Tag Archives: 08-22-2012
Kelly Osborn, mother of Sheena Morris whose 2009 death was initially ruled a suicide, pickets Aug. 16 outside Bradenton Beach City Hall. Osborn resumed her call for an investigation into her daughter’s death. Islander Photo: Mark Young
Friends and relatives of the late Sheena Morris, who died in 2009, picketed Bradenton Beach City Hall Aug. 16 demanding law enforcement do more to find out what happened to the 25-year-old woman.
Morris’ death was initially ruled a suicide, but the cause of death was changed in 2011 to undetermined after forensic experts, hired by Morris’ family, said the crime scene could have been staged.
Kelly Osborn, Morris’ mother, has launched a public campaign demanding the case be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI said the case is not in their jurisdiction, and has declined to investigate it.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has agreed to review the case and ordered the case file sealed last week. A 15-member FDLE board is being assembled to review the case in Sebring, but Osborn says that’s not good enough.
“They are reviewing the case, not investigating the case,” she said to reporters outside city hall.
Osborn said Mayor John Shaughnessy has done nothing to help the case get reopened and expressed frustration over the lack of communication from the city.
“They are putting their hands over their eyes and covering their ears,” she said. “I’m on a journey, and it’s been a long journey. It’s absurd for a family to have to go through this. I want them to know that I’m not giving up.”
Police Chief Sam Speciale has expressed sympathy for what Osborn is going through, but insists his department did a thorough investigation. He said he would reopen the case if there was any credible evidence to suggest foul play. Speciale previously said he stands behind the suicide ruling.
Osborn has said that she has evidence, but she has never presented it. Outside city hall, Osborn said the police already have all the evidence they need.
“When the sheriff’s office processed the crime scene they took clippings of Sheena’s fingernails,” she said. “That evidence is rotting away in a non-environment controlled room at the Bradenton Beach Police Department. They have done nothing with it.”
Osborn said BBPD is trying to cover up its mistakes in the investigation of Morris’ death.
“There’s a lot going on in this town,” she said. “There is a lot of cover up and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.”
Osborn points out past BBPD problems
Osborn said past reports and letters of reprimand on a BBPD officer support her claim that BBPD is inept to handle what she calls a murder investigation.
A month after her daughter’s death, the same officer who responded to the initial disturbance call at the BridgeWalk Resort where Morris was later found dead, was reprimanded for not following procedure in another death investigation.
Officer Mike Bazzell was reprimanded for “not following procedures and good judgment” in the death of a 49-year-old woman who was found in a bathtub by her fiance. Bazzell’s investigation consisted of an “extensive visual assessment of the body,” in classifying it as a natural death, and failed to contact his supervisors.
Osborn said it’s that type of police work that went into investigating her daughter’s death.
“I’m angry,” she told commissioners at an Aug. 6 city commission meeting. “This is absurd. These mistakes made by this department are just not about my daughter. There’s more.”
Osborn called for Shaughnessy to start showing some leadership.
“I’m not responding to this,” said Shaughnessy. “I have nothing to say. It’s under investigation by FDLE. Until that is done, I have nothing to say. When I get all the facts, I will respond and that will be fair to everyone involved.”
Further BBPD issues raised by locals
Osborn wasn’t the only one at the Aug. 16 commission meeting to raise concerns over BBPD’s work.
Patrick Shomo said he saw some reports of burglaries next to his Bradenton Beach vacation home and when he went to check, “I found someone sleeping there while I was gone.”
Shomo said the homeless man is known to police, and when he called BBPD, “I had a rather odd 15-minute conversation where I was told the police would not take complaints over the phone.”
Shomo said the conversation took a bizarre twist when he was told the only way he would get police assistance was if, “I was home at the same time as the lawbreaker, and if he would sign a waiver saying he’s not supposed to be there.”
Resident Jo Ann Meilner also said she had a problem with BBPD. Meilner told commissioners a boat had washed up to her dock and a BBPD officer told her there was nothing he could do.
“I looked all over town for a police officer and couldn’t find one,” said Meilner. “I finally went to the police department and was told if nobody comes by in a couple of days, then I could get rid of it.”
Meilner said she then called the county, “and within a half hour they had responded, got the registration number and contacted the owner. I’d say that’s a bit of a lack of police work on the part of Bradenton Beach. Seems like a pattern is developing.”
Shaughnessy pledged to look into both incidents.
A 25-year-old Anna Maria man was arrested at CrossPointe Fellowship following the Sunday morning service Aug. 12.
According to the the probable cause affidavit, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy and Holmes Beach police officers awaited Trevor Nathaniel Francis Coleman, 311 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, and arrested him as he exited the church, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, after his former girlfriend told police she and her boyfriend were threatened by Coleman.
Coleman was arrested on charges of felony burglary of a structure with assault, misdemeanor domestic assault, misdemeanor simple battery and misdemeanor simple assault and was booked into the Manatee County jail on more than $10,000 in bond.
At press time The Islander learned Lelana Bright, the ex-girlfriend, signed an affidavit requesting the charges be dropped and that Coleman not be prosecuted.
He is scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. Sept. 7, at the Manatee Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
A 21-year-old Bradenton man allegedly attacked two men walking from the beach Aug. 11.
According to the police report, Cody Jolly followed a 62-year-old man and a friend back to his Holmes Beach residence after the men watched the sunset at the beach. Jolly is alleged to have approached the men, placing his arm around one of them, which triggered a physical altercation.
When the second man tried to intervene, Jolly allegedly threw a punch, but missed. The victim tried to run, but Jolly is reported to have run him down and took him to the ground. The two men were able to separate from Jolly, who then landed a punch to the face of one of the victims.
The two men ran to the Holmes Beach residence with Jolly following close behind. Two Holmes Beach Police Department officers arrived to find Jolly in the backyard trying to break a fence
One of the officers tried to call him over to talk, at which time Jolly is alleged to have lunged at the officer, hitting him in the chest and knocking him back.
A struggle ensued between the officers and Jolly, according to the report. After several warnings, officers used a stun gun to subdue the 21-year-old.
Jolly faces charges of felony battery on a law enforcement officer and felony resisting arrest and two counts of misdemeanor battery.
Arraignment and bond information was not available as of Islander press time. According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office website, Jolly was able to post bail the day of his arrest.
Manatee County Schools Superintendant Tim McGonegal said he appreciated the cooperation of law enforcement in helping to keep Manatee High School students safe, following the arrest of a 15-year-old Holmes Beach boy after he allegedly threatened violence against the school on Facebook.
A joint investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Holmes Beach Police Department led to the arrest of the MHS student. Detectives reported there was no evidence leading them to believe the juvenile had the means to carry out the threat.
The juvenile has been removed from his enrollment status at MHS and his future in county schools remains undetermined until the investigation is complete.
Meanwhile, school officials enacted added safety measures at the school.
McGonegal said the safety of students is the district’s No. 1 priority.
After making an attempt to elude police following an Aug. 11 traffic stop, Alan Scooter Stein, 38, of the 300 block of 61st Street, Holmes Beach was arrested for felony possession of cocaine.
According to the probable cause affidavit, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed Stein making a U-turn in the 6900 block of Cortez Road, allegedly impeding traffic and almost causing an accident.
The deputy initiated a traffic stop and asked Stein to show him his driver’s license. According to the report, Stein looked at the deputy and then accelerated away from the scene “at a high rate of speed.”
The deputy caught up to Stein’s vehicle in the 4500 block of 68th Street, but Stein was not in sight. A MCSO K-9 unit was called and the dog tracked Stein to some nearby bushes where he was taken into custody without further incident.
During a search of his person, deputies allegedly found a small amount of cocaine.
According to the report, the deputy asked Stein why he fled. “I didn’t want to go to jail,” Stein allegedly said.
Stein was booked into the Manatee County jail on felony possession and misdemeanor obstruction charges. A search of his driving record revealed Stein also has eight driver license suspensions dating back to 1992.
He also was charged with felony driving while license suspended.
In all, Stein was held on $2,250 bond. He is scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7 at the Manatee Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
After following a trail of stolen jewelry, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrested William Wilson IV, 19, of the 400 block of 75th Street, Holmes Beach.
An MCSO detective discovered jewelry at a Sarasota GoldMax store Aug. 12 that had come from an Anna Maria burglary, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Wilson allegedly presented his brother’s driver’s license when selling the jewelry, but also provided a thumbprint to complete the sale.
The detective, with assistance from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, obtained a copy of the driver’s license photo and issued a warrant for Wilson’s brother.
MCSO made contact Aug. 15 with the brother, who told the detective that the man in the photo ID with his name on it is Wilson.
A fingerprint analysis was made from the one used at the Sarasota store to a prior arrest record, which ended in a match with Wilson.
The detective made contact with Wilson, who agreed to meet with the deputy at his Holmes Beach residence. Wilson was taken into custody and, according to the report, admitted he took his brother’s license and committed the Anna Maria burglary.
Wilson faces charges of burglary, possession of a stolen driver’s license, as well as charges pending in Sarasota for allegedly selling stolen merchandise.
As of press time, Wilson remained in custody at the Manatee County jail on a bond of $8,500.
Seaweed accumulates at Cortez Beach in Bradenton Beach. Some seaweed was removed by the Manatee County Parks & Recreation Department following Tropical Storm Debby. Islander Photo: Courtesy Tjet Martin
Manatee County Parks and Recreation Director Cindy Turner told members of the Manatee County Tourism Development Council at their Aug. 20 meeting that she’s never seen any buildup of seaweed on Anna Maria Island like the current onslaught.
“We’re doing everything we can to remove it, but remember, we have to get state permits, can’t rake the turtle nesting areas and can only rake from the mean high-water line,” she said.
Turner said she’s received a multitude of complaints about the seaweed, but many people don’t understand the difficulty in raking private property. She said crews are doing their best under difficult conditions and some are working around the clock to clear seaweed.
Manatee County Natural Resources director Charlie Hunsicker called it a natural occurring phenomenon. It doesn’t happen often, and the seaweed is not dangerous to people, but for the county to remove the seaweed took some special Florida Department of Environmental Protection permits, approval of Anna Maria Island Turtlewatch director Suzi Fox, and help from some private property owners.
Hunsicker said the seaweed situation on the Atlantic coast is even worse.
“They are having to dig through parking lots of seaweed to get a path to the beach,” he said.
The cleanup effort on Anna Maria Island will continue where permitted, Turner said, but there is no time frame for when the seaweed will recede.
“It’s always out there in the Gulf of Mexico and, every once in awhile, Mother Nature decides to push it ashore,” Hunsicker said.
New West Manatee Fire Rescue firefighters, Corry Hill, left, and Tyler MacDonald, are introduced Aug. 16 at the WMFR board meeting. Islander Photos: Kathy Prucnell
A $5.5 million budget, reflecting a $6,500 decrease in revenue from a tentative budget presented last month, was approved Aug. 16 by the West Manatee Fire Rescue District Board of Commissioners.
In presenting the budget, WMFR Chief Andy Price said an adjustment was needed to reflect “a slight reduction of income.”
Price also told commissioners he expects an earlier payment of taxes this year because of the discount offered to taxpayers for early payment.
Following the public hearing at the administration office, 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton, which opened and closed with no comments made, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the 2012-13 WMFR budget.
WMFR commissioners adopted a resolution that sets a total operating budget of $5,520,945 for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Several minor adjustments to the budget were made, including a $7,300 reduction in the health insurance line item.
With the adjusted numbers, the operating budget is $97,849, or 1.8 percent, higher than the 2011-12 budget.
Jumps in workers compensation and health insurance rates were blamed for the slightly spending.
Built into this year’s budget is $1.5 million to replace bunker protective gear and update accountability devices used for the safety of firefighters, as well as other equipment, according to Price.
Also in the budget for employees is a 2 percent cost-of- living raise and some salary adjustments which, according to Price, will ensure competitiveness among fire service agencies.
To fund the 2012-13 budget, West Manatee Fire District commissioners increased the district’s assessment at a May 17 public hearing roughly $4 per household.
The hike represented a 2.5 percent increase, below this year’s 3.16 percent assessment cap, as determined by Florida’s personal income growth factor.
In other business:
• Price introduced two new firefighters, Corry Hill and Tyler MacDonald, and promoted firefighter Andrew Lauricella, Lt. Ben Rigney and Battalion Chief Rich Jasinski.
• A letter from U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, was read into the record, recognizing Capt. Tom Sousa for being awarded the 13th District Congressional Fire and Rescue/EMS Career Award.
• Price also reported he’s been “dealing with vendors” on computer repair and replacement issues. He said a new computer is expected to address difficulties at Station 1, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
Thursday, Aug. 23
• 10 a.m.-noon — Coffee with Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen, Paradise Cafe, 3210 East Bay Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-896-5827.
Wednesday, Aug. 22
• 7-10 p.m., Ballroom Dancing Party, American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24, 2000 75th St. W., Bradenton. Fee applies. Information: 941-807-4046,
Friday, Aug. 24
• 7-10 p.m., Crazy Hat Country Night with the Jimmy Keith Band, American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24, 2000 75th St. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-209-2212.
Saturday, Aug. 25
• 6:30 p.m., Manatee County Gator Club Scholarship Fund Kick-Off Social/Casino Night, Pier 22, 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton. Fee applies. Information: 941-778-3319.
• 2-5 p.m., Red, White & Blues III, Concert to Benefit Veteran Relief, American Legion Riders of Kirby Stewart Post 24, 2000 75th St., Cortez. Information: 941-209-2212.
Sunday, Aug. 26
• 7 p.m., Auditions for “Pumpboys and Dinettes” and “Plaid Tidings,” Manatee Players Theater, 102 Old Main St., Bradenton. Information: 941-748-0111.
Monday, Aug. 27
• 7 p.m., Auditions for “Pumpboys and Dinettes” and “Plaid Tidings,” Manatee Players Theater, 102 Old Main St., Bradenton. Information: 941-748-0111.
• Through Aug. 31, Maro Lorimer’s abstract acrylic exhibit, The Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-1906.
• Through Sept. 2, “Legally Blonde, Manatee Players, Riverfront Theater, 102 Old Main St., Bradenton. Fee applies. Information: 941-748-5875.
• Tuesdays, noon, Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island meetings at the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-794-8044.
• Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m., weather permitting, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 248-982-5600.
• Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m., players pitch horseshoes in the pits at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-708-6130.
• Thursdays, 5-7 p.m., Thirsty Thursday hosted by Bridge Street Merchants, Bradenton Beach, Information: 215-906-0668.
• Fridays, Senior Adventures, low-cost field trips from Annie Silver Community Center, 103 23rd St., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-962-8835.
• Third Fridays, 5-8 p.m., Pine Avenue Porch Party to benefit Roser Food Pantry at Anna Maria Pine Avenue stores and boutiques. Information: 941-896-3132.
• Saturdays, 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island meets at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-761-8834.
• Aug. 31-Sept.3, Galati Yacht Sales Labor Day Billfish Tournament. Fee applies. Galati Yacht’s Basin, 900 South Bay Blvd., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-0755.
• Sept. 2, Allegro Music Academy, free instrumental concert and lecture, 241 Whitfield Ave., Sarasota. Information: 941-358-8511.
• Sept. 3, Picnic and Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-1813.
Save the Date
• Sept. 24, 13th annual Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Lucky 13 Golf Outing for Scholarships, Bradenton Country Club, 4646 Ninth Ave. W., Bradenton. Fee applies. Information: 941-224-1337 or 941-284-2523.
• Nov. 3, Nautical and Landlubber Treasure Show, Anna Maria Island Sail and Power Squadron, 1200 71st St. NW, Bradenton. Information: 941-761-1860.
• Nov. 11, Popular Light Classics, CrossPointe Fellowship Church, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, Classics. Fee applies. Information: 941-778-8585.
• Nov. 17, Enjoy the Bay, Sarasota Bay Water Festival, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Ken Thompson Park, 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota. Information: 941-955-8085.
Send calendar announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the time, date and location of the event, a brief description and a contact via e-mail and phone.
• Aug. 8, 600 block of North Shore Drive, criminal mischief. A woman complainant reported someone poured an unknown substance over the front of her vehicle, damaging her chrome grill. The woman told a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy that she suspected her granddaughter’s ex-boyfriend, as he has access to pool chemicals.
• Aug. 8, 300 block of Bay Boulevard, criminal mischief. A MCSO deputy responded to a possible burglary call where he observed a broken glass panel on the front door. The deputy reported he suspected some type of projectile broke the glass because it is hurricane-proof glass. After a search of the area, however, the deputy did not find anything suspicious. The deputy determined no entry to the house was made, and the report was changed from burglary to criminal mischief.
• Aug. 2, Lakeview Place, vehicle burglary/theft of a firearm. An unknown suspect entered the vehicle of the complainant. Reported stolen were several items, including a 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun with 25 rounds of ammunition.
• Aug. 10, 200 block of Oak Avenue, grand theft/burglary. An unknown suspect entered the complainant’s home and stole $4,000 in currency and about $5,000 in gold items.
• Aug. 7, 700 block of Gladiolus Street, vehicle burglary. A complainant reported someone had entered his unlocked vehicle and stole a global positioning system unit valued at $500 and several park passes.
• Aug. 14, 100 block of South Bay Boulevard, vehicle burglary. While parked at the Anna Maria City Pier parking lot, a complainant reported someone entered his vehicle through a partially open window. The items stolen were valued at $285.
Anna Maria is policed by the MCSO.
• Aug. 12, 2000 block of Gulf Drive South, disorderly intoxication. A 43-year-old Longboat Key man was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly intoxication at Coquina Park. A police officer responded to the call regarding a disturbance. According to a probable cause affidavit, the suspect approached a family and began playing with three children. The father told the man to leave, but he sat a nearby picnic table and began cursing. When police arrived, they observed the man fall repeatedly and curse. Police placed the man in handcuffs, but he struggled to get free. Despite several warnings, officers used pepper spray to subdue him. He was booked into the Manatee County jail on $120 bond.
• Aug. 14, 200 block of Bridge Street, domestic battery. A 35-year-old man, reportedly living on the Dragon boat in the anchorage near the Historic Bridge Street Pier, was arrested following an Aug. 15 report by a woman who lived with him. The woman told police her boyfriend got mad the night before, and punched her in the head, neck and face after a scuffle on the boat, including a head-butting incident in which she reportedly pushed him into the water. Police arrested the boyfriend at the pier a few hours later for misdemeanor domestic battery and booked him into the Manatee County jail. He was released Aug. 17 on $1,000 bond and supervised release, which includes staying at least 500 feet from the alleged victim.
• Aug. 16, 2400 block of Gulf Drive North, property damage. A fire hydrant, a Bradenton Beach welcome sign and landscaping were damaged following a report from a store clerk at the Circle K who heard a car crash at approximately 1:30 a.m. Responding to the scene, police observed damage to stones and plants and a missing fire hydrant. It learned from a witness that a white sedan may have been responsible. On further investigation, they found the fire hydrant lying on the sidewalk near 25th Street, about 75 yards north of its original location. Police advised Manatee County of the broken hydrant, and began to search for the responsible motorist and vehicle. While no such vehicle was found, police observed the city’s welcome sign at Gulf Drive and Cortez Road also had been hit and knocked down. Police estimate $800 in damage to the hydrant, sign and landscaping.
Bradenton Beach is policed by the BBPD.
• No new reports.
Cortez is policed by the MCSO
• Aug. 11, 300 block of 61st Street, battery. A woman complainant alleges her boss inappropriately touched her while performing her cleaning duties. According to the report, the man came to the house she was cleaning and asked her what she was wearing under her tank top. The man allegedly pushed her to the ground, laid on top of her and then pulled her up by her arms, at which time he allegedly touched her breasts. Holmes Beach Police Department officers made contact with the man, who said he only touched the woman’s shoulder to tell her she was doing a good job. Police charged the man with misdemeanor battery.
• Aug. 8, 400 block of 80th Street, vehicle burglary. A complainant reported someone entered his unlocked vehicle and stole an XM radio, Bluetooth device and change purse, all valued at $178.
• Aug. 9, 200 block of 65th Street, vehicle burglary. A woman reported she left her wallet in an unlocked vehicle for about an hour. When she returned, the wallet and $273 were missing.
• Aug. 13, 6200 Flotilla Drive, vehicle burglary. A man reported someone entered his boat while it was docked and stole an anchor, two dock lines and a knife, all valued at $230.
• Aug. 10, 300 block of 61st Street, disturbance. An ex-boyfriend and girlfriend were arguing about the man’s drinking problem. The woman reported she is pregnant with the man’s child, so they remain in contact. The man became upset during the argument, punched a hole in the wall and broke a table. He informed HBPD officers he was leaving for the night. No further action was taken.
Holmes Beach is policed by the HBPD.
Streetlife is based on incident reports and narratives from the Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach police departments and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.