RINGLEADER OF FAMU HAZING DEATH TO BE SENTENCED
A former Florida A&M University band member is set to be sentenced after being convicted last year of manslaughter and felony hazing in the death of a drum major. Dante Martin is facing more than 20 years in prison Friday in the beating death of 26-year-old Robert Champion during a brutal hazing ritual aboard a parked bus following a football game. Martin was convicted in October during a trial in which prosecutors said he was the ringleader of the ritual.
HISTORIC PENNY SELLS FOR $2 MILLION AT ORLANDO AUCTION
A penny that was one of the first coins to be issued by the U.S. Mint in 1793 has sold at auction in Orlando for $2.3 million. Heritage Auctions says that a collector who wants to remain anonymous won the bid Wednesday night. The auction was held in Orlando during a convention of coin enthusiasts. The penny was called a “Chain Cent” originally because the tail’s side design prominently shows a chain with 13 rings, symbolizing the original 13 colonies.
33RD ANNUAL KEY WEST LITERARY SEMINAR EXPLORES INEXPLICABLE
Leading American and international writers are exploring literature’s relationship to the inexplicable during the 33rd annual Key West Literary Seminar. The sold-out event, themed “How the Light Gets In: Literature of the Spirit,” began Thursday night with an address by Pico Iyer, author of “The Open Road” about his 30 years of conversations with the Dalai Lama. More than 450 registrants are gathered in Key West for readings, lectures and panel discussions.
PLEA HEARING SET FOR MUSIC PROMOTER CHARGED IN $300M FRAUD
A plea hearing is set in South Florida for a former top-name music promoter accused of operating his company as a Ponzi scheme that fleeced investors out of $300 million. Jack Utsick was scheduled for arraignment Friday afternoon on mail fraud charges. Utsick was extradited last month from Brazil, where he fled in 2006 amid investigations by the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission.
$8.5 MILLION BRIDGE UPGRADE TO BEGIN IN NE FLORIDA
An important bridge that connects Duval and Clay counties is getting an $8.3 million upgrade of its structure and supports. Officials say that drivers on the Buckman Bridge, a 3.2-mile span that is part of Interstate 295, will not likely be affected because most of the work is being done beneath the bridge. The span was finished in the 1970s and widened in the 1990s. It carries about 125,000 vehicles every day.