12/23 FLORIDA BRIEFS: Meter reader sues Anthony for defamation

ORLANDO -- The meter reader who discovered the remains of Casey Anthony’s young daughter in 2008 is suing her for defamation.

Roy Kronk’s suit was filed Wednesday. His attorney says Anthony’s defense team made multiple false statements, including that Kronk killed 2-year-old Caylee, that he was a child snatcher and that he moved the remains.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Anthony initially reported her daughter had been abducted, but her attorney, Jose Baez, said during the criminal trial that Anthony knew her daughter had drowned in the family pool.

Anthony was acquitted of killing Caylee and released from jail in July.

Killer whale Tilikum gets medical treatment

ORLANDO -- The killer whale responsible for a trainer’s death last year is undergoing medical treatment.

SeaWorld Orlando officials said Thursday that Tilikum has been moved to a medical pool that allows trainers and veterinary staff to monitor his progress.

The SeaWorld officials didn’t specify what is ailing the killer whale but noted that he had shown signs of improvement on Thursday.

Trainer Dawn Brancheau died in February 2010 when Tilikum grabbed her and dragged her underwater violently.

Board upset over removal of USF polytech leader

TALLAHASSEE -- Members of a Board of Governors committee say they are upset with how University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft handled the dismissal of the school’s polytechnic campus chancellor.

At a conference call Thursday, three members of the board, which oversees Florida’s state university system, said there wasn’t enough transparency in the dismissal of Marshall Goodman.

Goodman had campaigned in favor of making the Lakeland campus an independent university. The board approved a series of benchmarks in November in order for the split to occur.

Vice chair-elect Morteza Hosseini said Genshaft’s actions weren’t free of politics. He noted her selection for interim chancellor, David Touchton, has previously expressed opposition to the split.

Man charged with BUI after falling off boat

NAPLES -- Authorities say a southwest Florida man was drunk when he fell off his boat, causing the vessel to speed out of control and crash.

Police say the boat circled out of control in Naples Bay before running into the docks at a resort Wednesday night. Since no one was in the boat, rescuers began searching the water.

The Naples Daily News reported that the 23-foot boat’s owner, Robert Glenn Gillingham, was found at his home. Still drenched, he told officers he was trying to tie the boat to his dock when he lost control and fell in the water.

Officers reported that Gillingham appeared intoxicated. He was arrested and charged with boating under the influence.

Pedestrian on cell phone hit and killed by van

DELTONA -- Authorities say a woman was struck and killed by a mini-van as she walked across a busy central Florida intersection while talking on her cell phone.

Volusia County Sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson says the accident happened about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday in Deltona. He says an off-duty paramedic tried to revive 26-year-old Shinnique Comer, but she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Officials say 28-year-old driver Shivon Walker was not injured.

Orlando man credits shooting for saving his life

ORLANDO -- A man who was recently shot at an Orlando motel says the event likely saved his life.

Forty-five-year-old Dan D’Amato told the Orlando Sentinel that doctors found a massive tumor in his lung because of the bullet. Now D’Amato says he wants to turn his life around and improve his health.

The shooting happened in November at a Knights Inn. D’Amato told the newspaper he was at the motel to meet two prostitutes for a “24-hour party.”

Just before 4 a.m. a gunman with an AK-47 fired numerous rounds into the motel room. Police don’t know who the gunman was targeting and say the suspect remains at large.

A bullet hit D’Amato. Doctors discovered the large, non-cancerous mass and had to remove half of one of his lungs.

-- Associated Press