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New Orleans street performer pleads guilty to 1974 killing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A New Orleans street performer known as "Uncle Louie" admitted to killing a Florida store owner in 1974 and walked out of a courthouse a free man after being given credit for under a year he had spent in jail.

The Florida Times-Union reports 61-year-old Johnie Lewis Miller pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday in the shooting death of 34-year-old Freddie Farah at his Jacksonville food store. Cold-case investigators matched Miller's fingerprints last year.

News outlets report the then-17-year-old Miller killed the grocer. No money was taken from the cash register.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson says the case against him was weak because the key witness died in December.

But instead of dropping charges, a deal that involves admitting guilt and answering the family's gnawing questions was worked out.


Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union,

Florida State's Martin closes in on NCAA baseball win record

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Mike Martin has seen college baseball grow on and off the diamond during his 39 seasons roaming Florida State's dugout.

And the Seminoles coach has won along the way - a lot.

Martin, who has 1,973 wins, needs three more to pass Augie Garrido for the most victories in NCAA baseball history. He could get the milestone this weekend when Florida State hosts Miami in a three-game series. If it doesn't happen this weekend, Florida State's next series wouldn't be until May 5, when the Seminoles open a three-game set at Clemson.

While Martin has fielded more calls from friends and former players as he nears the record, the 74-year old coach has tried to keep the focus on his team. The Seminoles (29-14) are just 7-6 this month.

"I can honestly say that getting the record means a lot to me, but at the present time it doesn't mean as much as getting our team pointed in the right direction," he said. "We have some young men that are struggling and they're pressing. It's my job as a coach to try to get them in a good mood."

Martin moved into second place during the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in 2016. But it wasn't until Garrido resigned at Texas two years ago that Martin's chase of the record truly began. While Garrido's 1,975 victories came at five different schools, including San Francisco State, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton and Illinois, all of Martin's has come at his alma mater, which is an NCAA record.

Martin said the last time he saw Garrido was at the College World Series last year. Garrido died on March 15 after suffering a stroke.

Mark Marquess, who retired last year after 41 seasons at Stanford, had a friendly rivalry with both coaches. Even though both had different personalities - Marquess said Garrido was more gregarious while Martin was more laid back - the thing they had in common was being authentic and successful.

"What I liked about both guys was what you see is what you get. They don't put on any airs and those qualities are reflected in their players," Marquess said. "I know they were my two idols and helped mentor young coaches."

Martin graduated from Florida State in 1966 before returning as an assistant in 1975 for Woody Woodward (1975-78) and Dick Howser (1979). When Howser was hired to manage the New York Yankees in October of 1979, Martin was promoted to head coach.

Things were a little different when he Martin managed his first game on Feb. 24, 1980, - coincidentally against Miami:

- ESPN had been on the air less than six months.

- Getting a pitcher who could throw 90 miles per hour or above was like winning the lottery.

- College baseball was still mostly a niche sport, dominated by warm weather schools in the South and West.

Going into this weekend's series, all three games will be televised and most of FSU's pitchers can regularly throw over 90. Martin said the biggest change he has seen is the increased talent level throughout the nation.

"We've got seven guys that throw 90. We used to have one or two and think, "Yeah!" Now we got seven," Martin said. "You got an arms race going. And that's good, because people come to see the spectacle."

What hasn't changed is Florida State's place as a national contender.

Martin's .736 winning percentage is the highest among active coaches. The Seminoles have won 40 or more games and reached the NCAA Tournament 40 straight seasons. Both are the longest active streaks in the nation.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, who is one of 49 players under Martin that have reached the majors, regularly keeps in touch with his former coach and says the run of consistency continues to surprise him.

"His enthusiasm and knowledge of the game is pretty incredible to think about," Posey said. "It could be the middle of August and he is yelling and bringing that enthusiasm to practice."

ESPN baseball analyst Eduardo Perez, who played for Martin from 1989-91 before a 13-year career in the majors, said Martin's attention to teaching the fundamentals on and off the field remain as strong as ever.

"When I left Florida State I might not have a national championship but I knew I was ready to encounter anything at the professional level," he said. "I was fundamentally sound and mentally prepared."

Florida State has accomplished everything except winning a national championship. Martin's teams have made 16 trips to the College World Series - including last year - but have only reached the finals twice (1986 and '99).

Even though Martin has made no secret of how much he wants the wins record, getting that elusive national title still remains the primary goal.

"I've never tried to make this program about Mike Martin because it's Florida State baseball. I want it to be known as Florida State's Mike Martin holds the record for most wins," he said. "For me to say that the wins record is more important than the national title, then I would be saying that Florida State's name being a national champion is not as important as Mike Martin being the wins leader. Winning a national championship would mean more to me than that."


AP Baseball Writer Janie Janie McCauley contributed to this story.


Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at

Window coverings mimic tree branches to deter birds

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The University of Florida is experimenting with a unique window design that mimics tree branches to help prevent bird collisions.

School officials say birds hitting windows has been a campus-wide problem for years. Mark Hostetler is a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation in UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. He says they asked students to monitor buildings two years ago to see where the bulk of the collisions were occurring.

The new window treatments have vertical lines similar to tree branches and other obstacles that are too narrow for most birds to fly through, so they avoid them.

Hostetler says no bird collision deaths were recorded after installing the treatments in Newins-Ziegler Hall.

Driver charged with intentionally hitting patrol car

MIAMI (AP) - Authorities say a state trooper chased down and arrested a driver who intentionally crashed into her on Florida's Turnpike.

A Miami-Dade police report says Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Vanessa Franceschi was sitting in her patrol car during a traffic stop along the highway's shoulder Tuesday evening when 20-year-old Raumel Quntero rear-ended her with his Honda Civic and sped away through traffic.

The report says Franceschi chased the Civic and used her own car to force Quntero into a guardrail. Quntero was arrested at the scene and charged with multiple counts, including aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. The report says Quntero later mentioned in front of two other troopers that the crash was intentional.

Franceschi suffered minor injuries. No other drivers were harmed.

Jail records didn't list an attorney for Quntero.

Former substitute teacher bests Kershaw, Marlins top Dodgers

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Trevor Richards has worked as a substitute teacher and in a brewery, just trying to make ends meet while he chased a major league career.

He outworked three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night, and it seems his days of offseason odd jobs to help pay rent might be behind him.

Richards outpitched Clayton Kershaw just months removed from working as a substitute elementary school teacher, and the Marlins took advantage of a wild outing from the Dodgers' ace to beat Los Angeles 8-6 on Wednesday night.

Richards struck out 10 and pitched one-hit ball over 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his fifth major league start. The former independent league right-hander was pulled after throwing 100 pitches.

"We couldn't figure him out," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

"I just focused on keeping the ball down and attacking the zone early, throwing strikes and looking ahead," Richards said. "We were just, fastball-changeups a lot. Trying to keep them off balance."

Richards' offseason jobs have included teaching and working for the Miller-Coors brewery since going undrafted out of Drury University. He joined a Marlins' Class A affiliate in 2016 after being noticed while pitching for Gateway of the independent Frontier League for two seasons. He spent this winter working at a school in his hometown of Aviston, Illinois, according to the Miami Herald.

"Trevor was really good today" Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It's really what we needed."

J.T. Realmuto homered twice and Miguel Rojas went deep to help Miami capitalize on an unusually wild night by Kershaw (1-4).

The left-hander tied a career high with six walks, a mark he hadn't reached since 2010, and left after allowing three runs in five innings. Kershaw had only allowed three walks all season.

Kershaw struggled with his control but was able to strand eight runners over the first four innings without yielding a run. His luck ran out in the fifth after he issued a pair of two-out walks. Rojas followed by drilling a three-run homer off the left field foul pole, giving the Marlins a 3-0 lead.

"I felt good in the first inning but after that I didn't feel so great," Kershaw said. "I almost skated out of it but my command was an issue. I really don't know why."

Realmuto hit a solo shot in the sixth to make it 4-0 and added a two-run blast - his fourth of the season - in the eighth. Realmuto has hit safely in all 19 career games against the Dodgers, the longest hitting streak versus the Dodgers to begin a career since 1900.

"I feel good at the plate," Realmuto said. "My swing feels really good and the timing as well. I'm getting good pitches to hit."

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was checked on by trainers after slipping while chasing a pop fly. He remained in the game, and Roberts said he expects Seager to be OK.

Relievers Merandy Gonzalez, Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler were hit around a bit late but held on for Miami. Gonzalez (1-0) earned his first career win.

After losing five in a row, Miami has won two straight and clinched its first series victory of the season.

Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers in the eighth, and Yasmani Grandal added a two-run homer in the ninth, but the Marlins held on to win. Chris Taylor went 0 for 5 and had his seven-game hitting streak snapped.

"Give the Marlins credit, they out hit us, out pitched us and won the series," Roberts said.


Miami: RHP Dan Straily (right forearm strain) and LHP Wei-Yin Chen (left elbow strain) both pitched this week and will continue their minor league rehab assignments.

Los Angeles: Injured 3B Justin Turner (left wrist fracture) started taking 'dry' swings. No firm date has been set for is return.


The Dodgers acquired minor league left-hander Logan Salow from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for righty Wilmer Font.


Miami: After an off day Thursday, the Marlins open a six-game homestand starting with the Colorado Rockies on Friday. RHP Jose Urena (0-3, 5.88) will take the hill for the Marlins.

Los Angeles: The Dodgers are off Thursday and will begin a season-long 11-game, 10-day road trip starting Friday at San Francisco. Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-0, 1.99) will take the mound to open the four-game series.


More AP baseball:

Winning numbers drawn in 'Fantasy 5' game

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Florida Lottery's "Fantasy 5" game were:


(four, seven, eight, thirteen, twenty-two)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Lotto' game

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Florida Lottery's "Lotto" game were:


(thirteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-three, thirty-two, forty-three)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Lotto XTRA' game

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Florida Lottery's "Lotto XTRA" game were:



Winning numbers drawn in 'Powerball' game

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the "Powerball" game were:

17-18-39-56-64, Powerball: 12, Power Play: 3

(seventeen, eighteen, thirty-nine, fifty-six, sixty-four; Powerball: twelve; Power Play: three)

___ Online: Multi-State Lottery Association:

Maryland man accused of stealing, selling medical supplies

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Police in Virginia say a Maryland man is accused of stealing medical kits from hospitals and selling them online.

Fairfax County police said in a news release Wednesday that 52-year-old Burke Slater had access to operating rooms as an employee of a medical supply vendor.

WJLA-TV reports a medical supplier in Florida found medical kits on eBay and ran the serial numbers. The medical supplier was told the items were stolen and brought the case to the attention of police.

An investigation found seven medical kits valued around $33,000 each were stolen from at least two hospitals. Police say the medical kits made their way to Florida, Washington state, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Slater was charged with money laundering and other offenses. It is unclear if he has a lawyer.


Information from: WJLA-TV,

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