September 26th, 2013
12:11 PM ET

New trial ordered for woman in controversial warning-shot case

An appellate court has ordered a new trial for Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law to derail the prosecution, but a jury convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation.

The case gained the attention of civil rights leaders who say the African-American woman was persecuted because of her race.

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Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice
September 11th, 2013
02:49 AM ET

Diana Nyad responds to questions over swim

After dodging sharks and jellyfish during her swim from Cuba to Florida, Diana Nyad is now dealing with a different challenge: tough questions from her fellow marathon swimmers about the legitimacy of her achievement.

In the days since Nyad walked out of the water last week at Key West after swimming 110 miles, a stream of questions has come at her.

Could her speed have nearly doubled at one point? Did any of her team members touch her or support her? How could she have gone for hours without food or water?

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Filed under: Cuba • Florida • Swimming • U.S.
September 10th, 2013
04:28 PM ET

Police say iPad may prove key in Zimmerman marital altercation case

An iPad used to shoot video of a confrontation that allegedly erupted Monday between George Zimmerman and his estranged wife, Shellie, and her father might prove key in determining whether charges will be filed, police said Tuesday in Lake Mary, Florida.

"Unfortunately, the iPad is in several pieces," police spokesman Zach Hudson told reporters about the device, which he said George Zimmerman had damaged.

The incident comes two months after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death in nearby Sanford of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old unarmed youth.

Police have sent the pieces of the iPad for analysis, Hudson said. "We want to get all the information, the footage, off it."

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Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
September 9th, 2013
03:58 PM ET

George Zimmerman taken into police custody after incident with wife

George Zimmerman was taken into custody Monday after an apparent domestic altercation with his wife and her father at a home in Lake Mary, Florida, police said.

"As of right now, (George Zimmerman) has been placed in investigative detention," Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said.

The incident comes two months after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

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Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin • Trayvon Martin
August 27th, 2013
02:36 PM ET

Zimmerman wants $200K from Florida

Lawyers for George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted of second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, plan to ask the state to reimburse Zimmerman for at least $200,000 of expenses incurred during his trial.

Under Florida law, an acquitted defendant cannot be held liable for court costs or any charges while detained in custody, as long as a clerk or judge consents to the refund.

The costs may include money spent for expert witnesses, travel expenses and fees for transcripts.


Filed under: Courts • Florida • Trayvon Martin
August 20th, 2013
03:19 AM ET

Judge to rule in teen's same-sex case

Will Kaitlyn Hunt remain free on bond or go to jail?

A Florida judge will decide the gay Florida teen's fate Tuesday after prosecutors pulled her plea deal when they discovered she'd exchanged about 20,000 text messages with the underage teen girl at the center of the case against her.


Filed under: Florida • Gay and lesbian • Justice • U.S.
August 15th, 2013
04:16 PM ET

FAMU Marching 100 to return to the field after hazing suspension

Florida A&M University said Thursday that its famed Marching 100 band will return to the field for the first time since its suspension after the hazing death of a drum major nearly two years ago.

The band had been one of the top university marching bands in the United States, but Robert Champion's death and other reports of hazing damaged its reputation.

"We have made a thorough assessment of the students who have auditioned for the band and firmly believe that we are ready to return and positively represent Florida A&M University and its proud students, faculty, alumni and community," Sylvester Young, director of marching and pep bands, said in a statement.

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Filed under: Florida
August 14th, 2013
03:21 AM ET

Alleged Florida school bus attackers in court

The attack was shocking. Three older students pummeling a 13-year-old boy in a school bus, leaving him with a broken arm.

The video of the assault brought home its ferocity. Now, the alleged assailants are facing the consequences.

Three teenagers appeared in a juvenile court Tuesday in Gulfport, Florida. They were charged with aggravated battery.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida • Justice • U.S.
August 12th, 2013
03:24 AM ET

Florida sinkhole swallows parts of resort

A 30-foot-wide sinkhole formed under the Summer Bay Resort in Florida, not far from Disney World, a Lake County fire official said.

Two three-story buildings are affected by the crater, Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Tony Cuellar said.

Guests called for help, saying they heard loud noises and windows cracking.


Filed under: Florida • U.S.
Murder, victim photo posted on Facebook
August 9th, 2013
01:27 AM ET

Murder, victim photo posted on Facebook

People confess to a lot of things on Facebook: their frustrations, bad habits, secret longings and new loves. A Florida man allegedly confessed to a murder Thursday on the social media website, that of his wife, whom he shot dead in their kitchen.

Derek Medina, 31, posted a picture of her blood-stained body, collapsed and contorted on the floor in the corner, to his Facebook feed with a note.

Full Story

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Filed under: Crime • Florida • Gun Control • U.S. • World Update
August 8th, 2013
09:23 PM ET

Family wants answers after Florida teen's Taser death

The family of a Florida teen who died after being Tasered by police wants answers from authorities in Miami Beach.
Miami Beach police said officers spotted aspiring artist Israel Hernandez spray-painting the side of a vacant McDonald's off Collins Avenue, the city's main drag. Hernandez led them on a foot chase, ignoring commands to stop, until he was cornered, they said.
"In order to affect his arrest, an officer deployed his conducted electrical weapon (TASER)," police said in a statement. But afterward, Hernandez "displayed signs of medical duress" and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
"We're in a country that defends human rights - a country that sets an example and dares to ask countries that use excessive force," his father, also named Israel Hernandez, told CNN. "That is my son's case. Excessive force."

August 5th, 2013
04:33 AM ET

Horrific Florida school bus beating

The windmilling fists and stomping feet rain down blows on the 13-year-old boy.

Trapped on the floor between the bus seats, he cries out as he receives fierce punch after vicious kick from the three bigger, older youths.

As the relentless assault unfolds, the driver of the Florida school bus alerts the dispatcher, pleading for aid.

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Filed under: Florida • U.S.
Fishing for pot from jail window
August 3rd, 2013
09:42 AM ET

Fishing for pot from jail window

It has to be difficult to outfit a fishing expedition when you're in jail.

A pair of incarcerated anglers in Florida had to find a line they could cast six stories down, plus an accomplice outside to put marijuana and tobacco on their hook.

It may have been the alleged accomplice's fault that they had to try to reel in the goodies in a flimsy plastic grocery bag. But all three of them got into trouble when the bag and the contraband were discovered hanging outside the fourth floor of the Pinellas County jail.

Full Story

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Florida • Marijuana • U.S.
August 2nd, 2013
04:44 AM ET

Autistic son in dungeon conditions

His room smelled of urine and feces. It had no lighting, no bathroom, and there was only a mattress to furnish it.
That's what police in South Florida found when they responded to an anonymous tip on Thursday evening of a woman keeping her 30-year-old autistic son in "dungeon-like conditions."
"Police found the man's room to be a small room with a blacked-out window and a rusted iron door with a lock accessible only by the outside," said Michelle Hammontree-Garcia of the Sweetwater Police Department, west of Miami.

Full Story

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Filed under: Crime • Florida • U.S.
Police report: Zimmerman pulled over in Texas
George Zimmerman has been largely out of the public spotlight since his acquittal earlier this month.
July 31st, 2013
05:02 PM ET

Police report: Zimmerman pulled over in Texas

George Zimmerman - who was acquitted earlier this month on murder charges tied to Trayvon Martin's death - was stopped this weekend for a traffic violation in North Texas, according to a report from the Forney, Texas, police department.

The incident happened shortly after noon Sunday, when an officer pulled over Zimmerman's 2008 gray Honda for what was described only as a traffic stop.

He was given a verbal warning, police said.

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Filed under: Florida • Texas • Trayvon Martin
July 17th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Discord, details flow after Zimmerman trial

The George Zimmerman murder trial is over, but details from the case continue to emerge at a dizzying pace.

Several jurors have spoken out after the verdict. The prosecution's key witness has been offered a full ride to college. And Attorney General Eric Holder blasted "stand your ground" laws but gave no hint about whether Zimmerman will face civil rights charges.

Here's the latest on the Zimmerman trial aftermath:

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Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
May 22nd, 2013
10:53 AM ET

Man killed by FBI agent knew Tsarnaevs, official says

A man fatally shot overnight by an FBI agent in Orlando was being investigated for a possible connection to the Boston bombings, a U.S. law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Boston Marathon case told CNN.

The man who was shot, Ibragim Todashev, knew both of the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, the official said.

The agent shot in self-defense in an incident at Todashev's house, the official said.

Agents were led to Todashev, who had once lived in Boston, "through investigative leads," the official said.

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Filed under: Boston • Crime • Florida • Massachusetts
April 24th, 2013
06:26 PM ET

Daytona speedway to update fences

In response to a crash during a February race at the Daytona International Speedway that injured dozens of spectators in the stands, officials at the track will add cables on crossover gates and tether the frames of the gates to posts in time for NASCAR races in July, representatives for the Florida speedway said Wednesday.

Changes were also made at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, where events will be held this weekend. The 2.67-mile track is known as one of the fastest on the NASCAR circuit.

There are seven crossover gates, a part of the massive metal fence that opens to allow people to cross the racing surface, at each track, officials said.

On February 23, a jaw-dropping wreck occurred on the last lap of the Nationwide Series race when Kyle Larson's car went airborne and pieces of his car flew into the grandstands. At least 28 people were injured, officials said.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Florida • NASCAR
April 11th, 2013
11:13 AM ET

No bond yet for parents who took kids to Cuba

The couple accused of abducting their sons and sailing to Cuba will remain jailed without bond through the weekend, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

The judge also appointed a public defender to represent Josh and Sharyn Hakken after they said they wouldn't be able to pay for a lawyer on their own.

They will return to court Monday for a pretrial detention hearing, the judge ruled.

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Filed under: Crime • Cuba • Florida
April 10th, 2013
06:38 AM ET

Fugitives return from Cuba with kids

An American couple who allegedly kidnapped their two sons and sailed to Havana last week sat in a Florida jail Wednesday after Cuba hastily handed them over to U.S. officials.

Cuban authorities turned over the family of four to the U.S. State Department and the FBI after CNN found them in Havana on Tuesday.

They arrived in Florida early Wednesday, where the two boys ages 2 and 4 will get a medical exam, according to Sheriff David Gee of Hillsborough County.

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