Wrestler Rocky Johnson, Dwayne Johnson’s father, dead at 75
The father of actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has died. Rocky Johnson was 75. WWE announced Johnson's death on Wednesday night. Johnson and Tony Atlas became the first black world tag team champions in WWE history when they defeated The Wild Samoans on Dec. 10, 1983. Johnson later helped train his son, who adopted the Rocky moniker from his father.
Trump impeachment manager is former police chief in Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Val Demings knows what it takes to prosecute a case. For 27 years, Demings worked for the Orlando Police Department, culminating with her being appointed the agency's first female chief more than a dozen years ago. On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named her as one of seven impeachment managers who will present the case against President Donald Trump in the U.S. Senate. Demings reminded colleagues about her law enforcement background during last month's impeachment proceedings in the House. Demings serves on two committees that played crucial roles in the House impeachment proceedings _ Judiciary and Intelligence.
Physical therapist charged with killing his wife, 3 children
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida have charged a physical therapist with killing his wife, their three young children and a dog in an affluent suburb near Walt Disney World. Osceola County's sheriff on Wednesday said that Anthony Todt faces homicide charges for the deaths of his wife and their three children whose ages ranged from 4 to 13. The sheriff says that Todt confessed to the slayings and was cooperating with detectives. The bodies were discovered Monday in Celebration, a community located near Disney World. Authorities believe the victims were killed in late December. Todt had a physical therapy practice in Connecticut.
Commission investigating Florida high school massacre sued
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Student and civil rights groups are suing the commission investigating the 2018 Florida high school massacre, saying it illegally adjourned a recent meeting before the public could speak. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Tallahassee on behalf of several groups against the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. The SPLC said the commission violated state law when it adjourned its October meeting nearly three hours before its agenda said public comments would be heard. An attorney for the commission declined comment. The commission investigates the 2018 shooting that left 17 dead.
TELEGRAPH ERA ENDS
News flash from Florida legislators: Telegraph era is over
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers are transmitting a news bulletin: The telegraph era is over. Before there was instant messaging, emails and even corded telephones, there was the reliable telegraph to instantaneously transmit messages far and wide. While thumbing through the state's laws, a Florida lawmaker came upon old statutes regulating the telegraph industry. He found the laws meaningless in the era of the internet, smartphones and emojis. So he wants those pages ripped out of the state's laws. A state House committee on Wednesday agreed, telegraphing the end of an era.
Sheriff: Florida deputy fatally shoots carjacking suspect
MULBERRY, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a Florida deputy fatally shot an armed man several hours after a stolen pickup truck he was riding in ran over a police detective in another county. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says 31-year-old Aaron Phillips was killed Wednesday while fighting with a deputy at a mobile home park near Mulberry. A woman who had been with Phillips, 36-year-old April Thompson, was hospitalized with two gunshot wounds. In neighboring Hillsborough County on Wednesday morning, a Plant City detective was run over while trying to approach Phillips and Thompson's truck. Judd says nearby law enforcement agencies were told about the pair after they carjacked another truck.
Florida lawmakers weigh stiffer penalties for bear poaching
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers are considering stiffer penalties for killing bears, which were once imperiled but now a growing nuisance in some areas. While it's still illegal to hunt bears in the state, some lawmakers want to increase fines and other penalties because of poaching. The bears used to number in the low hundreds in the 1970s and were declared a threatened species. But the bear population in Florida has exploded, with about 4,000 of the animals now roaming the state. Rising populations — in bears and humans — are spawning clashes as bears and people encroach on each other's habitat.
CREW TEAM-FATAL CRASH
1 dead, others injured in Holy Cross college crew van crash
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A 20-year-old member of Holy Cross women's crew team has died and several of her teammates are being treated for serious injures after their van crashed in Florida. Vero Beach police say the van was carrying roughly 12 students from College of The Holy Cross in Massachusetts when the driver turned left into the path of a truck Wednesday morning. Police spokesman Darrell Rivers said officers rescued three girls who had been trapped in the van, noting the students suffered very serious injuries and that some had already undergone surgery. The college said 20-year-old Grace Rett was killed in the crash. She celebrated her 20th birthday Tuesday.
Florida could expand law to compensate wrongfully imprisoned
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida could expand a law to compensate people imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit under a bill unanimously approved by a House committee. Florida law currently allows wrongfully incarcerated prisoners to received $50,000 for each year they were imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit. But it doesn't allow people to make a claim if they were previously convicted of an unrelated violent crime. The bill before the House would strip that so-called clean hands provision from current law. Lawmakers considering the legislation have heard from a former death row inmate who was exonerated in a killing.
CHILD SHOT-GROCERY LOT
Child left in car in Florida finds dad's gun, shoots himself