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Published: Saturday, January 3, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 3, 2004 at 12:56 a.m.

Police arrest area man in dance hall violation

  • A Gainesville man was arrested for operating a dance hall without a permit and after hours when police said they found a line of people waiting to get into the business after 2 a.m. Thursday.

    Gainesville Police Cpl. Nick Ferrara went to La Casa International Cuisine, 10 N. Main St., at 2:20 a.m. and found a half dozen or so people waiting to enter the club, according to the arrest report.

    Ferrara went inside and saw a dance floor, though nobody was dancing.

    He also saw a man hand the owner some cash. When Ferrara asked the man what the cash was for, the man said it was the cover, the report states.

    The business falls under the city's definition of a dance hall, according to the report. The owner and manager, Kenneth Fernandez Johnson, 25, didn't have a permit to operate a dance hall. It was also being operated after hours (2 a.m.), the report states.

    Police have warned Johnson not to operate a dance hall in the past, Sgt. Keith Kameg said.

    "That's a pretty clear-cut law," Kameg said. "That they close at 2 a.m. and people have to leave."

    The business had fliers stating that women could get in free until 2:30 a.m., Kameg added.

    - Kathy Ciotola

    Man who killed teen must remain in jail

  • BRADENTON - A Bradenton youth convicted of beating his classmate to death must remain in jail during his appeal, a judge ruled Friday.

    Circuit Judge Charles Williams refused to reinstate John Acosta's bond at a Friday hearing, despite the pleas from the young man's father, The Bradenton Herald reported.

    Acosta, now 20, of Bradenton, had been out of jail on bond pending an appeal of his February conviction of manslaughter in the beating death of 16-year-old James Brier on Oct. 18, 2001.

    Then, in October, he was arrested at a University of South Florida football game and charged with possession of alcohol and marijuana.

    The conditions of his release on $100,000 bond required Acosta to stay out of jail and in Manatee and Sarasota counties. He was arrested in Hillsborough County.

    Prosecutors later dropped the misdemeanor charges, in light of Acosta's lengthy prison sentence for manslaughter.

    Acosta's attorney, Robert Barrar, argued that the dismissal of the charges was grounds for reinstating the bond.

    Jose Acosta told the judge that his son ''is losing weight and is very depressed.''

    - The Associated Press

    Appeals court again throws out conviction

  • TALLAHASSEE - An appeals court for the second time has thrown out the conviction of a man charged with being the mastermind of a fraud ring that stole nearly $500,000 from a state employees' health insurance fund.

    A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Anthony Winter, a former Unisys supervisor who had confessed his involvement in the 1997 scheme but said one of his co-conspirators, Toni Brestogianis, was the real ringleader.

    Brestogianis and former co-defendant Michael Malonoplea pleaded guilty in 1998.

    Convicted of 14 counts of grand theft, money laundering and conspiracy in 1999, Winter was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

    But he appealed and the convictions were overturned.

    In 2002, a jury found him guilty of third-degree grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft charges, but deadlocked on other counts. Winter, 39, served about four years in prison and the Leon County Jail.

    The appellate court this week decided Circuit Judge Tom Bateman had breached Winter's right to a speedy trial by taking longer than 90 days to bring him back for retrial.

    The Attorney General's Office has 15 days to ask for a rehearing before the court. If denied, lawyers there could ask the Supreme Court to review the decision.

    - The Associated Press

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