Five Things to Know in Florida for Feb. 7

FINAL EL FARO INVESTIGATIVE HEARINGS FOCUS ON SHIP SAFETY

Capt. Raymond Thompson, a former chief mate on the El Faro, testified Monday that he was not sure if life jackets were stored on the bridge as required. The 790-foot El Faro sank on Oct. 1, 2015 after losing propulsion in a hurricane while traveling from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. All 33 aboard died.

POLICE: WAL-MART CUSTOMER FATALLY SHOOTS WOULD-BE THIEF

Orange County Sheriff’s Capt. Angelo Nieves tells local news outlets that three men left the store in Orlando with stolen items Saturday and were loading the merchandise into a vehicle when a store employee approached them. An armed customer heard the commotion and came to the employee’s aid.

FLORIDA FINALLY TAKING STEPS TO RESUME DEATH PENALTY

A Senate panel on Monday voted for a measure that requires a unanimous jury verdict in cases where the death penalty is being sought by prosecutors. The state Supreme Court last October struck down a law that said that the death penalty could be imposed by a 10-2 jury vote. Death penalty cases have halted due to recent court rulings.

UCF FRATERNITY SUSPENDED AFTER HAZING ALLEGATIONS

School documents released Monday show someone emailed the university on Jan. 5 about a freshman who rushed Phi Delta Theta. The partially redacted email says the student had sought aid after weeks of pledging and psychological harm. Gary Burns, the fraternity chapter’s president, said in an email that he has “found nothing to support these allegations.”

FLORIDA WOMAN IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CASE WANTS OUT OF JAIL

An attorney for Katherine Magbanua on Monday requested that a Florida appeals court allow her to be released on bail. The motion with the 1st District Court of Appeal contends prosecutors have not presented enough evidence to keep her locked up ahead of her trial on murder charges. That trial was scheduled for February, but it has been pushed back until later this year.

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