DOZIER BOYS SCHOOL
Judge rejects request to exhume bodies at school
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A circuit judge is rejecting a request to exhume human remains on the site of a now-defunct Panhandle reform school.
Judge William Wright, who is based in Jackson County, ruled Friday against the request made by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Bondi's office filed the petition in March. Unmarked graves are believed to be on the school site.
Wright in his ruling stated that the case did not meet the "threshold" needed to grant the order. He said the medical examiner already has authority to inspect human remains.
But Wright at the end of his order urged officials to proceed with "caution" and quoted a 1949 case that stated that the "quiet of the grave, the repose of the dead, are not lightly to be disturbed."
HILLSBOROUGH FATAL DUI
Man gets 10 years for fatal DUI crash
(Information in the following story is from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com .)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A Tampa Bay area man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaving the scene after a drunken driving crash.
A Hillsborough County judge sentenced 29-year-old Hank Tippins on Friday after he pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. He had faced up to 47 years in prison.
Authorities say Tippins was drunk when he ran a red light and hit several cars in December 2011. The crash left 64-year-old Linda Fessell dead.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that authorities tracked Tippins' white Hummer to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino after he fled the scene. Three hours after the crash, Tippins had a blood alcohol level of 0.25%. Florida law considers a driver impaired at 0.08%.
Fla. House speaker questions unique Citizens deal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford says he has serious concerns about a unique deal involving the state's largest property insurer.
Weatherford on Friday questioned an arrangement where Heritage Property Insurance and Casualty will receive $52 million to absorb 60,000 policies now held by Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
The deal was narrowly approved by the Citizens board earlier this week.
In a statement Weatherford said the deal was pushed through "hastily" and said it displays a "lack of understanding" about Citizens role.
Citizens officials have defended the deal as a way to help shrink the size of the state-created insurer.
Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, isn't the only one is who questioning the deal. Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, on Friday blasted Heritage deal as "corporate welfare."
HOMESTEAD SCHOOL SHOOTING
Student shot in leg at South Florida school
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) - A boy was shot in the leg at a South Florida middle school.
A Miami-Dade Schools Police Department spokesman says the shooting occurred Friday afternoon at Redland Middle School in Homestead. Initial reports indicate that an 11-year-old boy brought a gun to school in his backpack, and the gun accidentally discharged inside the bag.
The wounded boy was airlifted to Miami Children's Hospital in stable condition.
Police were questioning the boy accused of bringing the gun to school, but no charges were immediately filed. Neither boy was named by police.
PINELLAS FATAL RAPE
Man faces life sentence for rape, murder
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - A Tampa Bay area man will spend the rest of his life in prison for raping an elderly woman, who died a short time later.
A Pinellas County jury found 49-year-old Virgil DeBose guilty Friday of felony murder, sexual battery and burglary. A life sentence was the judge's only option.
Prosecutors say DeBose attacked 78-year-old Audrey Mulligan in her Paradise Shores condo in March 2007. The attack was so brutal that Mulligan broke her hip and pelvis. Mulligan contracted an infection at the hospital and died a month after the attack.
DeBose's defense attorney didn't deny his client was guilty of the attack but insisted the state hadn't proven that DeBose caused Mulligan's death. He said the woman was killed by a bacterial infection, not DeBose.
Gov. warns schools he will fight tuition hikes
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott is strongly warning universities that he will fight against any tuition hikes this year.
Scott made the warning in a letter sent out Friday to the heads of the boards that oversee the state's 12 public universities. He urged university boards to join him in a "worthy battle" to keep tuition rates flat.
The letter could be a prelude to a legal challenge. The governor on Monday vetoed a three percent hike included in this year's budget.
But tuition could still go up. University boards have the power to raise tuition.
A separate law states tuition goes up automatically by the rate of inflation is there is no increase in the budget. That law, however, is silent on what happens if the governor vetoes the hike.
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