Around the Region - March 1


Published: Monday, March 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 10:58 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Police investigate deadly shooting

Lake City police are investigating the shooting death of a Lake City man, killed when an argument with his roommate resulted in gunfire Saturday night.

Jeffrey Earl Stephens, 43, was found dead at the scene of the gun play at 3713 N.W. Archer St., Apt. 102, his home address, according to the Lake City Police Department. He had been shot multiple times. Also found wounded at the location was John Coyln Mullis.

Mullis told police he and Stephens had been arguing at their home. Each man fired a weapon, and a weapon was recovered, according to initial reports from police.

Mullis, 43, appeared to have a couple of wounds, one that appeared to be a gunshot wound, said Sgt. John Blanchard. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.

No other witnesses were in the home at the time of the incident, police reported.

Based on information gathered so far, officers did not arrest Mullis, Blanchard said.

Police did not release further details about the shooting due to a pending grand jury presentation on the case.

The police department, State Attorney's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are involved in the investigation.

Police are asking that anyone with information about the shooting contact the department's tip line at 386-719-2068.

- Lise Fisher

Single-car crash sends 2 to hospital

Two men were in critical condition following a single-vehicle crash in Columbia County late Saturday, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Frederick Maclean, 58, of Lake City, and Mark Goedeke both were taken to Shands at the University of Florida following the wreck on County Road 341 at about 11:30 p.m. Goedeke's age and address were not immediately available, troopers reported.

Maclean had been driving a 1991, four-door Mercury south on the road when the vehicle veered onto the road's west shoulder, according to FHP. He over-corrected, and the vehicle traveled back across the road, hit a guardrail and stopped in a ditch.

Neither man was wearing a seat belt, troopers reported.

- Lise Fisher

STATE

Man charged with shooting teen

JAY - A 21-year-old man from Jay has been charged with murder after investigators say he shot and killed a Brewton, Ala. teen who came to a party he hosted.

A Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office news release says that Robert Franklin Floyd also faces three counts of attempted murder. It was not known if Floyd has a lawyer.

Authorities say the shooting occurred early Saturday after 18-year-old GeTyron Lopez Benjamin and three others went to a bonfire party at Floyd's house.

Floyd told investigators the Brewton group, which included two black males, had not been invited and were told to leave.

Assistant State Attorney James Parker said as the victims drove away, Floyd, who is white, ran to his truck, grabbed a rifle, and fired five shots.

Parker said two of the shots struck the vehicle and one hit Benjamin in the back.

Pastor put on probation for theft

MIAMI - A popular Miami pastor will spend five years on probation instead of serving jail time after being convicted of stealing $10,000 in county grant money.

Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko said Friday she planned to send the Rev. Gaston Smith to prison, but was swayed by the stream of religious leaders and parishioners who spoke to his character.

The money Smith stole was part of a $25,000 county grant intended to build a senior citizens' garden and help his nonprofit group, called Friends of MLK.

Ten thousand dollars of that money was never accounted for, and prosecutors argued Smith withdrew it in batches from ATMs - including $500 at a Las Vegas martini bar.

Man charged with 911 prank calls

AVON PARK - Maybe he was bored. Maybe he just likes prank phone calls.

But for some reason, a Florida man allegedly called 911 more than 200 times in a recent 3-day span.

Highlands County sheriff's deputies said Timothy Todd Lawrence spoke only to female dispatchers, and made sexually explicit remarks to one of them. He told dispatchers he did not need emergency assistance.

Lawrence allegedly made 151 calls on Feb. 13 between 2 a.m. and 10:52 a.m. alone. He continued the calls over the next few days.

Coast Guard saves 3 in shrimp boat

KEY WEST - The U.S. Coast Guard worked overnight to save three occupants of a 67-foot shrimp boat that lost power and was taking on water.

One occupant, 45-year-old Ronald Segui, was airlifted from the boat after suffering a possible heart attack. He was reported in stable condition Sunday.

The rescue began Saturday afternoon about 50 miles off Key West, when the Miss Suzanne started taking on water. The Coast Guard was able to drop new bilge pumps by aircraft to the St. Petersburg crew, and all was looking good until the boat lost power about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

From there, the Coast Guard began towing the boat to shore.

Boy, 11, killed after playing with gun

DEERFIELD BEACH - An 11-year-old South Florida boy was fatally shot after he and a brother found their father's gun.

Broward County deputies say Randy Reddick was dead Saturday when they arrived at the Deerfield Beach home.

Investigators say the two discovered the gun in a car, and Randy's 10-year-old brother accidentally shot him in the face. The brother's name was not released.

The Sheriff's Office says Broward prosecutors will review the case and determine whether to pursue criminal charges.

PETA kills plan for Woods billboard

FORT LAUDERDALE - The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has nixed a plan to use Tiger Woods' image on a billboard urging people to spay and neuter their pets.

PETA previously announced it would erect a billboard in Windermere - near Woods' home - with his picture and the words: "Too much sex can be a bad thing ... Always spay or neuter!"

The group, which is known for edgy campaigns, says it decided to put the Woods billboard on hold after talking with the golfer's attorneys.

Instead of Woods, the ad will feature South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, whose widely known dalliances have made frequent headlines.

- Compiled from The Associated Press

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