floridaduh

The Bizarre World of Florida

Jury decides you cannot stand your ground against an unarmed teenager who was playing his music too loud for your tastes October 2, 2014

A Florida jury found a white software engineer guilty of first degree murder Wednesday in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager during a dispute over loud rap music.

ap285158298726Michael Dunn, 47, a software engineer, testified that he was defending himself when he fired 10 rounds at an SUV carrying four black teens listening to music at a Jacksonville gas station parking lot in November 2012, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

In a February trial, a jury deadlocked on the murder charge but convicted Dunn on three counts of attempted murder for firing at the three surviving teens in the vehicle.

Under Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for crimes committed with a gun, Dunn could face at least 60 years in jail for his February convictions. Sentencing for those convictions was postponed until after his retrial.

Dunn testified on Tuesday he was sure he saw a gun as a teenager appeared to emerge from the SUV making verbal threats against his life. Davis was unarmed, prosecutors said, and no weapon was found in the youths’ vehicle.

During the weeklong retrial, prosecutors argued that Dunn’s actions went far beyond self-defense.

Davis was struck by three bullets while leaning away from the gunfire, an expert testified during the trial. Dunn faced intense questioning as to why he did not call 911, which he blamed on fear and shock.

The trial has drawn comparisons to the case of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in Florida last year in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed, black 17-year-old. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, had said he fired in self-defense.

 

DUI suspect allowed son to ride in bed of pickup, troopers say September 30, 2014

A woman who Highway Patrol troopers said exhibited reckless driving that caused her 8-year-old son to be injured in the bed of the pickup she was driving was arrested.

sfl-flduh-dui-bed-pickup-20140926-001Troopers said 37-year-old Wendy Lynn Cauchi was charged Thursday with being impaired and refusing to take a breath test.

When Trooper James D. Whitmore arrived in the 7000 block of Southwest 80th Street, Ocala, a Marion County sheriff’s deputy told him that witnesses said Cauchi had been drinking all day.

The witnesses told troopers the boy was in the bed of a 2006 Toyota 4Runner and was injured because his mother was driving around the yard unsafely.

Troopers said the vehicle crashed into a fence. After impact, the boy was flung forward and his forehead struck the bottom floor of the truck bed. He was taken to Munroe Regional Medical Center for treatment. He is expected to recover from his injuries.

The Department of Children and Families was notified and agency representatives went to the hospital.

Whitmore said he went to Cauchi and detected a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. He described her speech as slurred and thick-tongued. Cauchi declined to talk to the trooper, telling him that she wanted her lawyer. Her lip was bruised from hitting the steering wheel. She was not wearing a seat belt, authorities said.

The trooper arrested Cauchi, who complained to officials, wondering how she could be taken into custody for driving on her own property. She told authorities she was just looking for her horse.

The trooper said Cauchi had troubled standing and walking to his cruiser.

Cauchi was charged with DUI, DUI with property damage, DUI with serious bodily injury to another and refusal to submit to a DUI test after her license was suspended or revoked.

She was taken to the Marion County Jail, where she refused to submit to a breath test. The trooper said it was Cauchi’s second DUI test refusal.

She again told the trooper that she wanted her attorney.

 

Couple’s water bill is $3,386 for just 18 days

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Controversy,Unusual,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:30 pm

A Pasco County couple received an eye-popping water bill of $3,385.99. That was for just 18 days.

4904394_GPasco County Utilities insists that 614,000 gallons of water went through the pipes at Eugene Foy’s New Port Richey home. That’s enough water to fill up Foy’s swimming pool more than 60 times.

Foy says there’s no way the bill is accurate. He and wife, Louise Gritmon, had not even moved into their new home yet when the water usage allegedly occurred.

“This is not a very warm welcome from Pasco County,” said Foy, who just moved here from New York.

The couple paid another $190 to have the county test their meter, and the county says it’s working fine. Doug Tobin, spokesman for the county, says the meter is correct and the water went through the pipes.

He says perhaps there was an open faucet. The county is sticking to the bill and offered the couple a payment plan.

Tobin says the county’s professionals say 23 gallons of water a minute could pass through an open faucet.

“Once the water passes through the meter, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility.”

That doesn’t sit well to Gritmon.

“Every hour on the hour for 19 days around the clock, this water was coming out, and it wasn’t at a steady pace,” she said.

 

Granny sentenced for coaxing granddaughter to steal donation jar

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Disgusting,Dumb,Fraud,Really Dumb,Robbers,Sad Story,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:25 pm

sfl-flduh-granny-donation-jar-20140929-001The woman who used her granddaughter to steal a donation jar from a store will spend some time behind bars. A judge sentenced Rhonda Allen to 18 months in prison Monday.

Surveillance video from a store in Plant City showed Allen coaxing her granddaughter to steal the jar right off the counter.

Those donations were meant for a 15-year-old girl who was battling lupus.

Allen was emotional during her sentencing. She told the judge she had relapsed and started doing drugs again.

She said she regrets everyday what she put her granddaughter through.

“How could I have done this to my granddaughter? I’m sorry, I’m upset, but its killing me. My grandbabies are my life and I don’t really care what’s gonna happen,” she told the judge. “It’s already done and I’m very sorry and I’ve talked to the victim and I’ve told her how very sorry I am.”

Allen had a history of prostitution and theft, which factored into her sentencing.

 

Guess swimming is not the best way to sober up September 26, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Amazing,Bizzarre,Drunk,DUI,Dumb,Florida Nut,Funny,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:34 pm

Swimming away from a traffic crash may not be the most effective means of escape, but a 24-year-old man appears to have given it a try in Sebastian.

sfl-flduh-swim-avoid-charge-20140925-001The truck ran a stop sign at Indian River Drive, crashing into a guardrail just west of the Indian River.Witnesses told Sebastian police about 1:40 a.m. Sept. 11 that a man identified as Donald Hull was driving a Ford truck east on County Road 512, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.

Hull began to flee on foot and ran into the Indian River, an extremely large body of water. He took off his shirt and swam toward a dock in the 800 block of Indian River Drive.

It’s unclear whether he used the crawl, butterfly or another stroke during the apparent aqueous getaway.

Two witnesses watched Hull as he swam while the third went to the dock.

“The third witness then stood by and observed the defendant swimming around the dock area until law enforcement arrived,” an affidavit states.

Police helped fish Hull out of the water.

Hull, who smelled of booze, first said he’d had a few drinks and was driving on an “unknown road.” He said he had no license, then reported he wasn’t driving and didn’t know how he got there.

Hull declined to participate in field sobriety exercises and declined to take a breath test.

Hull, of the 8800 block of Central Avenue in Micco, was arrested on charges including DUI, driving while license suspended with knowledge and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.

 

Mom hid baby in car’s trunk to avoid ticket for not having car seat September 25, 2014

Custody of a 5-month-old boy found in the trunk of a car near Lauderhill may be given to the baby’s father or great-grandmother pending the outcome of a home study, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

sfl-flduh-hid-baby-trunk-ticket-20140924-001Broward juvenile dependency Judge Hope Tieman-Bristol made the ruling Wednesday morning. The baby’s mother, Breona Synclair Watkins, 19, attended the hearing in handcuffs.

Watkins was arrested early Tuesday and charged with child abuse, resisting an officer and five traffic-related offenses, including driving without a license and failure to have a child restraint, jail records show.

She is accused of having a 14-year-old boy put the baby in the trunk through an opening in the back seat of the 2005 Dodge Stratus that Watkins was driving. She later told deputies that she did it to avoid getting a ticket for failing to have a child safety seat in the car, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Her grandmother, Laura Richardson, also attended the hearing and told reporters outside the courtroom Wednesday that the episode was a big mistake.

“She got frightened and she did what any child would do because she’s still a child,” Richardson said. “She’s a good mother but she’s still young and she just made a mistake. We all have made mistakes, I’m sure.”

About 1 a.m. Tuesday, a deputy followed Watkins after noticing a headlight was out. The deputy stopped her after about a quarter-mile near the 3100 block of West Sunrise Boulevard, according to the arrest report.

About 15 minutes into the traffic stop, a second deputy heard the baby crying in the trunk, the report stated.

Deputies found the baby lying among plastic bags, garden shears and a large, rusted tire iron. Also surrounding the baby were a used gas can and other hazardous materials. The temperature inside the trunk was significantly warmer than the air outside, deputies said.

The child has been in state foster care since then and was said to be doing well. A guardian ad litem has been appointed to represent the baby’s legal interests while relatives are interviewed for placement, DCF spokeswoman Paige Patterson-Hughes said.

“The court wants that home study completed and if that’s positive then it has to be presented to the guardian ad litem,” she said. “The next step is to have the child moved from foster care to relative care.”

The process typically takes several days.

“They try to get these done pretty quickly,” she said. “There will be supervised visitations permitted.”

The next dependency hearing was scheduled for Oct. 20.

Watkins remained in the Broward Main Jail on Wednesday on a $7,000 bond, jail records showed.

 

A man named Able sure did raise a lot of Cain during a traffic stop

A 34-year-old Crestview man is accused of threatening to kill a deputy’s family after being arrested for allegedly driving without a valid license.

sfl-flduh-threatened-deputys-family-officers-s-001Larry Joe Able was pulled over on Sept. 12 by Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies for a broken headlight, according to the arrest report. When the deputy asked him for his license, registration and insurance, Able said he didn’t have his license with him.

When the deputy asked if he had a driver’s license, Able replied, “No,” the report said. A check found that Able had three previous convictions for driving while his license was suspended, as well as a current suspension.

Able was arrested, and on the way to jail, because spitting through the cage, according to the report. He “intentionally spit through the cage,” hitting the deputy in the side of the neck twice.

He also began threatening the deputy, telling him, “When I get out of jail, I am going to kill you and your kids,” the report said. He also threatened to make the deputy “pay.”

Able is charged with driving with a suspended license, battery on a law enforcement officer or firefighter and corruption by threat against a public servant.

 

 
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