Naples FHP station shutting down on July 1
Updated 06/20/2011 at 2:17 p.m.
The Florida Highway Patrol will shutter its Naples station in July, following legislators’ decision to cut funding for the office and nine others in the state.
Is Mesac Damas competent for trial? 2 of 3 doctors say yes
Published 06/16/2011 at 3:57 p.m. 2 Comments
In a Thursday hearing to determine Damas’ competency to stand trial in the murder of his wife and five children, two psychologists and a pscyhiatrist offered differing depictions of the 34-year-old Naples cook. In one, he’s a sick man who ...
BLOG: Mesac Damas' competency hearing ends, judge says he'll release decision next week
Updated 06/16/2011 at 12:32 p.m.
The Mesac Damas competency hearing today concludes with the end of psychologist Frederick Schaerf's testimony, and Collier County Circuit Judge Franklin Baker promises to release a decision next week.
Judge: Samir Cabrera skipped drug tests, must remain on restrictive bond
Published 06/13/2011 at 8:03 p.m.
A federal judge denied former Fort Myers investor Samir Cabrera a less restrictive release during his pending appeal, citing multiple skipped drug tests and several failed check-ins with his probation officer.
Sheriff's Office refuses to take DNA swab from deputy accused of drug setup
Published 06/10/2011 at 8:51 p.m.
Commander Mike Williams told Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt the agency would not take a cheek swab from Cpl. Johnny Joe Cisnero, a patrol deputy accused by the defense in a case that hinges on Cisnero’s discovery of illegal oxycodone ...
Tables turned: Bank pays up in mistaken foreclosure case
Published 06/03/2011 at 6:41 p.m.
Warren and Maureen Nyerges know how difficult it can be to get Bank of America’s attention. When the lending giant mistakenly attempted to foreclose on the couple’s cash-purchased Golden Gate Estates home in 2010, they spent weeks on the phone ...
Bank of America cuts check for Estates couple in mistaken foreclosure case
Updated 06/03/2011 at 1:53 p.m.
When Bank of America tried to foreclose on Warren and Maureen Nyerges' fully-paid, Golden Gate Estates home last year, it was a mistake. When the couple's attorney arrived at a Bank of America branch Friday morning with deputies, a moving ...
Judge rules in favor of Beasley Broadcasting in Joe Scott/K-Rock case
Updated 05/31/2011 at 8:40 p.m. 1 Comment
A judge has ruled in favor of a Naples broadcasting company in a lawsuit against radio station 96 K-Rock for the actions of its former shock jock, Joe Scott.
Alligator Alley fire station addition expected to save lives
Published 05/27/2011 at 5:24 p.m.
In the coming years, responses could be nearer the scene and less burdensome for Ochopee. A provision within a transportation bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott designates funding for a new Ochopee EMS and fire station by a rest stop ...
Burned by the Babe: Pawn shop ‘duped’ into buying bogus Ruth-signed ball
Published 05/25/2011 at 7:34 p.m. 1 Comment
In the sports memorabilia world, a Babe Ruth signature can bring thousands of dollars. It can also bring headaches, as collectors and authenticators try to distinguish real signatures from an ever larger body of forgeries.
South Lee landowner seeks compensation for lost value due to mining restrictions
Published 05/24/2011 at 8:14 p.m.
Should a landowner be compensated when the most lucrative use of its property — but not the only use — is prohibited by the county? Resource Conservation Holdings, LLC, a landowner denied a rezoning for limestone mining on its Corkscrew ...
Both sides of Lee County mining dispute presented in court
Published 05/24/2011 at 1:38 p.m.
Should a landowner be compensated when the most lucrative use of its property — but not the only use — is rejected by the county?
Circuit ruling: Lee's fast-paced foreclosure docket not out-of-bounds
Published 05/23/2011 at 6:11 p.m.
The 20th Judicial Circuit did not overstep its jurisdiction when it created the rocket-docket, a special Lee County plan to expedite thousands of foreclosure cases, the circuit contends in a recent court brief.
Public boat launch at heart of Chokoloskee dispute that closed Mamie Street
Published 05/21/2011 at 5:30 p.m. 1 Comment
Long before it turned into a controversy, the 4.75 acres of waterfront land at the tip of Chokoloskee looked like an opportunity. Area property values were high and rising, the county needed public boat ramps and the Trust for Public ...
Former band director Hamberg receives 30 years in prison for sex with student
Published 05/19/2011 at 7:28 p.m.
A judge sentenced former Gulf Coast High School band director Robert Hamberg to 30 years in prison on Thursday, concluding a two-year sexual battery case and beginning new chapters for both offender and victim.
LIVE BLOG: Former Gulf Coast High band director Hamberg sentenced to 30 years in prison
Updated 05/19/2011 at 2:41 p.m.
Robert Hamberg, the former band director at Gulf Coast High School, is to be sentenced today on eight counts of lewd and lascivious sexual battery of a minor under the age of 16.
Former Gulf Coast band director to be sentenced today on sex battery charges
Published 05/18/2011 at 9:14 p.m.
Two years after his arrest on sexual battery charges, former Gulf Coast High School band director Robert Hamberg will face the music, so to speak.
Bonita juveniles accused of causing $13,000 in damage at historic Shangri-La Hotel
Updated 05/13/2011 at 2:39 p.m.
Six Bonita Springs teens have been arrested for causing nearly $13,000 worth of damage at the historical Shangri La Hotel & Resort.
VIDEO: Judge postpones competency hearing today for accused killer Damas
Updated 05/12/2011 at 4:30 p.m.
A judge postponed the scheduled competency hearing for accused killer Mesac Damas today, citing defense counsel's late receipt of a stack of records in the case.
Prosecutors: Samir Cabrera should face retrial because of ambiguous verdict form
Updated 05/06/2011 at 6:28 p.m.
Federal prosecutors argued Friday that they can retry former real estate agent Samir Cabrera on fraud and money laundering charges due to an "ambiguous" verdict form in his 2009 trial.
Double-jeopardy decision: Samir Cabrera to find out if he will face retrial
Published 05/05/2011 at 5:56 p.m.
Cabrera, 34, is accused of defrauding investors in a pair of south Fort Myers land deals by using their money to purchase properties flipped from another company he owned. He and his associates kept the difference, some $2.8 million in ...
Suspects in killing of Estero woman blame each other, indicate killing was over money
Published 04/27/2011 at 7:32 p.m.
In reports released Wednesday, detectives outlined the case against their two suspects, 24-year-old contractor Shane Steven Simpkins and his friend Christopher Allen Neuberger, 25, a man who only two years ago escaped a felony murder conviction — and a possible ...
$25,000 in cashed checks led to arrest in death of Estero grandmother
Updated 04/27/2011 at 10:52 a.m.
Days before Mary Ann Zarb's body was discovered in a remote stand of woods, checks written from her personal account were cashed for more than $25,000 by the man hired to renovate her house, detectives say.
Judge scolds family, friends of Dylan Nuno about letters to court
Updated 04/26/2011 at 6:46 p.m.
The judge in the case of a 15-year-old student accused of fatally stabbing a classmate issued a stern warning to family and friends of the victim today, rebuking their attempt to sway the court through a letter writing campaign.
Letter campaign hopes to clear Dylan Nuno's name, attacks accused killer
Published 04/25/2011 at 9:03 p.m.
Letters dispute the notion that Nuno was a bully and ask that his accused killer, 15-year-old Jorge Saavedra, not be judged lightly
Hamberg found guilty of sex with student
Updated 04/14/2011 at 9:15 p.m. 2 Comments
The former Gulf Coast High School band director who touted his closeness to his students will go to prison for being too intimate with one in particular.
LIVE BLOG: Hamberg guilty on all counts lewd and lascivious battery
Updated 04/14/2011 at 8:43 p.m.
Today is day four of the Robert Hamberg trial and the third day of testimony in the case. We're expecting a rebuttal witness this morning, followed by closing arguments, jury instructions and deliberations.
Oral argument: Tongue-tied band director's defense in sex-with-student trial
Updated 04/13/2011 at 6:47 p.m.
Hamberg, 53, at one point opened his mouth for jurors to show them he was medically “tongue-tied,” and unable to stick his tongue beyond his teeth.
LIVE BLOG: Band director testifies about his previous tenure in Georgia
Updated 04/13/2011 at 3:22 p.m.
The state is expected to wrap its case today, with several more witnesses to take the stand. One will be Frank Pilarski, the Collier County Sheriff's detective who worked the case.
Teen takes stand, tells about sex with Gulf Coast High band director
Published 04/12/2011 at 6:22 p.m.
A former student testified Tuesday that she once loved the former Gulf Coast High School band director, sought to protect him and hesitated to tell adults about a sexual relationship between the two when she was only 15.
LIVE BLOG: Accuser testifies against former band director
Updated 04/12/2011 at 3:49 p.m.
Today is day two of the trial of former Gulf Coast High band director Robert Hamberg. Opening statements are expected shortly.
Trial begins Monday for man accused of killing Immokalee teen
Updated 04/10/2011 at 6:59 p.m.
Teddy Osceola told detectives he killed Immokalee teenager Ricky Trevino with a shotgun after the two argued over a drug rip-off. He guided them to the body, which he said he dumped off a rural road in the Big Cypress ...
Trial starts Monday for accused band teacher Robert Hamberg
Published 04/09/2011 at 3:51 p.m.
Robert Hamberg’s story was written nearly two years ago, when sheriff’s deputies entered his home with a pair of search warrants — one for his house, and one for his body.
Collier attorneys hosting free legal clinic Saturday
Published 04/08/2011 at 9:56 a.m.
For those forced to represent themselves, or anyone else in need of legal advice, the Collier County Bar Association is hosting a free legal clinic on Saturday.
Judge sets May hearing to determine Damas' competence in death penalty case
Published 04/08/2011 at 9:12 a.m.
A judge has set a May hearing to determine the competence of defendant Mesac Damas in his death penalty case.
The face of foreclosure: Rocket-docket contested by ACLU petition
Updated 04/07/2011 at 8:13 p.m.
A 40-year-old paramedic juggling her husband's medical bills and the loss of her Cape Coral home is the face of an effort to transform Lee County's expedited foreclosure system.
ACLU to seek appeals court review of circuit foreclosure courts
Updated 04/06/2011 at 6:25 p.m.
ACLU lawyers will seek the closing of the 20th Judicial Circuit's foreclosure courts in a petition to the Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland, the foundation announced on Wednesday.
Court records: Parents of Alex Crain considered selling gun used to kill them
Published 04/05/2011 at 5:19 p.m.
The documents, released under the state's public records law, depict a typical teenager chafing against the strict rules set at home by his parents. The sudden violence — two gunshots on a Friday morning — shocked those who knew the ...
Bond set at $150,000 for housekeeper accused of stealing; more victims come forward
Published 04/01/2011 at 4:18 p.m.
A Bonita Springs housekeeper accused of stealing from her clients can pay $150,000 to get out of jail, provided she proves the money wasn't gained illegally.
Attorneys meet about charges in case of former Gulf Coast band director accused of sex with student
Published 04/01/2011 at 11 a.m.
Attorneys in the case of former Gulf Coast High band director Robert Hamberg met Friday to discuss the charging document in the matter, one of two final hearings scheduled before the April 11 trial.
Deputies: Man brags about 7 previous arrests during recent domestic violence charge
Updated 03/30/2011 at 6:31 p.m.
A woman accused her boyfriend of choking her but refused to provide a sworn statement, told deputies: “They keep lettin’ him out. Why bother?” arrest reports said.
Man accused of boat theft ring a no-show for trial
Published 03/29/2011 at 12:14 p.m. 2 Comments
A Miami man facing federal charges in an alleged boat theft ring that stretched between Marco Island and Pinellas County failed to appear at his trial Tuesday morning, leading a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Cockfighting operation busted in Lee County
Updated 03/29/2011 at 12:19 p.m.
Lee County deputies and animal control officials shuttered a sophisticated rooster breeding operation here on Tuesday, arresting three men and confiscating 261 chickens raised and bred for top dollar in cockfighting circles.
Circuit court faces funding shortfall, case delays
Published 03/24/2011 at 9:48 p.m.
Court administrators for the 20th Judicial Circuit say they lack operating funds for the final two months of fiscal year 2010-11, the result of a dramatic decline in new foreclosure cases.
Former Collier deputy accused of molesting teen at Coastland Center mall makes court appearance
Published 03/16/2011 at 10:11 a.m. 1 Comment
A former Collier County deputy accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy at Coastland Center mall made a brief appearance in court on Wednesday.
Investigation ongoing in 15-month-old's drowning
Published 03/15/2011 at 1 p.m.
One month after a Golden Gate toddler drowned in her bathtub, an investigation into the child’s death is ongoing, authorities say.
Mental health issues "epic" in case of boy charged with killing parents, defense attorney says
Published 03/10/2011 at 7:38 p.m.
The attorney's statements, emphasized to reporters outside a Thursday hearing for the 14-year-old, are the strongest statements yet suggesting a motive or cause behind the slayings.
$1 million bond set for 14-year-old accused of killing parents
Published 03/10/2011 at 2:49 p.m.
A day after he traded his blue juvenile detention jumpsuit for the orange of the Collier County jail, teenager Alex Crain was told he'll have to post a $1 million bond before being released.
14-year-old Alex Crain, charged as adult in parents' shooting deaths, back in court today
Published 03/10/2011 at 9:58 a.m.
Alex Crain, the Golden Gate Estates 14-year-old arrested in the shooting deaths of his parents, will appear on Thursday before a Collier Circuit judge, who will determine whether to set a bond for the teenager.
14-year-old Alex Crain charged as adult, manslaughter for killing parents
Updated 03/09/2011 at 8:51 p.m.
Alex Crain, the Golden Gate Estates 14-year-old arrested in the shooting deaths of his parents, has been formally charged as an adult with two counts of manslaughter with a firearm.