Latest Florida news, sports, business and entertainment


Medical examiner: 22-day-old baby girl starved to death

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — A medical examiner says a baby who was found dead in her car seat in a Florida restaurant parking lot had lost more than one-third of her body weight in the 22 days since she was born.

The testimony Friday from Polk County's assistant medical examiner came in a bond hearing for Roy Stephens of Tennyson, Indiana. He and the baby's mother, Ruby Stephens, are charged with first-degree murder.

Dr. Vera Volnikh testified that the baby died Dec. 23 of malnutrition as a result of starvation. Roy Stephens' attorney questioned that claim, saying the medical examiner only did a cursory examination and tests.

According to records, the baby wasn't Stephens' daughter, but he had assumed parental responsibilities.

The couple had two other children and both were in good health.


Aetna changes plan amid HIV drug complaint

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Aetna has agreed to change its prescription drug policy to ensure that Florida consumers with HIV and AIDS can access their medications at lower costs.

Friday's announcement followed complaints last year alleging that Aetna and three other insurance companies are violating the Affordable Care Act by structuring their Florida insurance plans to discourage consumers with HIV and AIDS from choosing those plans. The companies were placing drugs in special categories requiring patients to pay expensive co-insurance instead of a flat co-pay.

The HIV and AIDS drugs will be moved into a lower cost category in June. The decision also affects Aetna's health plans sold by Coventry.

Humana, Cigna and Preferred Medical Plan announced similar changes last year.

Florida health insurance officials have been reviewing health plans and negotiating with insurance companies since receiving the complaints.


Woman, infant die in Palm Bay house fire

PALM BAY, Fla. (AP) — Officials say a woman and a baby have died in a central Florida home.

Palm Bay Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez says a Waste Management worker making his rounds Friday morning saw smoke coming from a home in Palm Bay and called 911.

Firefighters found the woman and child inside the burning home. Both died at the scene.

Their names and ages have not been released.

The state fire marshal's office and police are investigating.

No further details were immediately available.


Sheriff describes 'horrific' scene where brothers were shot

HUDSON, Fla. (AP) — When a Florida sheriff's deputy responded to a 911 call of a shooting at a mobile home, he heard someone screaming.

What officers found inside the mobile home Wednesday was even more horrific. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco says a 12-year-old boy had shot his 6-year-old brother to death, wounded his older brother in the leg and then turned the gun on himself.

The boys' mother, 38-year-old Helen Campochiaro, was working at the time of the shooting.

The boys were identified as 12-year-old Kevin Pimentel, 6-year-old Brady Pimentel and 16-year-old Trevor Pimentel.

Detectives are still investigating how the boy got his hands on the gun.


Former police chief gets probation after drug bust

(Information in the following story is from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union,

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A former police chief in northeast Florida has received five years' probation after pleading guilty to possessing illegal steroids and evidence tampering.

A Duval County judge also ordered 50-year-old former Atlantic Beach Police Chief Michael Classey to undergo random drug tests.

Classey resigned last September after his house was raided by state investigators, who found steroids and other pills. He says his behavior was fueled by alcoholism.

Authorities say they believe the drugs were for Classey's personal use, not for sale, which kept the former chief out of prison.

The Florida Times-Union reports that Classey is in treatment for alcoholism and will have to complete five Alcoholics Anonymous classes a week during his probation.


Navy sub sailor waives hearing on charges he recorded women

KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, Ga. (AP) — A Navy sailor charged with videotaping female officers in stages of undress aboard a submarine has waived a hearing that would have allowed his attorneys to argue against sending the case to a court-martial.

A Navy spokeswoman says the sailor, an unidentified missile technician formerly assigned to the Georgia-based submarine USS Wyoming, opted against having an Article 32 hearing scheduled Friday at Mayport Naval Station in Florida. The hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury in that it helps commanders decide whether there's evidence to support a court-martial. Defense evidence also can be presented.

The Navy has charged seven sailors in connection with recording and sharing illicit videotapes of female officers and student trainees aboard the Wyoming since 2013. Women began serving on U.S. submarines in 2011.


Ex-Salvadoran general linked to rights abuse in US custody

MIAMI (AP) — Immigration officials say a former El Salvadoran general linked to 1980s human rights abuses has been taken into U.S. immigration custody pending final deportation orders.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Tammy Spicer confirmed Friday that former Gen. Eugenio Vides Casanova is in the agency's custody. Vides Casanova has been living in Florida since 1989.

The nation's highest immigration court earlier this month ruled that Vides Casanova should be deported to El Salvador. Vides Casanova's lawyer Diego Handel says that order will be appealed to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Vides Casanova was his country's defense minister and has been linked to multiple acts of killings and torture committed by the Salvadoran military, including the slayings of three American nuns and a lay churchwoman in 1980.


A-Rod cousin set to plead guilty in Florida steroids case

MIAMI (AP) — A guilty plea is set for a cousin of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez in the federal investigation into performance-enhancing drugs illegally provided to athletes through a South Florida clinic.

U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga scheduled a Friday afternoon plea hearing for Yuri Sucart, the last remaining defendant in the Biogenesis of America case. Seven others, including former Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch, have previously pleaded guilty and received sentences ranging from probation to four years in prison.

Sucart is charged in a seven-count indictment with testosterone distribution and conspiracy to distribute the performance-enhancing substance.

Baseball's investigation into use of banned substances resulted in the suspensions of 14 players, including Rodriguez for all of last season. A Sucart guilty plea means Rodriguez won't have to testify in open court.


Belligerent birds chase people at central Florida park

(Information in the following story is from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.),

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Officials say some out-of-control birds are chasing people and tying up traffic at a Melbourne park.

Ducks, geese, ibis, seagulls and other birds that flock to the 30-acre Wells Park are losing their fear of people. This week workers installed 'Feeding Wildlife Prohibited' signs.

City Manager Mike McNees told Florida Today three white geese when after him as he jogged in the park this week. He says he had a hard time scaring the birds off and fears that an older person or a child may not be able to fight back.

Parks manager Steve Graham says people love to feed the ducks, but something has to be done.

Nearby resident Lynda Storer disagrees with the feeding crackdown. She says only the geese are aggressive.


Central Florida man faces life in prison for armed robbery

(Information in the following story is from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal,

ORANGE CITY, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida man faces a life sentence after a jury found him guilty of breaking into a home and terrorizing a couple at gunpoint.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports 23-year-old Kenneth Curry was convicted Wednesday.

Prosecutors say he was looking for prescription pills when he broke into the Orange City home in April 2013. Curry only found over-the-counter medicine at the home. He pointed a handgun at the 82-year-old resident and ordered the man's wife out of the house. She called 911 from a neighbor's house.

Police arrived and found Curry in the neighborhood. He had been out on a $20,000 bond but was taken to jail Wednesday to await sentencing in about 30 days.


Stepmother of dead South Florida boy held on $230,000 bond

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A judge said the bond for the stepmother of a dead 3-year-old South Florida boy should remain at $230,000 and ordered her to have no contact with her husband.

Analiz Rodezno Osceola wore a suicide prevention suit and wept during the Thursday hearing. She is facing charges of aggravated manslaughter, child neglect and providing police with false information. Ahizya Osceola was found dead in his home hour after being reported missing on March 19.

The boy's father Nelson Osceola was released from jail on a $50,000 bond. He's charged with child neglect with great bodily harm.

The stepmother had been in a psychiatric ward in Fort Lauderdale until her arrest on Wednesday. Attorney Meeghan Moldof says the 24-year-old is "emotionally distraught."

Police say the child's death followed "horrific abuse."


Florida House: Buy flags made in the United States

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Cities, counties and state government will have to buy state and American flags made in the United States under a bill passed by the Florida House.

The House on Friday voted 110-2 for the "All American Flag Act."

But the vote triggered a debate about whether the mandate itself is American.

Some legislators said that forcing local and state government to buy flags made in the United States was "anti-capitalist" and a "restraint of trade."

But other lawmakers said that taxpayer money should not be spent on flags made in other countries like China.

Rep. Richard Stark, a Democrat from Weston, said that he did not like the bill but said he voted for it. He said he did not want to be on the record as opposing it.