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Abused girl, 2, in critical condition in Tampa hospital

TAMPA — A 2-year-old girl remains in critical condition in a Tampa hospital after authorities say she was severely abused.

Police say the girl had a severed pancreas, broken ribs and burn and bite marks. There was also a burn mark found on her in the shape of a fork.

Police arrested 26-year-old Isidro Rosario on a child neglect charge. Also arrested was 22-year-old Carolina Pena on charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. Both remained in jail Saturday. Bail has not been set. It was not immediately known if either had an attorney.

Jail documents identify Pena as the child’s mother but do not state Rosario’s relationship.

McCollum losing ground in GOP governor’s primary

TALLAHASSEE — Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum is losing ground to newcomer Rick Scott in the Republican primary, but he still leads Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the race for governor.

The latest Mason-Dixon poll released Saturday shows McCollum, a 20-year congressman, leading Scott 38 percent to 24 percent. McCollum was leading Sink, the likely Democratic nominee, 45 percent to 36 percent — down from a 15-point lead McCollum held in late March.

Sink, who has been campaigning for nearly a year, had a 38 percent to 36 percent lead over Scott, a health care executive who has spent millions in television ads and has pledged to self-finance much of his campaign.

“This new wild card will force both of the early frontrunners to recalibrate their thinking,” said Brad Coker, director of the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which conducted the survey of Florida for the media outlets. Coker said the television ads helped Scott since none of the other gubernatorial candidates are airing ads yet.

McCollum’s campaign said the numbers were not surprising, considering the average Floridian saw Scott’s ads 40 times in the last couple weeks. “My expectation is now that Scott has spent so much money, he will receive a thorough vetting by the press, which has not at this point happened,” said Kristy Campbell, McCollum’s campaign director.

State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, was favored by 7 percent.

The poll conducted Monday through Wednesday among 625 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Rhinoceros escapes cage at Jacksonville zoo

JACKSONVILLE — Workers at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens spent about five hours trying to get a 4,000-pound rhinoceros back in his cage.

Archie was out of his overnight stall when employees showed up for work Thursday morning. He had escaped once before, years ago, and was lured back to his cage with food.

Craig Miller, the zoo’s curator of mammals, says the food didn’t work this time. About 20 zoo workers corralled Archie in the elephant compound and sedated him. Then he was led down a service road back to his own area.

The 41-year-old white rhino never left zoo property, and there was a fence keeping him from public areas.

31-year-old man killed in South Fla. boat crash

DELRAY BEACH — A South Florida man is dead after the boat he was riding in struck a navigational marker in the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach.

Authorities say Christopher Smith was thrown from the 35-foot center console boat early Saturday. The 31-year-old Boynton Beach man was pronounced dead at Delray Medical Center.

The operator of the boat and another passenger were not injured.

Investigators say none of those on board were wearing a life jacket.

Man convicted in 2009 fatal stabbing

DAYTONA BEACH — A South Daytona man has been convicted of a 2009 fatal stabbing.

A Volusia County jury found 33-year-old Dangelo Belle guilty on Friday of second-degree murder. He had faced a first-degree murder charge.

Authorities say Belle stabbed 19-year-old Chad Alexis Hankerson during a fight in March 2009. Hankerson had gotten in a fight with Belle and his brother earlier, and Belle returned with a knife and stabbed Hankerson in the neck.

Belle faces life in prison at his sentencing next month.

Man charged with killing clubgoer over cigarette

MIAMI — A homeless man has been charged with killing a downtown Miami clubgoer who wouldn’t give him a cigarette.

Miami Police report that they arrested 35-year-old Sosthene Louis on Friday and charged him with second-degree murder.

Police say 26-year-old Lisney Oliveira Jr. was walking to a night club with a friend early Monday morning when Louis approached and asked for a cigarette. The Boca Raton man said he did not have any cigarettes, and he and his friend continued walking. Police say Louis hit Oliveira in the back of the head, causing him to collapse on the sidewalk. Oliveira later died from head trauma at a Miami hospital.

The attacker was caught on nearby surveillance cameras, which eventually led police to Louis.

Man gets life for beating man, cutting out eyes

JACKSONVILLE — A Jacksonville man has been sentenced to two life terms for cutting another man’s eyeballs out during a 2008 attack and leaving him for dead.

A judge sentenced 32-year-old Foster Rayfield Leon on Friday. He was convicted in March of kidnapping and attempted second-degree murder with a weapon.

Authorities say Leon initially befriended 40-year-old Anthony Blakely, who was working in July 2008 as a disc jockey at Starlite Cafe in Jacksonville. Leon told different people that Blakely was looking at his girlfriend or refusing to play her song requests.

Blakely testified that Leon beat him unconscious once outside the bar and then again several blocks away. After waking up the second time, Blakely said his eyes were laying on his cheeks and half of his right ear had been cut off.

No charges in stabbing at Holocaust denier’s lecture

MANALAPAN — Citing insufficient evidence, the State Attorney’s Office decided not to prosecute a stabbing case that occurred outside a controversial Holocaust denier’s speech at the Ritz-Carlton in Manalapan last year, authorities said Friday.

Christopher Nachtman, 32, of Loxahatchee, is accused of stabbing John Kopko, 44, of Jupiter, after a heated argument Oct. 26, police said.

They were at a seminar by David Irving, a nationally known British author who questions the number of Jews killed in World War II, denies that Auschwitz was a death camp and defends Hitler as a hapless leader who didn’t know the extent of the mass exterminations.

— Herald wire reports

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