They can reach lengths of 18 feet and their numbers are estimated to be in the tens of thousands, but Burmese pythons, a nuisance in the Everglades, aren't easy to find.
"It's an amazing challenge to try to come out and hunt these big snakes," hunter Dennis Jordan told CNN Miami affiliate WSVN in the closing days of the 2013 Python Challenge sponsored by state officials.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Saturday that 68 Burmese pythons were taken during the January 12-February 10 competition that drew 1,600 registrants lured by prizes of up to $1,500.
Though the take was small, wildlife officials said their main aim was heightening public awareness of the invasive species.FULL STORY
Authorities in Texas shot and killed an escaped prisoner early Saturday, several days after they say he stabbed a detective tasked with taking him across the country.
Alberto Morales, 42, was killed shortly after he was located in a wooded area in Grapevine, near Dallas, said Grapevine Police Department spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling.
With the help of a helicopter, authorities found Morales not far from a home where someone stole jewelery and men's clothing.
"At this point, as far as the investigation is concerned, Mr. Morales was shot and is now deceased. This matter is still under investigation ... and we'll have more details at a later point," Eberling told reporters.FULL STORY
Actor Burt Reynolds is in intensive care in a Florida hospital, where he went for treatment of flu symptoms, one of his representatives said Friday.
Reynolds was dehydrated when he went to the hospital, and was eventually transferred to its intensive care unit, his representative Erik Kritzer told CNN.
"He is doing better at this time," Kritzer said late Friday afternoon of the 76-year-old actor. "We expect, as soon as he gets more fluids, he will be back in a regular room."FULL STORY
Florida A&M University is undertaking reforms to address hazing on and off campus, according to a written response the school released after a scathing report that alleged it had done too little.
The Florida Board of Governors, which manages the state's universities, put out the report after drum major Robert Champion died following a beating he took in November 2011 aboard a school bus after a football game in Orlando, Florida.
The hazing was part of a ritual known as "Crossing Bus C," in which pledges attempt to run down the bus aisle while being punched, kicked and assaulted by more senior members of the school's famed marching band.FULL STORY
A small plane carrying at least three people crashed into a home in eastern Florida on Friday after reporting a mechanical problem, officials said.
The Beechcraft BE35 aircraft was en route to Knoxville Downtown Island Airport in Tennessee, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta.
The plane was diverting to Flagler County Airport, near the coast about 30 miles north of Daytona Beach, when it crashed a mile east of the airport and into a house, Bergen said. There was no immediate information on injuries.FULL STORY
After weeks on the run and days in immigration detention, American technology pioneer John McAfee arrived in Miami on Wednesday.
He said he had no choice in the matter, that Guatemalan authorities expelled him to the United States and put him on a plane to a destination they determined.
"I was whisked out of prison," McAfee told CNN affiliate broadcaster WSVN in front of his South Beach hotel. "I was forcibly separated from Samantha, and now here I am."
Samantha Venegas is McAfee's girlfriend.and
When the plane landed, U.S. officials boarded the aircraft to greet him and escort him off.FULL STORY
Our colleague Kim Segal got these mugshots of two brothers earlier today accused of plotting to use an explosive device and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Raees Alam Qazi, on the left, is 20 years old and the younger brother. Sheheryar Alam Qazi is 30.
Two people were shot Friday while standing on a sidewalk outside a Florida Walmart, CNN affiliate WCTV reports, citing police.
Police in the state capital of Tallahassee said the two people shot, whom witnesses say were a man and a woman, suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to WCTV. It's not known what led to the gunshots, or if there are any suspects in the case.
According to the report, the shooting took place around noon and the Tallahassee Walmart was back open by 2:40 p.m. The incident took place on what's known as Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.
Florida A&M University has offered $300,000 – the maximum it says it can offer without state legislative action – as a settlement to the family of Robert Champion Jr., the drum major who died after a hazing ritual last year, a university attorney said Thursday.
But the family’s attorney, Chris Chestnut, said that the offer is an insult, and that the family will not consider it.
Editor's note: A diagnosed schizophrenic convicted of killing eight people in Florida in the late 1970s is awaiting word as to whether his execution will go forward. John Ferguson had been scheduled to be executed Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET at the Florida State Prison, but a district court has granted him a stay. Read below for updates.
[Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET] There will be no execution of John Ferguson Tuesday night. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-second attempt by state authorities to allow the lethal injection of the Florida death row inmate to proceed as scheduled.
Millions of people in the Caribbean are being warned to get ready for a hurricane that's expected to strike tomorrow, bringing destructive waves and life-threatening mudslides.
One of the students who was involved in the death of Robert Champion during a hazing initiation was sentenced Monday to six months of community control, two years of supervised probation and 200 hours of community service.
Another student had said he saw Bryan Jones holding the Florida A&M University band member in a bear hug.
The crowded second floor of a Tallahassee, Florida, apartment building collapsed early Sunday - sending scores of people plummeting and, ultimately, 55 to area hospitals - city authorities said.
None of the injuries suffered in the collapse at the Seminole Grand Apartments are considered life-threatening, according to a release on the Tallahassee city government's website.
Witnesses reported an "unusually large crowd" in the two-story, wood frame building before the city fire department got a call at 1:27 a.m. about the collapse.
Using a ladder truck, firefighters rescued seven people after they became stuck in a second-story bedroom and could not access the stairwell, the city said. No one was trapped under the collapsed floor, and the first floor did not contain any apartments.
The building opened for occupancy in December 1995, according to the city. The cause of the collapse - which early estimates suggest caused $250,000 in damage - is under investigation.
George Zimmerman will go on trial June 10 for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman's lawyer said Wednesday.
The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with second-degree murder. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense in the February 26 shooting, saying Martin charged him after the two exchanged words, knocked him to the ground and banged his head repeatedly against a concrete sidewalk.
Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal and killed him, even though the teenager was doing nothing wrong.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.
Martin's death sparked nationwide protests and inflamed public passions over race relations and gun control, as well as Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.
– In Session's Jean Casarez contributed to this report.
It looks like the big blue eyeball found on a Florida beach last week was cut out of a swordfish hauled in by a deep-sea angler, the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Monday.
A beachcomber found the softball-sized eyeball on the sand in Pompano Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, speculating that perhaps it came from a squid.
But experts who examined the eyeball made their call of swordfish based on the its size (softball), color (blue) and structure (presumably swordfishy), according to a statement from Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the agency's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.FULL STORY
[Updated 3:10 a.m. ET] Another construction worker was rescued from the rubble early Thursday morning, Miami fire officials said. But in order to get the man out of the collapsed garage, medics had to perform a double amputation. Authorities believe there is one more victim trapped in the massive debris.
[Updated at 9:22 p.m. ET] Three workers have died and one remains trapped in rubble after a parking garage under construction collapsed in Doral, Florida, according to the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department.
Eight people are hospitalized in Miami-area hospitals, according to a statement from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. It did not identify them or give their conditions.
[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] One person died and at least two other people were trapped when a parking garage that was under construction collapsed in Doral, Florida, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue told CNN.
One of the trapped survivors was freed. He was critically injured, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Griselle Marino said.
"We have our surgeon working on [him] right now," Marino said.
Marino said dogs are looking for one or two more people who could be trapped.
Eight people have so far been transported to a hospital, she said.
Update 8:32 p.m.: Adam Greenberg struck out on three pitches from Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Greenberg was pinch-hitting for Marlins left fielder Bryan Petersen at the top of the order with the Marlins leading 2-0.
The Marlins Stadium public address system played Aerosmith's "Dream On" as Greenberg, wearing No. 10, walked up to the plate and took his place in the left-hand batter's box. He took a strike from Dickey, swung at and missed the second pitch and waved at a pitch around his chin for the third strike.
The crowd cheered loudly for him as he returned to the dugout, where his one-day-only teammates congratulated him and slapped the beaming ballplayer on the back.
The world of baseball and its fans greeted the moment with a wave of warm-and-fuzzy tweets:
MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) October 03, 2012
Adam Greenberg story very cool. But you know he has to think: "Sheesh, one at-bat and it's knuckleballer? Seriously?"—
Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) October 03, 2012
David Kaufman (@KaufmanDavid) October 03, 2012
#oneatbat truly inspiring :")—
Lourdes Martinez (@lulyyM28) October 03, 2012
Mr. Dimples (@LoMoDimples) October 03, 2012
Original post: Adam Greenberg signed a one-day contract with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of taking a single at-bat in the night's game against the New York Mets.
Greenberg, now 31, was hit in the head by a pitch in his first and only Major League Baseball plate appearance, with the Chicago Cubs in
2005 and has not played in the majors since. A hit-by-pitch does not count as an official at-bat, so Greenberg technically has never batted in the major leagues.
He petitioned the Cubs to let him come back for one official at-bat with them, but team officials turned him down. The Marlins agreed last week to help Greenberg make his dream come true. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said he plans to use him as a pinch-hitter in the middle of Tuesday night's game, perhaps in the pitcher's spot in the lineup, according to MLB.com.
"I'm ready to help the team," Greenberg said in a tweet on the Marlins' account. "The Marlins are an amazing organization. ... I couldn't be more thankful."
Adam Greenberg wasn’t in a bright mood Saturday. The former Chicago Cub – famously hit in the head in his only Major League plate appearance – had just watched Spain knock out his team, Israel, in World Baseball Classic qualifying in Florida.
A friend approached him after the game, saying he had someone on the phone with good news. The Team Israel reserve outfielder said he didn’t particularly want to hear it, but his friend insisted.
The man on the phone was Miami Marlins General Manager David Sampson. The Marlins – the very team that knocked him out of his only MLB game seven years ago – wanted to give him a full Major League at-bat.
“He ended up smiling after all,” filmmaker Matt Liston – the friend and the man who’s pushed full-time for Greenberg’s return – told CNN by phone Thursday.
The Marlins on Thursday confirmed what they told Greenberg over the weekend: They’ve signed the 31-year-old former prospect to a one-day contract so he can finally have a proper MLB at-bat on Tuesday, when the Marlins host the Mets in their penultimate game of the season.
Florida A&M University says it is not responsible for the death of a drum major last year, and that he broke the law and school policies when he willingly took part in the hazing that left him dead.
In court papers filed Monday night, the school asked a judge to drop a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of 26-year-old Robert Champion.
"Mr. Champion should have refused to participate in the planned hazing event and reported it to law enforcement or University administrators," the court documents say. "Under these circumstances, Florida's taxpayers should not be held financially liable to Mr. Champion's Estate for the ultimate result of his own imprudent, avoidable and tragic decision and death."
The student's family lambasted the school Tuesday for denying responsibility.
"The Champion family is shocked at the defense FAMU has chosen in the brutal hazing death of Robert Champion," family attorney Christopher Chestnut said. "We simply cannot ignore the audacity of an institution that blames students for their own deaths, yet for decades ignored the hazing epidemic occurring within its own walls."FULL STORY
A police cruiser draped in black banners and topped with a rose sat in front of the Jupiter, Florida, police department Monday morning, paying testament to 20-year department veteran killed Sunday while helping escort President Barack Obama through Palm Beach County.
Officer Bruce St. Laurent, 55, was traveling with the presidential motorcade around 4:45 p.m. Sunday along Interstate 95 through West Palm Beach when a Ford 150 pickup hit his motorcycle, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Therese Barbera said. Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow said St. Laurent was transported to nearby St. Mary's Medical Center, where he died Sunday
Kitzerow visited St. Laurent's family Monday morning to discuss funeral services, and memorial information will be made public when it is finalized, Jupiter police spokesman Sgt. Scott Pascarella said Monday. He added that in addition to the squad car memorial in front of the Jupiter police station, radio station 103.1 WIRK Country was there, raising money for St. Laurent's family. The Jupiter Police Department was working on setting up an account at a local bank to gather money for the slain officer's family as well, Pascarella said.
Palm Beach County sheriff's spokesman Eric Davis said Monday that his office and the Florida Highway Patrol still were investigating the incident. Barbera said Sunday that authorities were investigating the crash as a vehicular homicide, but she stressed it was still very early in the probe.FULL STORY