Originally created 07/30/05

Across the Southeast



Gay couple's home is destroyed in blaze

LAKELAND, FLA. - A mobile home belonging to a gay couple was torched and an offensive epithet was spray-painted on the front steps, authorities said.

Paul Day, 25, and Christopher Robertson, 23, returned home from errands Monday to find their home in Kings Manor Mobile Home Park in Lakeland burned and the words "Die Fag" spray-painted on the front steps.

The case is being investigated as an arson with burglary, Lakeland Fire Department spokeswoman Cheryl Edwards said.

Mr. Day said someone apparently poured a flammable substance all over the carpet and torched it, causing an estimated $15,000 in damages.

Parents file suit after child is killed by car

CLEARWATER, FLA. - The parents of a 16-year-old girl who died last year when she was hit by a car after getting off a school bus sued the Pinellas County school district Friday.

Clearwater High School student Rebecca McKinney was killed Oct. 8 while crossing six lanes of traffic after she and her older sister got off the bus.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of parents James and Sara McKinney, claims that the school district was negligent in failing to put bus stops in safe locations, failing to properly train and supervise its employees, and failing to respond to complaints from the McKinneys and other parents about unsafe bus stops.