Around the Region for June 2, 2012

Published: Friday, June 1, 2012 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 1, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.


Man sought in armed robbery

One man has been arrested and another is being sought in connection with an armed robbery Thursday night at a west Gainesville hotel.

A woman who was staying at the Gainesville Hotel and Conference Center at 7417 Newberry Road reported at 9:30 p.m. that two men with a gun had stolen $5 from her, Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Art Forgey said.

A deputy on an unrelated call at the nearby Park Place Car Wash reported seeing two men standing on a second-floor walkway at the hotel who matched the descriptions of the robbers.

Forgey said a deputy with a police dog detained one of the men, while the second ran off.

Arrested on charges of robbery and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute was Joseph Scott, 32, of 3524 SW 20th Terrace, Apt. 33C.

A flashlight found near Scott contained several pieces of crack cocaine broken up for sale, deputies reported. The second suspect was the one armed with the handgun, Forgey said.

— Cindy Swirko


Motion granted in biomass lawsuit

The company that will own and operate Gainesville's 100-megawatt biomass power plant has been granted its motion to intervene and fight the lawsuit seeking to nullify the city's contract to purchase power from the plant.

The firm, a limited liability corporation known as the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, stated in its motion that its investments to date implementing the contract and its ability to sell electricity to the city under an exclusive 30-year agreement would be jeopardized if the contract is declared void.

The company stated it would, in that case, also default on a $500 million financing agreement.

In April, Gainesville Citizens CARE, an organization formed in opposition of the biomass plant, filed the legal challenge. The lawsuit alleges that contract negotiations between Gainesville Regional Utilities staff and American Renewables, the partnership behind GREC, violated the Sunshine Law.

The City Attorney's Office has responded that the negotiations between a team of utility staff and the company's representatives were not subject to the Sunshine Law.

— Christopher Curry

Mortar training at Camp Blanding

It's about to get loud at Camp Blanding near Starke.

The Florida National Guard announced Friday that explosions are planned at the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center from June 6-10. The 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment will fire 60mm, 81mm and 120mm mortars as part of their annual training.

The blasts will be heard between 7:30 a.m. and midnight daily.

Residents near the training center can discuss noise concerns with Camp Blanding's Range Control Office at 904-682-3121 or the Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office at 904-823-0166.

— Staff report


Infant found dead in trunk of car

CORAL SPRINGS — A 1-month-old baby was found dead Friday in the trunk of a car, and his father has been taken into custody.

Coral Springs police Lt. Joe McHugh said officers found Josiah Saintil dead, hours after an Amber Alert had been issued. His father, 24-year-old Janus Saintil, was being held. Charges were not immediately filed, and no further information has been released.

State officials said in the alert that Janus Saintil was considered armed and dangerous. The boy had been reported missing in Port St. Lucie, which is about 85 miles north of Coral Springs.

Court records in Broward County show Santil has been arrested numerous times over the past six years, including charges of armed robbery and trespassing.

— The Associated Press

Man pleads guilty to fatal DUI crash

ORLANDO — A Central Florida man has pleaded guilty in a drunken driving crash that left a little girl dead.

John Molnar pleaded guilty Friday to several counts, including DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury and cocaine possession. He faces up to 15 years in prison at his Aug. 1 sentencing.

Authorities say the 39-year-old man had a blood-alcohol level of 0.133 percent in August 2009 when he crashed his vehicle into a family's rented car. Three days after the crash, 3-year-old Isabella Zepka was taken off life support and died. Her older brother Alexander's skull was fractured, but he survived.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Durham, N.C., family, had been returning from SeaWorld when the crash occurred.

— The Associated Press

Missing driver's body found in Keys

ISLAMORADA — Authorities say the body of missing diver has been recovered in the Florida Keys.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office reports that the body of 62-year-old Raymond Lent, of Oswego, Ill., was found shortly after noon Friday. He disappeared Thursday morning. The body was taken to the Coast Guard base in Islamorada. An autopsy will determine the cause of death.

— The Associated Press

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