Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.
SENTENCING DAY FOR CHIEF OF $800M INSURANCE FRAUD
The mastermind of an $800 million insurance scam that stands as one of the largest fraud schemes in Florida history is being sentenced by a federal judge. A hearing is set Friday for Joel Steinger, former chief of Fort Lauderdale-based Mutual Benefits Corp. Steinger faces up to 50 years behind bars after pleading guilty in March to mail and wire fraud conspiracy charges. Steinger’s lawyer is seeking a more lenient penalty.
AMAZON’S NEW REGIONAL FULFILLMENT CENTER OPENS
More than 400 employees have reported to work at Amazon’s new regional order fulfillment center in central Florida. The Internet giant’s first order shipped from its new Lakeland center on Wednesday. The CreativeWare 2-Tier Buffet Server went to a customer in New York. The 1-million-square-foot warehouse is the company’s first in Florida. A second warehouse will open soon in nearby Hillsborough County.
2 SHOCKED, 1 FATALLY, IN ST. AUGUSTINE
Authorities say two men were shocked — one fatally — after one used a chain saw in an attempt to clear fallen tree branches from a power line. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office reports that someone on Thursday reported a fire after hearing three loud booms behind a house in St. Augustine.
MAN FACES LIFE SENTENCE FOR FATAL ROBBERY
A central Florida man is facing a mandatory life sentence after being convicted in a fatal home invasion. A Polk County jury found 33-year-old Christopher Batchelor guilty Thursday of first-degree murder, armed burglary, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit burglary of a structure. Sentencing was delayed to Friday so 36-year-old Homero Arteaga’s family could be present.
DEPUTY FATALLY SHOOTS SWORD-WIELDING MAN
Authorities say a Tampa Bay area deputy fatally shot a man who was wielding a samurai sword during a domestic battery call. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports that deputies responded to a Bradenton home Thursday morning after a woman called authorities claiming that her son had attacked her. As deputies approached the home, officials say 31-year-old Terry M. Sellars Jr. came out the front door and charged them with a large sword over his head.