5 Things to Know in Florida for Dec. 17

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

DEFENSE: RELEASE FOR MOM WHO DROVE INTO OCEAN

Defense attorneys for a South Carolina mother who drove her minivan with three children into the ocean off Daytona Beach are resuming their arguments that she shouldn’t be forcibly confined for mental health treatment. Ebony Wilkerson’s lawyers on Wednesday are arguing before a Florida judge that her mental illness is in remission and she has done fine getting outpatient treatment.

FLORIDA PAROLE COMMISSION HEARS “HOUDINI” CASE

Mark DeFriest was sentenced to four years in prison as a teenager for stealing tools his dead father left to him before he could legally take possession of them. That was in 1979. DeFriest is still in prison and will likely die there unless the state Commission on Offender Review decides to reduce his release date. DeFriest, known as the prison Houdini, had years tacked on to his sentence for various escapes and other misbehavior in prison.

GAY DIVORCE HEARING SET BEFORE BROWARD JUDGE

A Broward County judge who found Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional has set a hearing to finalize the divorce of a gay couple. Circuit Judge Dale Cohen in August agreed with other judges in declaring the gay marriage ban unconstitutional. But he delayed granting a divorce for Heather Brassner and Megan Lade because of a legal technicality. A hearing is set Wednesday afternoon on making the divorce final.

TB TESTS ORDERED AT JACKSONVILLE SCHOOL

Florida health officials have ordered tuberculosis tests on about 150 students and staff members at a Jacksonville high school after a student was hospitalized with the disease recently. The Florida Department of Health in Duval County has sent students home with parental permission slips for testing scheduled to begin Wednesday.

MAN ARRESTED IN CENTRAL FLORIDA MAIL FRAUD SCHEME

Authorities say they’ve arrested a man who is a member of a large check fraud ring that specializes in stealing mail from mailboxes in four central Florida counties. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports 33-year-old Carl Croyl is one of 15 people who Volusia County Sheriff’s investigators say have been taking mail in Volusia, Flagler, Seminole and St. Johns counties. He was arrested Tuesday.

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