Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.
FUGITIVE TREASURE HUNTER TELLS JUDGE HE’S VERY SICK
A deep-sea treasure hunter who was a fugitive in one of the greatest hauls in American history has appeared in a Florida court and says he has an “extreme medical situation.” Sixty-one-year-old Tommy Thompson is accused of cheating investors out of their share of $50 million in gold bars and coins he recovered from a 19th century shipwreck in 1988. He was taken into custody near Boca Raton on Tuesday after two years on the lam.
SECOND EVALUATION ORDERED FOR MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING DAUGHTER
A Pinellas County judge agreed to an additional mental health evaluation for John Jonchuck, the man accused of killing his 5-year-old daughter by throwing her off a bridge near the Sunshine Skyway. Pinellas-Pasco Chief Circuit Judge Thomas McGrady authorized the second evaluation Thursday. Although Jonchuck was arrested and accused of first-degree murder, he has not yet been formally charged.
JUDGE UPSET WITH DELAYS IN QUADRUPLE SLAYING CASE
A judge blasted prosecutors and the state crime lab for dragging their feet in the trial preparations for quadruple murder suspect Adam Matos, the Pasco County man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and three others before authorities found him with his 4-year-old son in a Tampa hotel. Assistant State Attorney Bryan Sarabia told Judge William Webb the lab had only processed the first 30 of about 150 items of evidence in the case and would only accept them in batches of 30 at a time.
HARD ROCK GETS PRELIMINARY OK TO ENTER NEW JERSEY MARKET
The company that has populated the globe with Hard Rock casinos and restaurants received preliminary approval to enter the Atlantic City casino market — or one at the Meadowlands, if that market ever materializes. Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment received a statement of compliance Thursday from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. That is a preliminary step in becoming licensed to own a casino in New Jersey.
A SNEAKY SNAKE: TEAMS HUNT FOR ROCK PYTHONS IN EVERGLADES
Wildlife officials hope chilly temperatures in South Florida help keep another large snake from making a home in the Everglades. For the last five years, wildlife authorities from multiple agencies have raced to keep northern African pythons from spreading beyond a small Miami-area colony. Officials don’t want the aggressive snakes also known as rock pythons to slither into the Everglades, where Burmese pythons are blamed for decimating the population of native mammals.