The 2008 trial of Chucky Taylor in Miami federal court was a sort of homecoming for a young man whose adolescence in Florida had been like so many others bored with the suburbs and longing for absent fathers. The surreal journey Taylor took from Florida to Liberia and then back to stand trial for torture is the subject of AMERICAN WARLORD. Through public records requests, trial transcripts, interviews in the U.S. and Liberia and letters from Taylor himself, journalist Johnny Dwyer tried to piece together what happened to Taylor that made him such a unique catch for U.S. authorities.
Pioneering dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt, an early proponent of Botox who was also an author, radio host and frequent television talk show guest, has died. He was 65. Miami police spokeswoman Frederica Burden said officers found Brandt at his home in the Coconut Grove section of Miami about 9:15 a.m. Sunday after a friend contacted them. Burden said Brandt apparently hanged himself and that foul play is not suspected.
Federal transportation officials are investigating a crash that killed eight members of a Florida church who were riding in a type of van that has raised safety alarms for many years. It is unknown what caused the overloaded 15-passenger van to plunge into a ravine on a dark stretch of rural roadway, but the tragedy is giving fresh exposure to repeated warnings about the vehicles popular with budget-minded houses of worship, schools and other nonprofits.
Frank Ancona, imperial wizard of the KKK group to which the three men were said to belong, did not confirm or deny their membership. Ancona said: We at the TAK do not in any way condone, tolerate, or support any type of illegal activity in our organization and because of this we would stand by any of our members pending a decision by a court of law, not a decision of the court of media or public opinion.
The congregants of a close-knit Haitian church gathered around Nicolas Alexis, hoping to learn what happened to 18 friends and loved ones who had been expected to return that morning from a late Palm Sunday service. Alexis described how he frantically tried to check who was alive after their overloaded church van crashed in the darkness in rural southwest Florida. Three men who had been seated near the 57-year-old died. Alexis said he kicked out a window to escape. Alexis said: I just know there is a God.
Two particularly hungry, exotic termite species apparently have found love halfway around the world and, as with so many other Florida hook-ups, the results are disturbing. Each termite invaded Florida, probably through cargo shipments, several decades ago, but experts believed the colonies did not mingle because their above-ground mating swarms launched in different months. That is, until University of Florida researcher Thomas Chouvenc noticed something unusual: The two species were flying around looking for mates at the same time - and they were giving each other that look.
Animal rights groups that want a captive killer whale removed from Miami Seaquarium have asked federal appeals judges to send their lawsuit against the tourist attraction and the U.S. Department of Agriculture back to a U.S. district court. The case concerns an orca named Lolita that has lived at the Seaquarium since 1970. Last year, a federal judge in Miami dismissed a lawsuit filed by the groups, alleging that the tank that holds Lolita violates USDA standards for its care under the Animal Welfare Act.