Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about in Florida today.
State’s high court rules UCF has immunity in death of athlete
The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the private corporation that runs the University of Central Florida’s athletic program won’t have to pay $10 million to the family of a football player who died during practice. The court on Thursday voted 6-0 with one recusal to uphold a lower court ruling that the University of Central Florida Athletic Association is entitled to the same sovereign immunity that protects state agencies from paying more than $200,000 in damages. Football player Ereck Plancher collapsed and died during a 2008 practice. His family sued the association, claiming negligence. A trial court awarded the family $10 million. An appellate court, however, ruled that the association was entitled to sovereign immunity.
Universal Orlando to build water park
Universal Orlando Resort is building a water park. Construction has begun on Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort. The new park is expected to open in 2017. It will join Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure at the Orlando theme park. Universal says the water park will be an immersive experience themed on “picture-postcard tropical islands.” It will be located within Universal Orlando Resort, just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Woman convicted of sex on beach sentenced to time served
A woman who was convicted of having sex on a Florida beach will not spend any more time in jail. On Wednesday, a Bradenton judge sentenced 20-year-old Elissa Alvarez to time served. She and 40-year-old Jose Caballero were found guilty May 4 of lewd and lascivious exhibition for having sex in public, including in front of a 3-year-old child. Alvarez accepted the stat-recommended sentence during a hearing scheduled to discuss setting a sentencing date. Defense attorney Greg Hagopian said she is embarrassed by the incident. Alvarez, who’s been in custody since May 4, was released Wednesday evening. Because she doesn’t have a criminal record, her conviction was withheld. She still must register as a sex offender unless she appeals.
Kenyan pleads guilty in us terrorism support case
A Kenyan man has pleaded guilty to U.S. terrorism support charges in a case that arose from Internet chat room conversations with undercover FBI operatives. Court records show Mohamed Said pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Said faces a maximum of 15 years behind bars when sentenced Aug. 14. Co-defendant Gufran Mohammed is already serving a 15-year prison term after pleading guilty.
Prosecutors want Zimmerman shooter monitored
Prosecutors in Florida want a man charged with shooting at George Zimmerman to wear a monitoring device while he is out on bond. Prosecutors filed a motion on Thursday asking a judge to require Matthew Apperson to wear a GPS device. A police report says Apperson had a fixation on the former neighborhood watch leader and that Apperson had recently been admitted to a mental institution before his run-in with Zimmerman earlier this month. A hearing on the matter is set for Friday.