TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Monday, January 14.
(1) St. Petersburg Pier mediation delay hearing
A Pinellas County judge will hear arguments on Monday to delay a court-ordered mediation between the City of St. Petersburg and the VoteOnThePier group.
Attorney Kathleen Ford's VoteOnThePier.com filed a lawsuit against the city to force a citywide vote on the future of the St. Petersburg Pier.
Circuit Court Judge Amy Williams ordered the city and Ford to go into mediation on December 5. The City of St. Petersburg requested a delay to the mediation hearing, which is currently scheduled for January 18.
VoteOnThePier claims the city is trying to delay the mediation hearing until it is too later to save the St. Pete Pier. Currently the Pier is scheduled to be closed at the end of May and demolished in August.
Today's mediation delay hearing will take place at the St. Petersburg Courthouse at 9:30 a.m.
(2) Courtnee Brantley federal re-trial
The federal re-trial of Courtnee Brantley is scheduled to begin in U.S. Federal Court in Tampa on Monday.
Brantley is charged with misprision of a felony. Authorities say she concealed her boyfriend, Dontae Morris, was a felon in possession of a firearm.
Morris is accused of shooting and killing Tampa police officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab during a traffic stop on June 29, 2010. Brantley was the driving the vehicle when the officers pulled her over.
During her first trial on the same charge, U.S. District Judge James Moody declared a mistrial after jurors deadlocked on a verdict after eight hours of deliberations.
The trial begins at 9:00 a.m. today with jury selection.
(3) Mervin Bettis murder trial begins
The third degree murder trial of Mervin Bettis is scheduled to begin in Tampa on Monday.
Authorities say Bettis tried to shoplift $1,112.90 worth of merchandise from the Target store at 11627 Hillsborough Avenue West on May 27, 2011.
A Target Loss Prevention Agent, who saw Bettis attempting to leave the store with the merchandise, tried to restrain Bettis as he exited the store. A struggle ensued between the two men.
A uniformed Target security guard then responded to aid the agent. The struggle continued for four minutes outside the Target store until the agent was able to handcuff Bettis.
The 65-year-old guard then began experiencing shortness of breath. The guard was transported to Town and Country Hospital was he died.
It is believed the guard suffered a heart attack due to the heightened physical exertion during the intense struggle with Bettis. Because of that prosecutors decided to upgrade the charges against Bettis to Third Degree Felony Murder.
The trial is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa.
(4) Bubba the Love Sponge Clem vs. Todd "MJ" Schnitt
The civil defamation trial between Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and Todd "MJ" Schnitt is scheduled to begin in Tampa on Monday.
Schnitt is seeking damages of more than $15,000 from Clem and Cox Radio. He claims Bubba the Love Sponge made "highly offensive, insulting or fighting words and defamatory statements" on his broadcast about him and his wife Michelle.
One of the claims Schnitt is making is Bubba said Michelle, a former assistant state's attorney, influenced Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober to charge Clem with animal cruelty over a radio stunt in which Clem slaughtered a boar live on the air.
The trial is expected to last approximately three weeks.
(5) Rays 4th annual Winter Development Program
The Tampa Bay Rays hold the team's 4th annual Winter Development Program on Monday.
Thirty-one select minor league players, including 15 former first-round or first-round supplemental draft picks, will be at Tropicana Field for four days. The players will work out each day, receive media training, and get instruction from Rays minor league coaches.
The players will also visit MacDill Air Force Base and the Pinellas Park Boys and Girls Club.
Rays open spring training for pitchers on Wednesday, February 13 at Charlotte Sports Park. The first full-squad workout is Sunday, February 17.
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