FLORIDA STATE-WINSTON INVESTIGATION
No charges in Jameis Winston sex assault case
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A prosecutor says Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will not be charged in a sexual assault case.
State Attorney Willie Meggs made the announcement Thursday. The 19-year-old Heisman Trophy candidate was accused of raping a female student in December last year, but Meggs says there is not enough evidence for anyone to be charged in the case.
The Tallahassee Police Department turned the case over to Meggs on Nov. 12 after several media inquiries. Meggs interviewed the accuser Nov. 21.
The prosecutor says Winston's DNA matched a sample found in the woman's underwear. But Winston's lawyer, Tim Jansen, has said that was expected and doesn't prove guilt.
The top-ranked and undefeated Seminoles are playing Duke on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. A win would likely put them in the BCS championship game.
Medical marijuana question before Supreme Court
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Attorney General Pam Bondi's office is arguing that a proposed constitutional amendment allowing marijuana for medical reasons would go beyond what voters would be led to believe.
That's the case a lawyer for Bondi made before the Supreme Court on Thursday in an effort to keep the proposal off the 2014 ballot.
Allen Winsor told the court the ballot summary says medical marijuana would be used for debilitating diseases, but the full language of the amendment allows it to be used for debilitating conditions.
A lawyer for proponents argued that voters aren't being misled. The title of the proposed ballot item states that it is for the use under certain medical conditions.
The court will rule on whether the ballot language itself, not on the merits of the issue.
Officials: Up to 20 whales moved to deeper water
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) - Wildlife officials say as many as 20 pilot whales in danger of stranding in Everglades National Park are swimming into deeper water.
Blair Mase of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the two pods of whales swimming several miles north of their previous location. The whales were in about 12 feet of water.
Mase tells reporters that wildlife workers plan to try using noise such as banging on pipes and revving boat engines to herd the whales out to the open ocean Thursday.
At least 10 whales have died since the mass stranding was discovered Tuesday. There were 41 alive at dusk Wednesday.
PUERTO RICO-PLANE CRASH
Puerto Rico plane crash raises safety concerns
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The brother of a U.S. co-pilot who died this week in a small plane crash near Puerto Rico's north coast says he had previously expressed concerns about maintenance and other safety issues.
Greg Gullberg said in a phone interview Thursday that 28-year-old Steve Gullberg of St. Louis, Missouri became worried about the safety of planes that IBC Airways was using shortly after he joined the company some three months ago.
Officials with the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida company did not return messages for comment.
The plane's pilot also died. Family members identified him as 35-year-old Jason McLaughlin of Weston, Florida.
The plane had departed the Dominican Republic late Monday when it crashed in the coastal town of Arecibo.
No details have been released about the ongoing investigation.
Fla. man charged in boy death eyed in 2nd killing
MIAMI (AP) - A Florida man charged with killing a 10-year-old boy during a South Florida nail salon robbery now stands accused in a second unrelated slaying.
North Miami police said Thursday that 19-year-old Anthawn Ragan and others still at large fatally shot a man outside a Miami motel on Nov. 1. Ragan is charged with first-degree murder and possession of a weapon by a violent career criminal.
Ragan is already jailed awaiting arraignment on murder, assault and robbery charges in the Nov. 22 shooting death of fifth-grader Aaron Vu during the nail salon robbery. The boy's father, Hai Vu, owns the salon and was wounded in the shooting. Police are still searching for an accomplice in that case.
Ragan's court-appointed attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Bear suspected in attack is euthanized
LONGWOOD, Fla. (AP) - A bear that matched the description of one that injured a Florida woman who was walking her dogs has been captured and euthanized.
Florida wildlife officials say the 200-pound bear was captured Wednesday night in the same Longwood neighborhood in suburban Orlando where the 54-year-old woman was hurt.
Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission decided on euthanasia because the bear was captured within 48 hours of the attack in the same location.
After Susan Chalfant was injured Monday evening, wildlife officers set up traps in the neighborhood where the attack took place.
One of the traps captured a yearling bear that didn't fit the description of the bear in the attack. That yearling is now being housed at a rehabilitation center in Crystal River.
JetBlue Airways opens flight route to Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A major international airline carrier is introducing flights to Haiti.
JetBlue Airways spokesman Mike Miller says the flights will leave twice a day from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and land in the Caribbean nation's capital, Port-au-Prince. One flight will depart each day from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Miller says that the carrier plans to bring lower fares to the market.
Many in impoverished Haiti have complained for years that flights from Port-au-Prince to the United States are too expensive. Part of the fees stem from taxes that are collected by the Haitian government.
A JetBlue executive and Haitian officials kicked off the first flights by flying to Port-au-Prince Thursday.
Man shoots caretaker in Bradenton
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Deputies say a man who was apparently spooked by noises in his house shot one of his caretakers.
Manatee County Sheriff's officials say 48-year-old Charles Fletcher had just gone to sleep Wednesday night when the noise awakened him. When he saw someone enter his bedroom, he grabbed a gun he keeps next to his bed and fired.
The shot hit Erik Kirby, who is one of several caretakers who look in on Fletcher. Deputies say Fletcher has a medical condition.
Kirby was taken to a hospital in stable condition.
Authorities are investigating.
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