Five Things to Know in Florida for March 31

WEST INDIAN MANATEES GO FROM ‘ENDANGERED’ TO ‘THREATENED”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a news release Thursday that challenges remain to ensuring the species’ long-term future, even though the manatee population has increased over the years. The new status won’t diminish existing federal protections and the manatee will continue to be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

DEATH ROW INMATE WHO KILLED FLORIDA DEPUTY TO BE RESENTENCED

The Florida Supreme Court ruling Thursday is because the jury that recommended death for Brandon Lee Bradley was not unanimous. A dashboard camera showed Bradley shoot Deputy Barbara Pill during a March 2012 traffic stop shortly after a Melbourne motel owner reported he stole pillows, sheets and an air conditioner from a room.

NEW YORK MAN DIES WHILE SNORKELING IN FLORIDA KEYS

Monroe County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Becky Herrin said in a news release that crewmembers from the Reef Roamer noticed John Kollar of Garden City, New York, floating in the water Wednesday. Deputies say he was unresponsive when they pulled him into the boat. The crew performed CPR as they returned to shore, where they were met by paramedics who took Kollar to a hospital.

MINISTER FINED $25 FOR USING METAL HOE TO BUILD A SANDCASTLE IN FLORIDA PANHANDLE

Bryant Rylee of Moundville, Alabama, was building a sandcastle on Panama City Beach with his wife and son on March 23 when a police officer approached. Rylee said the officer told them they couldn’t use metal tools on the beach, and Rylee asked to have the law cited to him. Police Chief Drew Whitman says Rylee was given opportunities to fill in the hole but refused.

FLORIDA MAN GETS YEAR IN JAIL FOR BURNING BUNNY THAT BIT HIM

Local media outlets report that 23-year-old Manasseh Walker was sentenced earlier this week after a Sarasota County jury found him guilty of aggravated animal cruelty. No one saw Walker set fire to the bunny, but witnesses say the man had claimed he was bitten by the rabbit moments earlier. Thumper survived, but lost his ears. He now lives at the Wildlife Center of Venice.

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