Florida Man Wanted For Murder Arrested In Upstate New York

By on May 13th, 2015 | Last updated: May 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

CATSKILL, N.Y. (AP) — A 25-year-old Florida man wanted for murder has been arrested in upstate New York.

State police and officers from the Village of Catskill Police Department arrested Jonathan Padron of Sebring on Monday as a fugitive from justice. He was arraigned in village court and is being held at Greene County Jail awaiting extradition proceedings.

Padron is wanted in connection with the murder of Thomas Nelson, who was shot to death in a Florida parking lot in May.

State Police were contacted by Florida authorities after information was developed indicating the suspect might have fled to the Catskill area about 35 miles south of Albany.

Troopers spotted Padron walking on Monday evening, even though he had shaved his head, mustache and beard in an attempt to conceal his identity.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Man Involved In Robbery Arrested After Shoot-Out With Police

By on May 13th, 2015 | Last updated: May 13, 2015 at 6:27 pm

A police shoot-out occurred Tuesday after a man robbed a Main Street post office, resulting in the suspect sustaining injuries.

“He was wounded when he reached into his pocket and pulled a firearm out and started to take aim at deputies,” said Art Forgey, a spokesperson for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Yowab Ben-Israel, 46, was transported to UF Health Shands Hospital and is currently in stable condition, according to officials.

Ben-Israel entered  the post office on located at 1401 N. Main Street, according to the Gainesville Police Department.

Ben-Israel jumped over the counter, unveiled a handgun hidden in the towel and demanded money from the business, Detective Matthew Goeckel stated in an email. He then left the scene on bicycle with $1,135 worth of cash and coins, according to a GPD report.

GPD units responded to 911 calls from the area, but they did not have a K-9 unit working at the time and requested assistance from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

An ASO deputy K-9 handler who responded to the call spotted a suspect in the area who matched the description in front of the Winn-Dixie at 2500 N. Main Street, spokesperson Ben Tobias indicated in an email.

Tobias stated that multiple witnesses saw the suspect pull a gun and point it at two deputies on the scene.

An undisclosed amount of shots were fired between the deputies and the suspect. Ben-Israel was injured during the altercation.

He has been charged with robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

An investigation into the incident and consequent shooting is pending. Additional charges related to the shooting are expected, according to law enforcement.

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Florida Woman Gets 23 years In NY Killing Of Mother-In-Law

By on May 12th, 2015 | Last updated: May 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm

NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP) — A woman convicted of killing her 80-year-old mother-in-law to get her hands on the family estate has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Diana Nadell of Cutler Bay, Florida, pleaded guilty in March to first-degree murder in last year’s killing of Peggy Nadell, a local New York activist.

The Rockland County district attorney’s office said Diana Nadell wanted access to her husband’s share of Peggy Nadell’s multimillion-dollar estate.

Prosecutors said Diana Nadell and a hired accomplice lured Peggy Nadell to the door of her home in the New York suburbs with a late-night phone call. They said the pair then went inside and killed Nadell.

Diana Nadell was also sentenced to 5 to 15 years for attempted witness tampering. That sentence is to be served during the murder sentence.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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New Charge For Aaron Hernandez: Witness Intimidation

By on May 12th, 2015 | Last updated: May 13, 2015 at 1:59 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Former New England Patriots player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez has been charged with trying to silence a witness in a double murder case against him by shooting him in the face and leaving him for dead, prosecutors said Monday.

Hernandez was indicted Friday by a grand jury in Boston on a charge of witness intimidation, according to the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley. It’s the latest criminal charge against the former star tight end, who once had a $40 million contract with the Patriots.

Hernandez’s lawyers didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on the new charge.

The 25-year-old was convicted last month of killing Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee’s sister, in June 2013. He also faces two counts of murder in Boston, where he is accused of gunning down two men in 2012 after one caused him to spill his drink at a nightclub.

The latest charge is connected to the Boston killings. The Suffolk County DA’s office said the victim of the intimidation was a witness to those killings, which happened on July 16, 2012.

“Hernandez allegedly shot him in the face on the morning of Feb. 13, 2013, and left him to die on the side of the road in Riviera Beach, Florida, after the witness made a remark about the homicides,” the office said in a news release.

The office did not identify the witness, but it is clear from several other court proceedings that it is former Hernandez friend Alexander Bradley.

Bradley has sued Hernandez in Florida, saying that on Feb. 13, 2013, he, Hernandez and two other men went to a strip club in Miami. According to court papers, Hernandez and Bradley got into an argument at the club and then again later. Prosecutors in the Lloyd case said in a filing made during that trial that Bradley then made “disrespectful remarks” about Hernandez.

“Shortly thereafter, the car pulled over in an isolated industrial area, where Bradley was shot between the eyes. The defendant exited the car and quickly dumped Bradley’s body on the ground before fleeing the scene,” according to a filing from the Bristol district attorney’s office.

Bradley was found soon after by people who worked in the area and he survived, although he lost an eye. He refused to cooperate with police at the time and no charges were brought in Florida.

While the shooting happened in Florida, Conley’s office said Hernandez could legally be prosecuted in Massachusetts because he is accused of willfully causing injury to a witness with the intent to impede a criminal investigation in Suffolk County.

David Jaroslawicz, Bradley’s civil lawyer, said it was “totally new” to him to hear prosecutors’ allegations that Bradley witnessed the 2012 shooting and that Hernandez shot him after Bradley made a remark about the killings.

“I know nothing about it,” he said. “This is the first I heard about it, you’re telling me.”

He said he did not think it would affect Bradley’s lawsuit.

Bradley was called by prosecutors to testify in the Lloyd trial, but the judge would not allow him to discuss the Florida shooting. Instead, he told jurors about how Hernandez had said he had a difficult time trusting people, including his friends.

Hernandez, a native of Bristol, Connecticut, is serving a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Lloyd’s killing. The witness intimidation charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

An arraignment has not yet been scheduled for the witness intimidation charge. A hearing on the murder charges is scheduled for May 21, although Hernandez is not expected to be in court.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Congressional Hearing Planned On Lip Showdown

By on May 12th, 2015 | Last updated: May 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm


©2015 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website.

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, May 12, 2015……….A congressional committee will hold a hearing on Gov. Rick Scott’s showdown with the federal government over health-care funding, but that meeting could come too late to help close a potential $2.2 billion hole in the state budget.

Scott announced Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., will have the House Energy & Commerce Committee look into the governor’s allegations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is trying to illegally coerce the state into accepting Medicaid expansion.

The agency has said that Medicaid expansion will be a factor as it weighs a proposed revision to the Low Income Pool, or LIP, program, but has not explicitly said that the state must expand coverage to receive any funding. The $2.2 billion LIP program, which mostly sends money to hospitals and other medical providers that care for large numbers of low-income patients, is set to expire June 30 unless state and federal officials reach an agreement.

“The committee’s hearing will bring much-needed attention to the Obama administration’s disappointing political power play at the expense of the health care of low-income families in our state,” Scott said in a statement issued by his office.

The governor has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration to attempt to block federal officials from factoring whether the state has expanded Medicaid into its decision on LIP. But federal officials say that they don’t want LIP to pay for the medical expenses of Floridians who could otherwise be covered by Medicaid.

The agency said last week that, at first blush, the state’s new LIP application “falls short of key principles” that federal officials will consider when weighing the program’s future, but a spokesman said Tuesday the agency “is continuing to engage” with the state.

A spokeswoman for Upton’s committee confirmed in an email that a hearing was being planned, but didn’t indicate whether it would come before June 30, the deadline for the Legislature and Scott to agree to a budget before state government could shut down.

“The committee, in its continued commitment to protect the Medicaid program so it is able to deliver on its core function of providing a lifeline for the most vulnerable, is keeping a close eye on the situation in Florida,” the spokeswoman said. “Chairman Upton spoke with Governor Scott today and the committee plans to hold a hearing in the coming months.”

Scott spent Tuesday in Washington, D.C., meeting with 14 members of the state’s congressional delegation as well as Upton and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Funding for LIP is part of a complex health-care logjam that has left legislative leaders unable to reach agreement on a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1. Hoping to encourage federal officials to approve the state’s LIP proposal, the state Senate offered a $2.8 billion initiative that would use Medicaid expansion funding to help low-income Floridians purchase private insurance.

But Scott and the state House adamantly oppose the expansion alternative, which would be funded through the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.


© 2015 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website.

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Police Release 911 Call From Shooting Incident Involving George Zimmerman

By and on May 12th, 2015 | Last updated: May 12, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Just before 1 p.m. Monday, George Zimmerman flagged down a Lake Mary police officer and said he had been shot at while in his vehicle, according to a Lake Mary Police Department press release. A 911 caller reported that Matthew Apperson claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Zimmerman sustained minor injuries. He was treated at an area hospital and released shortly after.

Police searched Apperson’s car and found two handguns, one of which had been fired, according to the press release. Zimmerman’s handgun was also found during the investigation, which is ongoing.

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In The News: Hernandez Charged With Witness Intimidation, Gator Stompin’ Organizer Files For Bankruptcy, Bush Allies With Non-Profit, Zimmerman Armed In Shooting, Scott Gives Up On Tax Cuts

By and on May 12th, 2015 | Last updated: May 12, 2015 at 3:06 pm
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Habitat For Humanity Build Programs Empower Women

By on May 12th, 2015 | Last updated: May 12, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Nail guns and table saws make more than just houses. When women construct with Alachua Habitat for Humanity Women Build, they build up themselves and other women.

On Saturday, around 40 volunteers joined Alachua Women Build to finish its eighth house. The group also celebrated National Women Build Week which ran from May 2-10.

Alachua Women Build was one of 300 affiliates nationwide that received a grant as part of its participation in the weeklong event that challenges women to help build affordable housing in their communities.

It received $5,000 in the form of a gift card from Lowes, which sponsors the week, and will spend the money purchasing tools and materials for future builds, according to Susan Vince of the Alachua Women Build steering committee.

The organization stands out among the affiliates participating in National Women Build Week. This women build is one of the few that is able to work year-round thanks to a dedicated women’s build group.

Saturday was just one event in an ongoing effort to empower women. Scott Winzeler, executive director of Alachua Habitat for Humanity, came out briefly to support the volunteers. A typical women build involves exclusively women, but Saturday’s build was coed, Winzeler said.

“One of the points of having a women build is that when men are not present, women are more willing to try and do things they might not do when men are around because they might feel embarrassed,” Vince said.

Women builds hopes to offer women the opportunity to learn new skills while building up a sense self-confidence and self-reliance along the way, according to Vince.

Through women build, 64-year-old Jill Carter has picked up a list of skills so long she couldn’t recall them all. She’s applied these lessons in her own home improvement by caulking two of her bathrooms and fixing her dishwasher.

“I almost never think of calling anyone,” Carter said.

She has only ever been to one coed build. After completing her first house, she was so excited with women’s build she went back to participate in a coed build close to the house she had previously been working on.

“All they wanted me to do was pick up nails and sweep floors,” she said.

She never returned to the coed builds because she felt they were more judgmental than the women builds. Men felt like women couldn’t perform certain tasks, so they were more likely to restrict women on builds.

Carter said she sees women’s build having the same effect on other women. They come in and say they could never be in charge, but after two or three weeks they become efficient and confident.

Just like Carter, many women are taking their skills and putting them to use at home. Other volunteers use women’s build as a way to prepare for their careers. Some are going into construction management programs, others are aspiring park rangers as well as construction attorneys.

And it’s not just the volunteers that are being empowered.

Lisa Brooks will own the house volunteers worked on this Saturday. She is a single mother, like 80 to 90 percent of Habitat’s family partners, Winzeler estimates.

As a family partner with Habitat, Brooks will have a down payment for her house, will have to pay the mortgage and attend homeowner education classes.

She has also put in 100 hours of work into another family’s house, and is in the process of putting 200 hours of work into her own house and completing 100 hours of community service. These are the requirements for Habitat for Humanity, no matter if the build itself is coed or women’s.

Every American family dreams of owning a home, according to Brooks, and thanks to Habitat for Humanity, she’s realizing that dream.

But women’s build adds a little something extra for her.

“God couldn’t have paired me with a group no better than women’s build,” she said. “Love is so expressed here.”

Brooks said the women are not simply there to get a job done. They have been there to make sure that she’s learning, loved and supported.

“Anyone can build a house,” she said. “It takes a special person to build a home.”

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Gainesville Police Department Recruiting Video Raises Concern

By on May 11th, 2015 | Last updated: May 11, 2015 at 8:59 pm

A Gainesville Police Department recruitment video has found itself at the center of controversy.

After an article published by The Economist raised concerns about some of the material used in the eight-and-a-half minute YouTube video, Chief Tony Jones switched the video from public to private mode Monday morning.

The video is a mix of public service and police action scenarios such as chasing suspects, making arrests, a hostage situation and weapons training. The action clips are responsible for the complaints.

Gainesville resident Nathan Collier brought The Economist article to the attention of Mayor Ed Braddy in an email.

Collier wrote that he was, “appalled and embarrassed beyond belief the City of Gainesville would recruit police officers based (sic) violence and video game style chases as versus neighborhood oriented, community relationship building skills.”

The video was made a year ago and cost $9,250 to produce, according to GDP spokesperson Ben Tobias.

Brittany King, a community organizer for Dream Defenders, said the video depicts Gainesville police as cracking down on crime and willing to use force immediately. King, 26, saw the video last year, and said it is not representative of Gainesville police. She said she thinks the video is how the police department wants to be perceived.

“I feel they want to push out an image that is more sensationalized than they actually are,” she said.

Tobias acknowledged how the video could be misconstrued.

“When we reviewed the video we definitely could see that there were parts of the video that in this day and age of policing were not appropriate for our time,” he said. Tobias said the department will work with Studio 601, a local production house, to edit the video.

However, it is not uncommon for a police department to create a short film to recruit officers.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has a four-minute recruitment video that plays in the police department’s lobby, but is not available online, said Art Forgey, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

“It’s not gonna be a fast-paced shoot-em-up video,” Forgey said. He said their video is slow and covers all the different aspects of being an officer.

For Fred Shenkman, an emeritus professor of criminology at the University of Florida, the GPD video is far from accurate. He said the department needs to find different ways to draw people into the profession, but it is also important to be realistic.

“Those are just non-representative of what law enforcement is really about,” he said.

Shenkman said the video was lacking how officers interact with the community.  He said police officers deal with the same issues as social workers.

“The most important thing the police do is interact with the public,” he said.

King shares a similar viewpoint as Shenkman. “When I see police, I see more of a civil servant more than an action hero,” King said.

But, residents like Collier are asking how GPD will change their recruiting procedures.

“What steps will the City take to reverse this dysfunctional recruiting orientation (& it’s cumulative impact over the years?) and institute a recruiting /training/retention/promotion policy properly oriented toward crises diffusion, situation de-escalation, win-win negotiation people skills,” he wrote in the email.

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Gators Introduce Michael White As New Men’s Basketball Coach

By on May 11th, 2015 | Last updated: May 11, 2015 at 5:03 pm
Michael White was formally introduced as the new Florida head men's basketball coach. White will replace Billy Donavon who spent 19 seasons as head coach for the Gators.

Michael White was formally introduced as the new Florida head men’s basketball coach. White will replace Billy Donavon who spent 19 seasons as head coach for the Gators. Thomas Lynn / WUFT News

Michael White was formally introduced as Florida men’s basketball coach Monday morning.

White, 38, is replacing Billy Donovan after he accepted a job as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s head coach. Donovan spent 19 seasons as the Gators’ head coach.

“It’s such a pleasure to join such a prestigious institution, a top ten public university in this country, and the most Googled university in the world,” White said.

Director of athletics Jeremy Foley introduced White, saying he was impressed with White’s reputation.

“We reached out to a lot of different people, and Mike’s name kept coming up aces,” Foley said.

White was the men’s basketball head coach at Louisiana Tech from 2011 to 2015. During his coaching tenure, he posted an overall record of 101-40 and had the highest winning percentage of any coach in school history.

He is familiar with the SEC, having played for the University of Mississippi men’s basketball team from 1995 to 1999. White is the son of Kevin White, the director of athletics at Duke University.

White said he is honored to take over for Donovan.

“It was a good job when (Donovan) got here, and now it’s a great job,” he said.

White looks forward to moving his family to Florida and getting to know the team.

When asked if he felt any trepidation about replacing Donovan, White said
he didn’t have any whatsoever.

White has been blown away by how much help the former Gator coach has been to him, Foley said. He said that White isn’t worried about being compared to Donovan.

“That doesn’t impact Mike White at all,” Foley said. “I think he’s excited about it.”

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