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Conviction overturned in murder for hire case

(Information in the following story is from: The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, )

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - An appeals court has overturned the conviction of a South Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to hire someone to kill her husband of just six months.

Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal released an opinion Wednesday, ruling that the judge in 31-year-old Dalia Dippolito's first trial was wrong for not questioning prospective jurors individually about pre-trial publicity.

Dippolito was convicted in 2011 of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Boynton Beach police say Dippolito offered a hit man - who was actually an undercover police officer - $3,000 to kill her husband in August 2009.

Dippolito's attorney argued that she thought she was being recorded as part of a hoax to get her husband, Michael, on a reality TV show.

No date has been set for Dippolito's new trial.


Charge dropped against state official

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutors in Orlando have dropped a misdemeanor charge of violating public meeting law against a former official with the Florida Department of Transportation.

Prosecutors said Wednesday they have dropped the charge against former public affairs worker Rebekah Hammond, and she will now be available to testify against the two remaining defendants.

Former Florida House member Chris Dorworth and former Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority board member Scott Batterson still each face a misdemeanor charge of violating public meetings law.

They are all accused of participating in meetings and communicating through third parties information related to business before the expressway board.

Batterson also faces a bribery-related charge.

Both are pleading not guilty.


Woman, 2 children killed in I-10 crash

(Information in the following story is from: Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat, )

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a woman and two children from Alabama are dead following a crash on Interstate 10 in the Florida Panhandle.

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that 64-year-old Diane Downey was heading east in a Chevrolet Impala, just a few miles east of Tallahassee, on Tuesday when her back end hit the front of a Honda Accord. The collision sent the Impala spinning into oncoming traffic, where it crashed head on with a semi-trailer.

Downey and her passengers - a 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy - died in the crash. All three were from Thomasville, Alabama.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that the truck driver was taken to a nearby hospitable with minor injuries. His 4-year-old passenger was uninjured.

No injuries were reported to the Accord's driver or her infant passenger.

No citations were immediately reported.


Price tag for new Tampa area expressway is $454M

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Florida Department of Transportation officials say a new expressway linking two major roads in the Tampa Bay area will cost about $454 million - about $116 million more than first announced.

Most of the extra expense is from buying right-of-way along the route, a cost estimated at $93.5 million.

The expressway will eventually link Interstate 275 and U.S. 19, and the unfunded project has been moved forward by as much as 20 years.

The Tampa Tribune reports that DOT officials revealed the cost of right-of-way purchases to the Pinellas County Commission at a workshop Tuesday. They also announced that the toll to drive elevated sections to avoid stoplights will be 75 cents and that the five-year construction schedule also could make life complicated for the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.


Jackson-Orlando flights in works with Allegiant

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Low-cost carrier Allegiant Air and Jackson airport officials are awaiting federal approval of two direct flights a week to and from Orlando, Florida.

The airline is seeking a subsidy from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Mississippi Business Journal reports flights offered by the Nevada-based commercial and charter airline would land at Orlando/Sanford International, a small airport in the Central Florida city of Sanford about 15 miles north of Orlando.

Access to Orlando and its theme parks is made easier through a toll expressway that rings the entire metro area, including Sanford.

Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International lost direct service to Orlando with the June departure of Southwest Airlines.

The airline and the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority reached the agreement this week.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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