FLORIDA LEGISLATURE ENDS THREE-DAY SPECIAL SESSION, APPROVES MONEY FOR SCHOOLS, DIKE REPAIR AND MEDICAL MARIJUANA
A whirlwind three-day special session is ending after the Florida Legislature approved a last-minute deal to boost money for public schools and money to repair the dike that surrounds Lake Okeechobee. The Florida Legislature on Friday approved two-budget related bills that would also set aside more money to economic development programs championed by Gov. Rick Scott. Lawmakers also passed a bill that puts in place rules for medical marijuana, which was approved by voters last November.
AIRPORT SHOOTING TRIAL DELAYED UNTIL JANUARY
Trial will be delayed until at least January for an Alaska man charged with killing five people and wounding six in a Florida airport mass shooting, a federal judge said Friday. U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom set a new Jan. 22 trial date for Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, Alaska, whose trial initially was scheduled for October. Bloom noted at a hearing that extra time is needed for the Justice Department to decide whether to seek the death penalty, including arguments from Santiago’s attorneys about why prosecutors should not seek capital punishment.
NAKED MAN ARRESTED AFTER CAR CRASH, DAMAGING DEPUTY’S CRUISER
Authorities say a Florida man got out of his car after a crash, stripped off his clothes, walked away from the scene and then damaged a door of the responding deputy’s patrol car. Marion County Sheriff’s officials said in a statement that 18-year-old Andrew Humphries has been charged with one felony count of criminal mischief and one misdemeanor count of criminal mischief after Wednesday night’s crash. Dash cam video shows Humphries walking naked before the deputy stops him. When he tries to open the patrol car door, the deputy says, “That’s not normal,” then adds, “You are absolutely naked, my man. Another thing not normal.”
OFFICERS PLEAD NOT GUILTY IN BEATING CASE
Two current and two former Florida police officers pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges connected to the beating of a man captured after a high-speed car chase. Boynton Beach officer Michael Brown and former officers Justin Harris and Ronald Ryan have been charged with the 2014 beating of Jeffrey Braswell. The trio and Sgt. Philip Antico are also charged with trying to cover it up. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman ordered each held on $250,000 bail. Braswell was in a car driven by Byron Harris, who fled at 100 mph (160 kph) after running a stop sign. During the chase, officer Jeffrey Williams was seriously injured when struck by Harris and possibly by a pursuing police car. A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s helicopter captured video of officers kicking Harris, Braswell and another passenger.
‘COCAINE COWBOY’ WHO WAS ON THE LAM FOR 26 YEARS PLEADS NOT GUILTY
After 26 years on the lam, a man dubbed by investigators as one of Miami’s last “cocaine cowboys” pleaded not guilty Friday to decades-old drug trafficking charges that could land him in prison for life. The plea was entered at a brief hearing Friday by Howard Srebnick, the attorney for Gustavo Falcon who stood silently nearby in a tan prison jumpsuit and shackles.The 55-year-old Falcon is charged in a 1991 indictment claiming he was part of a major cocaine smuggling operation during the 1980s.