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Florida teen sentenced in homeless beating death

BARTOW, Florida (AP) -- A 19-year-old was sentenced to four years in a youthful offender facility for the beating death of a homeless man.

Christopher Decatur faced up to 15 years in prison for the death of 52-year-old Joseph Ruba during a fight outside a Lakeland restaurant earlier this year. Circuit Judge Beth Harlan also sentenced the teen Monday to two years of house arrest when he's released.

Decatur originally faced second-degree murder charges. Prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty last month to the lesser charges of manslaughter.

Two other teens accused in the attack still face second-degree murder charges.


Mom of U-Miami running back killed in car crash

Haines City, Florida - A car crash Monday killed Elgusta T. James, 47, mother of University of Florida sophomore running back Mike James, and injured her daughter and grandson, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

She was a passenger in a car driven by her daughter, Jasmine Ansley, 25. Ansley's son, Jaden Pleasant, 5, was in the back seat. Neither Ms. James nor her grandchild was wearing a seat belt. Both were ejected from the car, deputies said.

The driver of the other car, Paul Lopez, 60, also of Haines City, was not injured. Deputies said he was wearing a seat belt.

The crash occurred around 10:30 a.m. at Patterson Road and North 10th Street.

Deputies said the investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed.

Historic Lakeland neighborhood concerned about church expansion

Lakeland, Florida --  It's an argument of church versus neighborhood in Lakeland, where residents in one community weren't too happy about a $20 million expansion deal of a church.

"They were going to have the building come to that light post, approximately 10 feet from the F Building there," said David Philibotte, a resident of the Lake Morton neighborhood.

Phillibotte is describing the First United Methodist Church's plan to expand across from his house.

"We were worried about our property values because something across the street from us that massive would deter the property values," he said.

The church has plans to expand its youth ministry to a 58,000 square foot structure that would include a two story building and that concerned residents in this historical community.

"That's one of the main reasons I bought in this area and moved here, is because I thought I would be protected in this historical district," Philibotte said.

Pedophile book author faces charges in Polk County

Winter Haven, Florida -- A Colorado man who self-published a book called "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct" now faces obscenity charges in Polk County.

On Monday morning, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd announced Phillip R. Greaves II was arrested in Pueblo, Colorado on charges out of Polk County. Greaves, 47, is charged with distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors, a third degree felony.

Judd says the book contains two graphic stories depicting an adult engaged in sex acts with children, and also trains adults regarding illegal sex acts between adults and children.

Winter Haven man arrested for attempted murder

Winter Haven man arrested for attempted murder

Winter Haven, FL -- Robert Dinesen, 63, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after stabbing a man several times.

The Police department received 9-1-1 call Sunday afternoon from 302 Avenue G, SE. When they responded to the home, they found the victim, 39-year-old Jerry Curry, leaving the home with several cuts to his face and a stab wound in his back.

Immediately following him was Dinesen, who had a large kitchen knife.

Officers demanded Dinesen drop the knife and he complied.

Dinesen and Curry know each other, because they had had a relationship with the same girl.

Curry was  transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries.

Suspect wanted in Family Dollar robbery in Winter Haven

Suspect wanted in Family Dollar robbery in Winter Haven

Winter Haven, FL -- Tonight, police are searching for an armed robbery suspect in the Avenue T, NE area of Winter Haven.

The suspect entered the Family Dollar in the 200 block of Avenue T, NE, showed a gun, then demanded money. The suspect then took off with an unknown amount of money.

He is described to be 5'9"-6'0", 150 to 180 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and scruffy facial hair. He was last seen wearing jeans, gray sweatshirt and sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Polk County Crime Stoppers at 800-226-TIPS.

SWAT standoff in Polk county ends peacefully

SWAT standoff in Polk county ends peacefully

Winter Haven, FL - A burglary, grand theft, and fraud suspect barricaded himself in a Winter Haven home yesterday, which turned into a six-hour standoff with Polk county SWAT team officers that ultimately ended peacefully.

43-year-old Kevin Bruce Stone locked himself, unarmed, in his former home at 8:00 a.m., which he had been ordered to stay away from by a judge on Friday. Multiple cans of tear gas were fired into the residence before the SWAT team officers entered around 2:00 p.m. and forced Stone out and took him to the Polk County Jail.