TAMPA — A Tampa police employee has been suspended for allegedly failing to reveal she had a family connection with a man wanted in the killing of two officers.
Police said Thursday that Carolyn Riggins was the aunt of fugitive Dontae Morris, and her daughter may have had contact with him during a four-day manhunt.
Riggins will be reinstated if investigators find she did nothing wrong. She had no active role in the search for Morris and worked in the division that coordinates officers for extra duty.
The 24-year-old Morris turned himself inJuly 2. Earlier last week, he allegedly gunned down two officers during a traffic stop. He’s also suspected in two other slayings, and faces an additional murder charge in a May shooting death.
Police seek gun records in serial killer hunt
DAYTONA BEACH — Daytona Beach police hunting a supposed serial killer are asking gun shops across Central Florida to provide the personal information of everyone who bought a certain type of handgun in 2004 and 2005.
Gun rights advocates are upset because state law is supposed to prohibit any government agency from compiling gun buyers’ information. Police can request and review the records, but not copy them.
It’s unclear how many of the more than 400 gun shops in the Orlando and Daytona metropolitan areas were solicited. Daytona police aren’t commenting on the request because of the active investigation.
The weapon is a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson Sigma series pistol. The gun was used to kill four women in 2004 and 2005 who police think are victims of a serial killer.
Murder charge urged in comic writer’s death
ZEPHYRHILLS — Police are accusing a Florida man of killing his roommate, a comic book author and writer for the 1980s cartoon series “Thundercats.”
James William Davis, who being held on unrelated drug charges, was recommended for first-degree murder charges by Zephyrhills police Wednesday.
Investigators began to suspect him after learning Davis bought two bottles of bleach in May, just before one of Stephen Perry’s limbs was found in a Tampa motel’s trash bin. Police believe Davis used the bleach to clean up the crime scene.
Perry wrote for numerous comics, including “Timespirits,” and also scripted the “Silverhawks” cartoon.
Man avoids prison in child pornography plea
WEST PALM BEACH — A 20-year-old in South Florida who pleaded guilty to downloading child pornography is avoiding prison in an unusual plea deal.
Michael Morris Booth was sentenced to five years probation, and must work 30 hours a month on public awareness of child pornography and computer safety.
Booth’s attorney says he never intended to view the material, but merely opened a file shared by a friend years ago out of curiosity.
As part of the sentence, the Jupiter man may speak at schools about the dangers of the Internet.
Fatal robbery suspect killed at another store
WEST PALM BEACH — The South Florida man who reportedly shot and killed two people during a West Palm Beach robbery over the weekend is the same man who was killed by a clerk during a Delray Beach robbery less than an hour later.
West Palm Beach police say 23-year-old Tyrone Roy Pinkney fatally shot 55-year-old Mohammad Rahman, a Dixie Food and Beverage store clerk, and 50-year-old Felipe Rixtun-Escobar, a customer at the store, just after 9 p.m. Saturday.
Around 10 p.m., Pinkney attempted a second robbery at the Community Food Market in Delray Beach. He reportedly shot at the clerk, who ducked behind a counter, grabbed a gun and returned fire. Pinkney left the store, but his body was found nearby outside, still holding his gun.
Police used shell casings to link the two crimes scenes.
Couple found dead in apparent murder-suicide
ORLANDO — A married couple was found dead in their central Florida home in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office reports that 52-year-old Jose Duran fatally shot his wife, 47-year-old Aida Duran, and then himself. Deputies found the bodies Monday, after their adult son asked authorities to check on his parents’ well-being.
The sheriff’s office did not say what might have prompted the killing. There was no documented history of domestic violence at the home.
The couple’s daughter says the celebrated their 30th anniversary last week.
Woman gets 12 years in child abuse case
BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County woman has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for beating her teenage nephew, forcing him to sleep on the floor and keeping him locked in a bathroom for days.
A Hernando County judge sentenced 51-year-old Tai-Ling Gigliotti on Wednesday. A jury convicted her in May of two counts of aggravated child abuse. She could have faced up to 60 years in prison.
The teen escaped from Gigliotti’s Spring Hill home in February 2009. He told authorities he had spent a good part of 15 months imprisoned in a bathroom.
Medical examiner says boaters died of CO poisoning
PONCE INLET — The Volusia County Medical Examiner has determined that a married Palatka couple found dead on a boat over the weekend died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported the bodies of 50-year-old Howard Martin Lupton and 48-year-old Sandra Lynn Lupton were discovered by their son in the sleeping cabin of their 29-foot Baja Cruiser Sunday morning.
The boat had been anchored near Disappearing Island at Ponce Inlet.
— Herald wire services