PORT RICHEY — A Tampa Bay-area teen has pleaded no contest to raping an 89-year-old woman at her Pasco County home.
Court records show 16-year-old Carlos Fernandez pleaded no contest Friday to two counts of sexual battery, one count of home invasion robbery and six counts of burglary. He had previously rejected a plea deal for 30 years in prison.
He could face up to life at his sentencing later this year.
Authorities say Fernandez, 16-year-old Luis Reyes Jr. and 21-year-old Johnathan Rodriguez broke into the woman’s home in April 2009, assaulted the woman in bed and ransacked her home. The woman, who was severely bruised in the attack, told authorities someone held a pillow over her face.
Reyes pleaded no contest to the same charges in July, and the case against Rodriguez is still pending.
Animal Services probes shooting deaths of 2 dogs
OCALA — Animal Services officials in north Florida are investigating the shooting deaths of two Great Danes.
According to authorities, the man accused of killing the dogs says he was in his garage working on his car when the two Great Danes charged at him aggressively. The second time this happened, he went into the home and retrieved his handgun and his cell phone to call law enforcement.
Before authorities arrived, the man allegedly shot the dogs. Apparently, his neighbor told him the dogs had attacked him too.
Deputies were told by an official at the county Animal Services office that the animals were so dehydrated, the veterinarian did not feel they could be running around or act aggressively.
Small plane lands outside St. Petersburg mall
ST. PETERSBURG — Back to school shoppers got a surprise in St. Petersburg when a small plane made an emergency landing on a public street outside a mall.
The single-seat Piper PA-25-260 Pawnee, towing a Geico advertising banner, landed in front of the Tyrone Square Mall Thursday evening after experiencing engine troubles.
The pilot, who has not been identified, was not injured.
The plane struck a tree with its left wing and sideswiped one car upon landing.
Polk detectives crack 9-year-old cold case
WINTER HAVEN — Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives say they’ve solved the case of a 36-year-old central Florida woman who disappeared nine years ago.
Dion Kaseta, now living in Chattanooga, Tenn., has been arrested in connection with the death of Kimberly Mimmovich in 2001, his former live-in girlfriend.
Investigators say Mimmovich was last seen with Kaseta at the Midway Lounge near Lake Alfred.
Kaseta originally told detectives he and Mimmovich had driven to Deerfield Beach, where they got into an argument. He said Mimmovich left to walk on the beach alone.
Kaseta said he reported her missing after she never returned.
Authorities say additional witnesses and evidence have led them to conclude Mimmovich is dead and that she was killed by Kaseta.
Toddler drowns in Florida swimming pool
TRENTON — A central Florida toddler drowned in his family’s swimming pool a week before his second birthday.
The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office says Maxwell Spears was unresponsive after his grandfather pulled him out Thursday. Investigators say the accident happened in an aboveground pool, but the child could’ve walked into it on a deck connecting the pool to the home.
Maxwell’s father and grandfather were doing chores while watching him and another child. The grandfather returned from the laundry room to find the back door open and the boy in the pool.
Group sues condo association over no-kid rule
BOCA RATON — A Palm Beach County organization has filed a federal lawsuit against a Boca Raton condo association, alleging discrimination for excluding potential tenants with young children.
The Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches filed the lawsuit this week against the Boca Teeca Condominium No. 9 Association. The group accused the complex of violating the federal Fair Housing Act.
The group says a man with three children, one younger than 15, was turned away from buying a condo at the complex in 2008.
They say to legally ban children, condo associations must first be qualified as housing for older people under county and federal laws, then show proof that at least 80 percent of the condos have one or more tenants 55 or older.
— Herald wire services