycodone like candy, making it the unofficial pill mill capital of the U.S.

Florida Supreme Court asked to rule on gay marriage


— The case of a same-sex Tampa couple wanting to dissolve their Massachusetts marriage was sent to the Florida Supreme Court Wednesday by a state appellate court that took the u...