Man who claimed girlfriend accidentally choked during oral sex found not guilty of murder

A South Florida man who was on trial in the 2015 choking death of his girlfriend has been found not guilty of murder.

Richard Patterson, 65, of Margate, was acquitted Monday of second-degree murder. His attorney, Ken Padowitz, argued during trial that his client accidentally choked Francisca Marquinez, 60, during oral sex.

The jury heard closing arguments in the morning and deliberated for a few hours in the afternoon before returning the verdict.

Patterson did not testify. Instead, the defense called on Dr. Ronald Wright, a former Broward County medical examiner, who said it was possible that Marquinez could have choked during oral sex.

Padowitz told jurors that the medical examiner’s autopsy report said the manner of death was undetermined.

Assistant state attorney Peter Sapak questioned why Patterson didn’t call 911 right away and reminded jurors of testimony from an ex-girlfriend, who said he told her that he choked Marquinez. He also re-read a text message that Patterson’s daughter said she sent him to him the day after Marquinez was killed.

“Your dad did something really bad last night,” Sapak said, reading the text message Amanda Schneider said Patterson sent to her. “I’m so, so sorry.”

Before the trial began, Padowitz filed a motion asking that the jury be allowed to see Patterson’s penis, but the defense rested before Broward County Judge Lisa Porter made a decision.

Patterson hugged Padowitz after the verdict was announced.

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Attorneys make closing arguments in Margate man’s penis defense murder trial

Closing arguments began Monday morning in the murder trial of a South Florida man whose defense is that he accidentally choked his ex-girlfriend with his penis.

Richard Patterson, 65, of Margate, is charged with second-degree murder in the choking death of his girlfriend, Francisca Marquinez, 60, in 2015.

Patterson’s attorney, Ken Padowitz, argued during trial that his client accidentally choked Marquinez during oral sex.

Patterson did not testify. Instead, the defense called on Dr. Ronald Wright, a former Broward County medical examiner, who said it was possible that Marquinez could have choked during oral sex.

Assistant state attorney Peter Sapak questioned why Patterson didn’t call 911 right away and reminded jurors of testimony from an ex-girlfriend, who said he told her that he choked Marquinez. He also re-read a text message that Patterson’s daughter said she sent him to him the day after Marquinez was killed.

“Your dad did something really bad last night,” Sapak said, reading the text Amanda Schneider said Patterson sent to her. “I’m so, so sorry.”

Before the trial began, Padowitz filed a motion asking that the jury be allowed to see Patterson’s penis, but the defense rested before Broward County Judge Lisa Porter made a decision.

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Overtown business owner says she’s constantly harassed by police, city officials

Corrine Bradley’s market has been open for business for nearly 50 years in Overtown.

“Forty-eight years, up until last year, we’ve never had (any) complaints,” Bradley said.  

In the past year, the city of Miami noticed a number of arrests near Bradley’s business on Northwest Second Avenue and decided to designate it a nuisance property.

The designation has levied thousands in fines for the corner market.

“It’s not on my property,” Bradley said. ” That’s what I can’t understand. They’re across the street.”

Bradley said she is being forced to install more lights and a camera system and that the cameras had to be remotely monitored by the police. 

“They should pay for it, or put up their own. What’s wrong with them putting up their own camera?” Bradley said.

Hilton Napoleon, Bradley’s attorney, also weighed in.

“Big brother doesn’t have the right to peep inside and see what we’re doing,” Napoleon said.

Napoleon has filed a suit against the city, claiming forcing Bradley to install a pricey high-tech system for police to view at will is unconstitutional.

Local 10 News made calls to the Miami city attorney’s office, but they were unreturned. Miami police told Local 10 News they’d reply to a request for a comment, but had not done so by the time of the report.

In the meantime, customers said police have been targeting the property.

“Every time somebody go up in front of that lady’s store, they come up harassing us. We don’t give them invitation to mess with us,” a customer said.

It’s important to note the area is being redeveloped and land prices are rising.  

“I think that people will make their own conclusion, and it’s clear as day what is going on here,” Napoleon said. 

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Court temporarily blocks Miami’s ban on app-based short-term rentals

In an after-hours ruling Wednesday, a Miami-Dade County circuit judge paved the way for Airbnb and similar home-sharing companies to operate in the city of Miami, with a temporary injunction blocking the city’s ban.

“I think we are all just confused about what is right, what is legal, what is OK for our community,” said Miami resident Marcie Mascaro, considered an Airbnb super host.

The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed last week by five Miami hosts and Airbnb alleging that the city of Miami was ignoring Florida law by reinterpreting local zoning codes as a ban on short-term rentals.

The city said its ban on vacation rentals in residential areas is a response to residents who fear home renters will ruin the quality of life.

The lawsuit also takes issue with the city’s action against the hosts who came forward publicly to defend their businesses at a recent city commission meeting.

“They were putting themselves in harms way by officially, publicly, on the record saying that they are violating the code of the city of Miami,” Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said in an April 11 interview with Local 10 News.

The lawsuit quotes a Local 10 News report to support its allegations.

With the temporary injunction in place, the plaintiffs are also asking the court to clarify Miami rules on home-sharing.

In an emailed statement, An Airbnb spokesman wrote, “…We are hopeful that it will result in relief and fair treatment for the 3,000 Miamians who responsibly share their homes on Airbnb.”

Mascaro, who is not one of the five plaintiff hosts, said she has dealt with Miami’s zoning process, and to comply with what she understands is law, limits her rentals to 30 days and longer. 

She calls the temporary injunction a first step.

“How can we take the laws that we have and create new ones that better benefit hosts and the community?” she asked.

City officials have not responded publicly to the temporary injunction ruling.

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Airbnb sues Miami after city targets speakers at recent meeting

In a 44-page lawsuit filed Friday afternoon, Airbnb and five of its hosts asked a Miami-Dade County circuit court to stop the city of Miami from enforcing a ban on short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. 

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Miami-Dade County by Airbnb and five individual hosts, the city violated the First Amendment rights of hosts who spoke up at a March 23 city commission meeting.

Mayor Tomas Regalado used a list of speakers at a recent city commission meeting where the city’s rules on short term rentals were under debate.  Some listed themselves as Airbnb hosts, along with their addresses and phone numbers, as is standard procedure to speak on the record at city meetings. 

In a news report broadcast Tuesday on Local10 News, Regalado said hosts “were putting themselves in harm’s way by officially, publicly, on the record saying that they are violating the code at the city of Miami.”

That quote from the report is cited in the lawsuit. 

“The city is now acting to make good on those threats,” the lawsuit said. “Airbnb stands together with its Miami hosts in opposing the city’s unlawful efforts, and in particular stands with the brave individuals who have come forward and seek to protect their rights as individual plaintiffs in this action.”

Three of the hosts listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit attended the March 23 meeting. Airbnb officials have said the company has 2,300 active hosts in Miami.

Airbnb and the five hosts allege that Miami is flouting Florida state law with a reinterpretation of local zoning codes. 

The lawsuit also alleges the code enforcement action against the hosts has had a chilling effect on free speech and that citizens had the right to speak publicly without fear of retribution.

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Husband sentenced to prison for fatal DUI crash while having sex with wife

A South Florida man who pleaded guilty to a DUI accident that killed his wife while the two were having sex was sentenced to five years in prison.

Matthew Notebaert of Loxahatchee had earlier plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving in the 2014 crash that killed his wife, Amanda.

The Palm Beach Post reports Notebaert was drunk and high on marijuana when he drove his SUV into a canal embankment near the couple’s home.

Amanda Notebaert, who died at the scene, was riding on her husband’s lap and was naked from the waist down at the time of the accident.

In his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Notebaert said the couple began drinking while at a concert to mark his wife’s first night out after giving birth to their second child.

Notebaert said all he remembers of the accident is waking up next to his dead wife’s body.

Three hours after the accident, Notebaert was found to have a blood alcohol level of .149, twice the legal amount to drive.

Notebaert’s attorney had asked for her client to receive probation, but Circuit Judge Laura Johnson took the 33-year-old’s previous felony charges of cocaine possession, burglary and grand theft into account when announcing her sentence.

“This isn’t your first chance. You’ve been to jail before. You’ve been on probation,” Johnson said, according to the Post, adding: “You failed your wife. You failed your children and you failed all your family that is here today.”

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