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Latest from Susan Spencer-Wendel

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Mother of ‘Until I Say Good-Bye’ author dies of pancreatic cancer
 Theodora “Tee” Damianos Spencer — “the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen” — passed away early Sunday morning. Her husband, Tom Spencer, who exclaimed that upon first seeing Tee in 1955, was her constant companion ever since they met. In the past few years, Mr. Spencer, a pharmacist, nursed his wife...

6:53 PM Monday, Mar. 03, 2014

Theodora “Tee” Damianos Spencer — “the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen” — passed away early Sunday morning. Her husband, Tom Spencer, who exclaimed that upon first seeing Tee in 1955, was her constant companion ever since they met. In the past few years, Mr. Spencer, a pharmacist, nursed his wife...
Happiness is…A Frenchie named Lenny
 During the glut of publicity earlier this year about my book “Until I Say Goodbye” — crazy, wasn’t it? — there entered another central character in my life, a perfect foil, which every good story needs. Foil is a literary term meaning to present a character in contrast or in comparison with another. Hamlet dueled...

4:00 AM Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013

During the glut of publicity earlier this year about my book “Until I Say Goodbye” — crazy, wasn’t it? — there entered another central character in my life, a perfect foil, which every good story needs. Foil is a literary term meaning to present a character in contrast or in comparison with another. Hamlet dueled...
A final journey: To help a sick wife live — and die — with joy
 I sit in the 100-degree water nestled as close to the font of the thermal mineral spring as possible. Above me are the blue-and-green mosaic-tiled domes of the Gellert baths, adjacent the near-century-old hotel of the same name. Honeyed light streams through glass ceiling tiles into the steamy, cavernous room. I study the women — young...

11:09 PM Saturday, May. 05, 2012

I sit in the 100-degree water nestled as close to the font of the thermal mineral spring as possible. Above me are the blue-and-green mosaic-tiled domes of the Gellert baths, adjacent the near-century-old hotel of the same name. Honeyed light streams through glass ceiling tiles into the steamy, cavernous room. I study the women — young...
Commission votes to send no more nominees to Scott for judicial appointment

12:06 AM Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011

The nine commissioners who make recommendations on judicial appointments deliberated 90 minutes Friday on whether to accede to Gov. Rick Scott's request for more names to consider to fill a Fourth District Court of Appeal vacancy. In the end, they voted not to. They then sent Scott the names of the same four applicants they had recommended...
Goodman's DUI manslaughter case could be ready for trial this year
 At a brief hearing this morning, a criminal defense attorney for John Goodman ­- the polo club owner accused of driving intoxicated, crashing his car and leaving a young man to die - told a judge the criminal case against Goodman may be ready for trial within eight to 10 months. "Don't hold me to it," attorney Mark Shapiro told...

4:43 PM Friday, Jan. 14, 2011

At a brief hearing this morning, a criminal defense attorney for John Goodman ­- the polo club owner accused of driving intoxicated, crashing his car and leaving a young man to die - told a judge the criminal case against Goodman may be ready for trial within eight to 10 months. "Don't hold me to it," attorney Mark Shapiro told...
Homeless man gets 40-year sentence in strangulation death of suburban West Palm Beach woman
 The detective sat on the courtroom bench, the family of murder victim Brenda Skeene on benches behind him, awaiting the sentencing Thursday of the man convicted of strangling Skeene. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Det. Stephen Ultsh said to a reporter taking notes: "Scribble a life sentence." Indeed a shackled Cory A. Bogart...

6:42 PM Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011

The detective sat on the courtroom bench, the family of murder victim Brenda Skeene on benches behind him, awaiting the sentencing Thursday of the man convicted of strangling Skeene. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Det. Stephen Ultsh said to a reporter taking notes: "Scribble a life sentence." Indeed a shackled Cory A. Bogart...
Inspector General recommends tighter controls over county contract

10:28 AM Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011

A lack of oversight of an exclusive contract with the county allowed for a financial shell game where victims of crime owed timely restitution payments did not get them, a report of the county's new Inspector General has concluded. The not-for-profit agency Pride Integrated Services, which oversee thousands of people on misdemeanor probation...
Scott asks nominating commission to send more names for appellate court vacancy

12:03 AM Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott is asking a local judicial nominating commission to send him additional names to choose from to fill an open appellate court judgeship. In a letter to JNC Chairman Greg Barnhart, Scott's lawyer wrote that the governor would like to have six nominees rather than just four. Four judges, including Palm Beach County's Chief Judge...
Man pleads to manslaughter in shooting death of roommate
 A 23-year-old charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a man he allegedly quarreled with pleaded to a lesser manslaughter charge this morning, receiving a prison sentence of 10 years. Emanuel Reyes Alamo potentially could have faced mandatory life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the December 2008 death of...

5:16 PM Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

A 23-year-old charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a man he allegedly quarreled with pleaded to a lesser manslaughter charge this morning, receiving a prison sentence of 10 years. Emanuel Reyes Alamo potentially could have faced mandatory life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the December 2008 death of...
Don't change eyewitness ID policies, expert tells panel
 State prosecutors strongly argued their case Monday before the Florida Innocence Commission, the body charged with recommending changes to end the rash of wrongful convictions. To that end, they presented another national expert contravening earlier testimony commissioners heard on eyewitness identification, far and away the leading cause...

3:08 AM Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011

State prosecutors strongly argued their case Monday before the Florida Innocence Commission, the body charged with recommending changes to end the rash of wrongful convictions. To that end, they presented another national expert contravening earlier testimony commissioners heard on eyewitness identification, far and away the leading cause...
Crist leaves office without appointing judge to appellate court

12:12 AM Friday, Jan. 07, 2011

Four judges nominated to fill an appellate court vacancy met with Gov. Charlie Crist and his staff last month. They waited during the holidays, expecting Crist to make the appointment to the Fourth District Court of Appeal at any time. They waited Monday, Crist's final full day in office when he made another judicial appointment in Orlando...
After agreeing to testify against co-defendant, man's throat slit in jail
 A Lake Worth gas station owner was shot dead during a robbery because he saw the gunman's face. On Tuesday, two co-robbers who could make the case against the alleged shooter pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him for the possibility of a lighter prison sentence. Not without a price, though. Co-defendant Shane Farley's throat has...

9:48 PM Tuesday, Jan. 04, 2011

A Lake Worth gas station owner was shot dead during a robbery because he saw the gunman's face. On Tuesday, two co-robbers who could make the case against the alleged shooter pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him for the possibility of a lighter prison sentence. Not without a price, though. Co-defendant Shane Farley's throat has...
False memories, false justice; Striving to ID the right 'bad guy'
 An eyewitness' memory is evidence itself. But memory, social scientists have found, is nothing like a video recorder simply replayed in the mind. It's an engram of evidence re-created in the mind - one especially susceptible to suggestion and contamination. Thus police should lift a memory from an eyewitness' mind as carefully as a fingerprint...

2:15 AM Sunday, Jan. 02, 2011

An eyewitness' memory is evidence itself. But memory, social scientists have found, is nothing like a video recorder simply replayed in the mind. It's an engram of evidence re-created in the mind - one especially susceptible to suggestion and contamination. Thus police should lift a memory from an eyewitness' mind as carefully as a fingerprint...
Region rings in new year with high winds, drought conditions, coastal flood advisory

1:54 AM Saturday, Jan. 01, 2011

December's cold - one for the record books - may be done, but extreme weather is not over as the new year arrives. On Friday, northern Palm Beach County was ratcheted up to "severe" drought conditions, according to the National Weather Service. And the remainder of the county remains with a "moderate" drought rating. Firefighters...
Riviera Beach mom gets 27½ years: 'You betrayed everything a mother is,' judge says

3:03 PM Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010

She punched and repeatedly stabbed her infant son with a shard of glass and sliced open the arm of her then-8-year-old daughter. Wendy Harden's defenders argued it was an isolated incident, committed when she had a psychotic break from reality while in withdrawal from abusing painkillers as the 30-year-old - who suffers from severe scoliosis...
Riviera Beach mom who stabbed, sliced her kids sentenced to 27 1/2 years
 A woman convicted of stabbing her infant son and slicing open the arm of her daughter was sentenced by a judge this afternoon to 27 1/2 years in prison. During her trial earlier this month, lawyers for 30-year-old Wendy Harden argued she was not guilty by reason of insanity on the charge of attempted first-degree murder of the infant, and...

9:46 PM Monday, Dec. 27, 2010

A woman convicted of stabbing her infant son and slicing open the arm of her daughter was sentenced by a judge this afternoon to 27 1/2 years in prison. During her trial earlier this month, lawyers for 30-year-old Wendy Harden argued she was not guilty by reason of insanity on the charge of attempted first-degree murder of the infant, and...
I-95 in Palm Beach County soon becoming a 'smart highway'

5:45 PM Friday, Dec. 24, 2010

Coming soon to stretch of I-95 near you: another kind of instant message - the electronic traffic advisory. Florida's Department of Transportation has for years been planning a network of about 47 cameras and 12 large sign boards along Palm Beach County's stretch of interstate to warn drivers of delays and post other information. The sign...
Two families shattered by fatal December crash
 Amid the holidays comes a cautionary tale for those who may hit hard the wassail or pop a pill to put up with the in-laws. Two shattered families sat in court Wednesday afternoon, the Ortons of Loxahatchee and the Goussis of Wellington. The Ortons, tailspinning into their third Christmas without their beloved patriarch Raymond, faced the...

1:19 AM Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010

Amid the holidays comes a cautionary tale for those who may hit hard the wassail or pop a pill to put up with the in-laws. Two shattered families sat in court Wednesday afternoon, the Ortons of Loxahatchee and the Goussis of Wellington. The Ortons, tailspinning into their third Christmas without their beloved patriarch Raymond, faced the...
Boynton Mall shooter sentenced to 20 years on separate shooting
 A 25-year-old man sentenced to 40 years in prison for a Christmas Eve shooting at the Boynton Beach Mall was sentenced on a separate shooting Friday, receiving a 20-year prison term. Wilson Pierre was convicted in October of aggravated assault with a firearm for a 2006 drive-by shooting in residential Boynton Beach that targeted Berson Dieudonne...

8:38 PM Friday, Dec. 17, 2010

A 25-year-old man sentenced to 40 years in prison for a Christmas Eve shooting at the Boynton Beach Mall was sentenced on a separate shooting Friday, receiving a 20-year prison term. Wilson Pierre was convicted in October of aggravated assault with a firearm for a 2006 drive-by shooting in residential Boynton Beach that targeted Berson Dieudonne...
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