Disney guest chokes girl who was blocking view of fireworks, deputies say

A Walt Disney World guest is accused of choking a girl who was blocking her view at the Magic Kingdom fireworks show Wednesday night, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, WKMG reports.

The victim, who was visiting the theme park with a group of students and chaperones from her out-of-state high school, was with friends around 9:30 p.m., waiting for the show to start. A family was sitting behind them.

When the show began, the girl and her friends stood up so they could get a better view. The family who was sitting behind them said to sit down so they could see, according to an arrest report.

Tabbatha Mature, 41, was aggravated about not being able to see the display, so the girl and her friends decided to leave. As they were walking away, the victim told Mature, “You can take our spot.”

Deputies said Mature grabbed the girl by her neck, squeezed and pushed her head toward the ground. Mature let go of the girl when she started screaming and told her, “You don’t want to mess with me,” according to an arrest affidavit.

The victim’s friends got the girl away and found a Walt Disney World employee to report the incident.

The girl did not have visible injuries. She told deputies she was willing to press charges.

Mature was arrested on a child abuse charge.

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Emails confirm Markeith Loyd blind in one eye

Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer, is blind in one eye as a result of his arrest in January, according to emails that he obtained.

Loyd, who faces multiple charges in the shooting deaths of Sade Dixon and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton, obtained the emails using Florida’s public records law.

Loyd was arrested Jan. 17 after a nine-day manhunt in the wake of Clayton’s death. An arrest video shows an officer kicking Loyd after he crawled out of a home where he’d been hiding. Police said they used force because Loyd was resisting arrest.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Loyd filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the emails. One email sent to Orlando Police Chief John Mina said surgery would leave Loyd blind in his left eye.

Lt. Dan Brady sent Mina an update on Jan. 18 about Loyd’s condition at the hospital.

“(Orlando Regional Medical Center) needed to perform surgery on his left eye and as a result the doctor said he will be permanently blind in his left eye,” Brady said. “This was as a result of the injuries Loyd received during his response to resistance.”

Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor after Orlando-area State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced she wouldn’t seek the death penalty. The special prosecutor, State Attorney Brad King, filed notice of intent Monday to seek the death penalty.

Loyd, who previously said he would represent himself in both murder trials, asked a judge earlier this week to allow Terence Lenamon to represent him. The judge was expected to make a ruling Wednesday during a court hearing.


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Florida teen accused of fatally stabbing romantic rival

A 16-year-old Kissimmee boy is accused of fatally stabbing his romantic rival early Tuesday morning, according to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were called to room 226 of the Heritage Park Inn on East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway at 2:38 a.m. Upon arrival, they found Kevin Joel Rojas, 22, suffering from several stab wounds, a news release said.

Rojas was pronounced dead at Osceola Regional Hospital.

Detectives identified Luis Angel Pagan as a suspect in Rojas’ death and arrested him without incident.

Deputies said they believe Pagan stabbed Rojas because they were romantic rivals. No other details about their “rivalry” have been released.

Pagan faces a charge of first-degree murder. He’s being held at a juvenile detention center.

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Florida Senate approves bill for daily school recess

Children attending elementary schools in Florida would have recess every day under a bill approved by the Florida Senate.
The Senate unanimously voted Tuesday for a bill that would require elementary schools to set aside 20 minutes each day for “free-play recess.” But it’s unclear if the legislation will make it to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.
That’s because the House is moving a different bill. The House version would allow school districts to offer recess as part of physical education classes. But the legislation does not include a mandate to offer it every school day. It would only apply to students between kindergarten and third grade.
For the past two years, mothers of school children have lobbied for the recess bill. They say children need recess to expend energy and give them a break from schoolwork.

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Babies Romeo, Juliette born hours apart at central Florida hospital

Two sets of new parents were surprised to learn that their babies were part of a Shakespearean connection at a Florida hospital.

The Orlando Sentinel reports Juliette Crouch was born Friday morning at Leesburg Regional Medical Center. Hours later, Romeo Kidd made his debut down the hallway.

Hospital privacy laws almost kept the drama from playing out. A nurse asked Carolyn Kidd her baby’s name and said a Juliette was born the same day. But she couldn’t tell them where Juliette’s parents were.

But the two families began searching for each other. Dad Justin Crouch said he thought about walking down the hall saying, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo.”

“It was eventually Bella Baby photographer who actually was able to make the connection for us. After the connection was made, all the nurses went crazy about it and they’re the ones who found little tux and dress so we could dress the babies up for the pictures,” Kidd said.

The families finally got together, shared laughs and exchanged contact information unlike in “Romeo & Juliet” where the families were mortal enemies.

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Markeith Loyd asks Miami capital punishment lawyer to represent him

Accused police killer Markeith Loyd said Monday during a hearing that he is ready for a state-appointed lawyer, specifically a Miami-based lawyer known for keeping his clients off Florida’s Death Row.

Since his arrest, Loyd, 41, has said that he would represent himself on double-murder charges.

Loyd said Monday during a hearing that he wants an attorney to represent him.

Loyd told Orange County Chief Judge Fredrick J. Lauten that he was willing to take on counsel, but only Miami lawyer Terry Lenamon.

Lenamon, a managing partner at a small criminal defense firm, is one of Florida’s highest-paid capital litigation lawyers, earning $5 million since 2000 on capital cases, the Miami Herald reported.

For a brief time, Lenamon worked on Casey Anthony’s defense. After being brought on early in Anthony’s case, he left when the state announced that it would not seek the death penalty. The state later changed its stance, but Lenamon did not return to Anthony’s defense team.

Terry Lenamon

Anthony, accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, was acquitted of murder charges in 2011.

News 6 spoke to Lenamon, who said he could not comment on Loyd’s case, but said he previously defended a client in a case in which State Attorney Brad King was the prosecutor.

In that case, Joshua Fulgham, of Ocala, was sentenced to life in prison for killing his estranged wife, avoiding a death sentence.

Gov. Rick Scott appointed King as special prosecutor on the Loyd case after the governor removed Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala.

Lenamon currently has several other pending cases in King’s jurisdiction.

Lenamon has represented other high-profile cases, including Harrel Braddy, known as the “Miami Strangler.” Lenamon wrote a book in 2011 about his experiences defending people accused of “atrocious” crimes.

The Miami lawyer also founded the Florida Capital Resource Center, dedicated to providing resources for lawyers defending death-penalty cases. He serves as the chairman on the board of directors at the nonprofit.

Lenamon told the Miami Herald that he has kept all but two of his clients off Death Row.

Florida has 371 inmates currently on Death Row.  Thirty-one states have capital punishment; more than half have not executed someone in at least five years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer said that although Lenamon is one of Florida’s highest-paid attorneys, being a state-appointed attorney in Loyd’s case would be different.

From a lawyer’s perspective, death-penalty cases are money losers, Kramer said, because of the amount of time and resources that go into defending them.

Loyd is accused of shooting and killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, in December, and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton weeks later.

Lauten said that although Loyd’s request to choose his state-appointed attorney was not common he might allow it.

Lauten said it’s possible that Lenamon will waive Loyd’s right to a speedy trial.

“We have a speedy trial issue until someone waives it,” Lauten said. “I’ll be shocked if (Lenamon) says, ‘No, judge, I’m here, let’s go.”

The judge will decide on April 12 if Lenamon will represent Loyd.

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