Law & Order
Police: Man goes on cocaine, Loko binge
A CVS store employee was hospitalized early Monday after police say he was stabbed several times by a man under the influence of cocaine, synthetic drugs and Four Loko beverages.
Largo police say the employee was working near the front door of the CVS pharmacy at 4000 East Bay Drive just after midnight when Lorenzo Guerrero, 23, wearing a mask, entered the store and stabbed the employee.
Guerrero ran from the store, but police say they found his abandoned car in the CVS parking lot and took him into custody a short time later.
The employee was transported to Bayfront Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, police say.
Guerrero was charged with attempted murder and booked into Pinellas County Jail, police say.
Police say Guerrero also is suspected of an attempted burglary at the Fairway Discount Convenience Mart, 1090 Belcher Road, which took place just before the CVS incident.
Car-train accident kills 2 in Polk County
Two people in an SUV were struck by a CSX train late Sunday and killed in a fiery crash in Polk County, troopers said.
The train's horn was blaring, and lighted railroad gates were activated at 11:40 p.m. when the 1998 Nissan Pathfinder crossed the tracks on Ewell Road, west of State Road 37, troopers said.
Both occupants of the Nissan were killed. They were not identified pending notification of family.
There were no reported injuries on the train, which had 75 cars and two engines.
The Nissan was traveling west on Ewell Road in the inside lane when the driver failed to stop for the approaching train, investigators said. At impact, the Nissan was propelled to the northwest off the tracks, then struck a railroad control junction box and caught fire.
The occupants were trapped in the vehicle and died.
Anyone who witnessed the crash was asked to call Corp. Jeffrey Komorowski with the Florida Highway Patrol at (863) 413-3510.
Man sentenced in child-sex attempt
A St. Petersburg man on Monday was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for using his computer to arrange for sex with a 4-year-old girl.
Raymond Roland Collette, 40, pleaded guilty in November.
According to court documents, Collette posted an ad on Craigslist between March and July seeking a person who would allow him to engage in acts related to a sexual fetish involving shoes.
Court documents show Collette began communicating online with a person identified as "KK," who said he had a girlfriend with a 4-year-old daughter.
Collette then directed his attention to the child and began discussing his desires to obtain custody of her and engage in sex acts, court documents show.
Once Collette turned the chat toward sex with the child, "KK" alerted law enforcement, court documents show. Collette then unknowingly continued his conversations with an undercover detective.
During the online conversations, court documents show Collette suggested that he and "KK" swap children for sexual purposes. Collette also chatted about how he would enjoy watching the children engage in sex acts with each other.
Baseball fan robs St. Pete bank
St. Petersburg police are investigating a bank robbery Monday afternoon at the SunTrust branch at 3601 34th St.
The robbery happened about 1:15 p.m., according to police. A man wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat and wearing a black shirt walked into the bank and handed a teller a note demanding cash, police reported.
The man may have gotten into a vehicle after leaving the bank.
Court affirms new water rules
A state appellate court his rejected a challenge from environmental groups to Florida's new water-pollution rules.
A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal affirmed the rules Monday without comment.
The Florida Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club and three other groups argued the rules are scientifically unsound and too weak to prevent algae blooms from choking state waters.
They favor stricter rules developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA has tentatively approved the state's rules for use in some Florida waters and the federal rules for others. The agency expects to finalize its decision by Aug. 31.
Agriculture and business interests as well as utilities contend the federal rules are too expensive to implement. They support the state rules.
Ex-Senate president gets another appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court is giving former Florida Senate President W.D. Childers another chance to clear his name.
The high court on Monday reversed an appeals court ruling that affirmed Childers' bribery conviction and returned the case for further consideration.
Childers' conviction stemmed from his position as an Escambia County commissioner after the Pensacola Republican left the Senate.
Childers has completed a 31/2-year prison term. Besides clearing his name, a reversal of his conviction would restore a $2,500 monthly pension.
His lawyer, Nathan Dershowitz, said the decision gives Childers another opportunity to challenge his conviction but does not guarantee a reversal.
At issue is whether state courts considered if Childers was denied his constitutional right to cross-examine a key witness when they upheld his conviction.
Expert: Salvadoran didn't probe abuses
The government's key witness in a deportation proceeding against a former Central American general testified Monday that Jose Guillermo Garcia failed to investigate or discipline soldiers accused of atrocious human rights abuses during El Salvador's brutal civil war.
Garcia told the U.S. ambassador in El Salvador there had not been a massacre in El Mozote in 1981, said Terry Karl, a political scientist at Stanford University. The diplomat initially believed him but later wrote in a document that Garcia called the killings "a novela."
"When he called this a novela or fabrication, could it be his intelligence told him this had not occurred, or not occurred by the military?" Garcia's attorney, Alina Cruz, asked during an extensive cross-examination of Karl.
"Whatever General Garcia believed at the time, he had the capacity since he commandeered a helicopter to see if there was any truth of that," Karl said. "I know it was in his capacity to find out if there had been a massacre or not."
The massacre in El Mozote left about 1,000 people dead. In all, 75,000 people died and thousands more were left missing during the civil war between 1979 and 1992. Karl said she expects the final number of deaths to climb as high as 100,000.
In 2002, a West Palm Beach jury returned a $54.6 million judgment against Garcia and a former defense minister after the Center for Justice and Accountability, a human rights organization based in San Francisco, sued them both for human rights abuses on behalf of three torture victims.
The United States is seeking to deport Garcia under a 2004 law aimed at stopping human rights abusers from taking refuge in the United States.
Former Allman Brothers guitarist dies
Former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dan Toler has died following a two-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 65.
Steve Fayette, a family friend, confirmed on Monday that Toler passed away in his sleep.
Toler, who is originally from Indiana, joined the Allman Brothers in 1979. In 1982, he joined The Gregg Allman band along with his brother, David "Frankie" Toler.
The Tolers played on the Allman Brothers' 1979 comeback album "Enlightened Rogues."
The Tolers also played on "Reach the Sky" and "Brothers of the Road." The Tolers spent the rest of the 1980s touring and recording the gold album "I'm No Angel" with the Gregg Allman Band.
From staff and wire reports