TAMPA — He went to jail Ronnie Bridgeman, a frightened 17-year-old with no previous record and no thoughts on what it would mean to spend a lifetime in prison or to be dealt a death sentence.
He left Kwame Kamau Ajamu, a 45-year-old man wrongly imprisoned, months from being executed.
Ajamu, a Cleveland native, told his story Saturday before a crowd in Tampa hoping to end the death penalty....
A new study has scientists wondering if artificially sweetened beverages can cause strokes and dementia.
Research published on Thursday in the American Heart Association's journal, Stroke, shows that participants who had at least one artificially sweetened drink a day were nearly three times more likely to develop a stroke or dementia than those who drank such a beverage fewer than once a week....
Let me take you on a mystical journey.
It involves adversity, triumph and a swirly pink beverage that is probably the most Instagram-able drink of 2017 for around $5.
Starbucks released its Unicorn Frappuccino on Wednesday. The coffee giant says the "magic" frap will be available in stores until April 23, or until supplies last.
It's meant to be elusive, like the horned mystical creature that inspired the confectionery (and caffeine-free) creation. And the internet is going totally bonkers over it. By noon Wednesday, more than 10,000 photos were posted to Instagram marked "#unicornfrappuccino" and Twitter was exploding with opinions. ...
04/18/17 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — Amy DeWitt promised her mother she'd always wear a bullet-resistant vest when she became a St. Petersburg police officer.
So every morning, she put on the vest underneath her uniform. The gear was bulky — and hot. Between the vest, her equipment and her sidearm, DeWitt was wearing an extra 24 pounds.
That was until Tuesday, when the department rolled out new custom-made, bullet-resistant vests. The new vests are lighter and more comfortable than the old ones, yet offer better protection....
ST. PETERSBURG — George Hall had made mistakes.
He spent some of his 20s on the wrong side of the law, with a cocaine conviction in 2010, but he turned things around, his sister said.
The 37-year-old worked to encourage others to do the same. He cried when his niece signed commitment papers for college.
The streets wouldn't get her, he said. She had a chance to do better....
PALM HARBOR — A 20-year-old man faces attempted murder charges after Pinellas deputies say he tried to choke out a 75-year-old woman with a metal dog leash.
Prior to the altercation, the two were walking their dogs.
The drama didn't end there. The man's brothers were arrested, too, for how the Sheriff's Office says they treated the responding deputies.
The Sheriff's Office got a call at 3:30 p.m. Thursday of an assault occurring at 754 First Court. Deputies said they saw Emanuel Qosaj on top of the 75-year-old woman, battering and choking her....
04/13/17 Human Interest
Noah Stafford of Lakeland looks like your typical Florida grandpa, clad in a white polo and a University of Florida Gators ball cap.
On his 66th birthday, he sat down as a group of his children and grandchildren watched him tear into a brown cardboard box.
"Color for the color blind," he read. "Well, I am color blind."
Soon a voice behind the camera filming explains that they're special glasses that could make Stafford see the world like the rest of his family does every day....
04/12/17 Human Interest
As if Tampa Bay's beaches weren't enough to draw in tourists, a travel website has ranked the area as the No. 1 spot to take a vacation with your pet.
Yes, the Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater region of the Sunshine State is considered the most pet-friendly city in the country, according to RewardExpert, which helps travelers use their points and miles to plan flights.
The group's researchers say they have the data to back up the claim: Tampa Bay has the most pet-friendly hotels per capita, as well as an above-average number of pet-friendly activities. ...
If you grew up sneaking dollops of cookie dough off the baking sheet before your mom popped them in the oven and are wondering if a cookie dough cafe in New York City's Greenwich Village is worth an hourslong wait, it is.
If you're wondering if it's worth a trip from Florida to New York City, I'm not going to tell you to book a plane ticket. But I'm also not going to tell you not to....
HOLIDAY — A Pasco County alligator had to take a detour past the recliners before making it back to his home in a lake behind a furniture store this week.
This is Florida, after all, where sometimes it makes more sense to drag a gator on a leash through a store rather than around it.
Pasco deputies got a call on Wednesday that an alligator was hanging out in the American Freight Furniture and Mattress parking lot, under a silver Honda....
Jatha Royal Jr. was walking home after a Saturday night selling snacks along the sidewalks of Ybor City when Tampa police said a pickup truck plowed into him in February.
The truck backed up. The driver saw Royal on the ground. Then he drove away.
Royal, 36, died on the street in an intersection without a marked crosswalk. His family said he was just five minutes from his house.
In two days one of the iconic colors in Crayola's 24-pack of crayons will be no more.
The crayon company says it will retire one of the shades and put it into their "hall of fame" Friday, "National Crayon Day."
Crayola is going all out on social media for the shade's send-off. There's a live countdown until it will make the announcement, which will be streamed live. (Because this is 2017, is there anything people won't watch on Facebook live?)...
ST. PETERSBURG — The mixed martial arts fighter accused of leaving a University of South Florida student critically injured during St. Patrick's Day revelry was catcalling women right before he threw what police are calling a "sucker" punch.
New details about the incident were revealed in the arrest report of Zachary Kenneth Allen, the 23-year-old trained fighter accused of assaulting Brian Neal, 26....
03/24/17 Public Safety
LAKELAND — Kiaron Thomas went to iHop this week and decided to enjoy his pancakes in the middle of a crosswalk at Memorial Boulevard and Brunnell Parkway.
Police didn't seem to find the humor in the strange prank, and now the 21-year-old faces charges he placed an obstruction in the roadway and disrupted the flow of traffic....
03/23/17 Human Interest
Today, March 23, is National Puppy Day.
I know, I know: It seems like every other day is national something day. But the origins of puppy day actually have some merit — as well as a little bark and bite.
There's a National Puppy Day website that explains this all in detail. In short: The day was created by a real person, not just a Twitter hashtag. ...