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    An attorney for a Key West man described by the FBI as an ISIS sympathizer who plotted to detonate a backpack bomb at a beach is seeking a mental competency hearing for his client.

    Defense attorney Richard Della Fera, who represents Harlem Suarez, said in a letter to the court Thursday that he believes his client "may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent." Della Fera is asking a federal judge that Suarez be given a psychiatric examination before a hearing to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

    The 23-year-old suspect is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was arrested in July.

    According to a criminal complaint, Suarez, who is also known as Almlak Benitez, caught the attention of the FBI in April after posting extremist rhetoric and promoting the Islamic State group through posts on his Facebook page.

    One post read: "Stand up with us my brother. Stand up with the black flag and the AK with 10 mag, fight with us, be a gangster with us, kill our enemies and convert to Islam now in USA."

    The complaint said Suarez later told an FBI informant that he wanted to make a "timer bomb."

    The FBI said Suarez purchased items for the bomb, which contained galvanized nails. He intended to place the bomb in a backpack and detonate it using a cellphone, the complaint said.

    Investigators said Suarez planned to bury the bomb at a public beach in Key West and detonate it. He met with an informant at a Homestead hotel and showed him the homemade bomb, the complaint said.

    According to the complaint, Suarez told FBI informants that he was making an ISIS recruiting video before the attack.

    The complaint said Suarez had planned other attacks before deciding to bomb a Key West beach, including a Fourth of July attack in South Beach or in Marathon.

    Suarez faces life in prison if convicted.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says there is nothing different today than there was before Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, but he is asking the public to remain vigil on social media.


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    Gov. Rick Scott is asking Congress to prevent Syrian refugees from being relocated to Florida.

    In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Scott is asking Congress "to take immediate and aggressive action" to prevent President Barack Obama and his administration from using federal tax dollars to fund the relocation of 425 Syrian refugees to Florida.

    Scott said in his letter Monday that Florida does not have the authority to stop the relocation of Syrian refugees to the state, but he said that he has ordered the Florida Department of Children and Families to reject any relocation requests that it receives.

    The Republican governor said Congress should not allow the relocation of Syrian refugees to Florida or anywhere else in the U.S. "without an extensive evaluation of the risk these individuals may pose to our national security."

    Syria has long been considered a breeding ground for ISIS, which claimed responsibility for Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.

    In his letter, Scott said that one of the attackers posed as a Syrian refugee in order to gain access to France.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida condemned Scott's position.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    Who is ISIS?


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    Two South Florida students living and studying in Paris say the situation in Paris is tense and nervous after the recent terrorist attacks.


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    A Maryland oncologist is the proud new owner of a Fort Lauderdale home recently owned by former "Partridge Family" star David Cassidy.

    Dr. Scott Watkins paid $2.067 million for the waterfront estate during a September bankruptcy auction, his real estate agent, Vincent Clancy of DaVinci Realty Group, told Local 10 News.

    The 6,400-square-foot home at 1600 S. Ocean Drive includes six bedrooms and six bathrooms. Other amenities include a swimming pool with an outdoor gazebo, a dock and a boat lift.

    Watkins closed on the property Monday, Clancy said. The bid amount was $1.95 million, plus a 6 percent buyer's premium.

    According to Broward County property records, Cassidy bought the home in 2001 for $1.1 million.

    Clancy said Watkins plans to use the property as a vacation home and retire there.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    Where are 'Partridge Family' stars today?


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    Miami-Dade County commissioners consider whether to grant environmental permits for the Miami International Boat Show on Key Biscayne.


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    Medical experts say marijuana is connected to weight loss.


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  • 11/17/15--13:20: Black Friday deals revealed
  • With the Black Friday shopping holiday right around the corner, retailers are giving shoppers a sneak peek at some of the best deals they can find both in-store and online.

    Some of those Black Friday deals start Thanksgiving Day In what has been called "Gray Thursday" in recent years.

    RELATED:  Is 'Gray Thursday' the-new Black Friday?

    The National Retail Federation found shoppers are already checking off the names on their holiday shopping list. The NRF's latest consumer spending survey finds that nearly 57 percent of those celebrating the holidays had already started shopping by early November, up from 54 percent last year and 49 percent in 2008.

    Best Buy recently announced its door buster deals, which become available at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

    Some of the deals include a Samsung 60-inch 4K TV for $799.99 and $100 off an Apple Watch.

    During the second round of the store's door buster deals, which become available when doors reopen at 8 a.m. Black Friday, customers can purchase a Samsung 40-inch TV, an Xbox One console and a Lego Movie video game for a total of $499.99. These deals, and those similar at other retailers, will surely draw big crowds.

    "Be ready. Be friendly. Be kind, because you know we're all going to be here to help (the customers) out, and they're going to be helping out each other," said Suzy Urista, a supervisor at the Best Buy in Aventura.

    BrandsMart USA also announced it is opening its doors early on Thanksgiving Day. Shoppers can find deals at its stores throughout South Florida beginning at 4 p.m. The company said customers will be able to purchase 32-inch TVs for just $79.88 and tablets for $14.88.

    Walmart and Target will be opening their doors at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Target will be selling popular items like the Beats Solo2 headphones and the Xbox One gaming console at discounted prices.

    The Beats Solo2 headphones will cost $96.99, a $103 saving from its original price of $199.99.

    Target's Xbox One deal will be available for $299.99. The console comes with a digital download for Gears of War valued at $59.99. The company is also giving customers who buy this Xbox One bundle a free $60 Target gift card.

    Some of the other major retailers are already offering pre-Black Friday deals online.

    Office Depot is offering an Epson XP 420 wireless color inkjet printer for just $49.99, and Walmart.com is offering a 32-inch TV for $149.99.

    "Thanksgiving weekend shopping has evolved tremendously over the past few years and can no longer be seen as the 'start' of the holiday season, though there's no question it's still important to millions of holiday shoppers and retailers of all shapes and sizes," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "There is a real sea change happening in retail when it comes to the how, when, where and why of holiday shopping. Consumers today are looking for great prices and value-add promotions earlier than ever before, and retailers have answered these demands in several different ways already this holiday season."

    Employees urge customers to bring snacks and drinks to stay energized and hydrated while they make the long lines. Customers should also bring someone with them in order to take bathroom breaks.


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    Attorneys for a Boynton Beach woman who found guilty of hiring an undercover police officer to kill her husband are seeking to dismiss her upcoming retrial.

    Miami-based attorney Mark Eiglarsh and California-based attorney Brian Claypool, who are representing Dalia Dippolito in her retrial, filed a motion Tuesday in Palm Beach County to dismiss the case.

    The motion alleges police misconduct in the August 2009 investigation.

    Eiglarsh's office claims Claypool has evidence of police misconduct, including coercing the undercover informant, falsifying police reports, destroying records and enticing Dippolito.

    Dippolito was convicted of solicitation to commit first-degree murder in 2011, but the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction last year. A Palm Beach County judge Thursday set her retrial for May 23.

    Dippolito was arrested in August 2009 after she hired an undercover police officer, who was posing as a hit man, to kill her husband. Police then staged a crime scene and recorded her reaction on the day the murder was supposed to take place.

    Jurors during the trial were shown an undercover video of Dippolito, offering an undercover officer pretending to be a hit man $3,000 to kill her husband.

    In its opinion, the appellate court deemed that the trial court erred by denying her request to individually question prospective jurors about their exposure to pretrial publicity about her case and denying her request to strike the entire jury pool after all the jurors heard an allegation that Dippolito had attempted to poison her husband.

    Dalia Dippolito staged crime scene

    Dippolito's then-attorney, Michael Salnick, argued during her trial that his client thought she was being recorded as part of a hoax to get her husband on a reality television show.

    Dippolito, 32, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She has been out of jail on house arrest pending the appeal.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Members of the Democracy Movement held a rally Tuesday across from the Nicaraguan consulate, demanding to know why Nicaragua used its military to attack and drive back a group of Cuban migrants trying to enter the country from Costa Rica.

    "We don't know yet (why the Cubans were stopped)," Democracy Movement leader Ramon Raul Sanchez told Local 10 News. "Nicaragua knows that these Cubans go through there every day, and suddenly, they took this approach of sending the Army against civilians -- unarmed civilians -- so we don't know."

    Costa Rica has welcomed Cuban migrants on their way to the U.S. There has been a tsunami of them fleeing Cuba out of fear that the Cuban Adjustment Act will be repealed, and thus the legal authority to enter the U.S. and stay.

    The most common route that the Cubans are taking to get to the U.S. via Central or South America is to fly to Guyana or Ecuador, where they don't need visas. From there, they move north on the arduous, costly and often dangerous journey to the U.S.

    But Nicaragua has suddenly cracked down on Cubans arriving at the border, refusing to let them pass. Nicaragua's government is socialist, and President Daniel Ortega is friendly with the Castro-run Cuban regime.

    "If he lets the Cuban (people) pass through Nicaragua, he will be sanctioned by Castro," Nicaraguan-American Ernesto Locayo told Local 10. "That's the name of the game."

    The Cuban land exodus is enormous. More than 27,000 Cubans have entered the U.S. through Mexico in the last year, and more than 9,000 Cubans have arrived at Miami International Airport without visas. So far this year, 773 Cubans have been intercepted at sea and repatriated.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    The murder trial for a South Florida man who claims that he killed his wife in self-defense before posting a photo of her corpse on Facebook continued Tuesday with more testimony from the lead detective in the police investigation.

    Derek Medina is accused of fatally shooting Jennifer Alfonso, 27, in the kitchen of their South Miami townhouse in August 2013. Police said Medina uploaded a photo of Alfonso's body on Facebook after the shooting.

    The day began with Detective Jonathan Grossman enduring more cross examination from defense attorney Saam Zangeneh, who spent much of the previous day trying to discredit the police account of what occurred.

    Assistant state attorney J. Scott Dunn attempted to build the state's case during redirect.

    "So, within a span of about 45 seconds, Mr. Medina called his dead wife a pill-popping, pot-smoking, crackhead alcoholic, unfit mother, basically, right?" Dunn asked.

    "Yes," Grossman answered.

    "Right, and, of course, Jennifer wasn't here to defend herself for this, was she?" Dunn asked.

    "No, she was not," Grossman replied.

    "So he volunteers things that he thought would help himself, essentially, correct?" Dunn asked.

    Jurors saw home surveillance video from the day of the shooting that showed Medina following Alfonso downstairs, going upstairs to get a gun and then returning to the kitchen.

    Detective testifies that Derek Medina continuously bad-mouthed wife

    The state attempted to debunk the defense's self-defense argument when South Miami police Officer Matthew Taylor testified.

    "During that entire period of time, did Mr. Medina at any point request any medical treatment of you?" Dunn asked Taylor.

    "Not at all," Taylor answered.

    "Did he make any complaints of injuries to you?" Dunn asked.

    "No, sir," Taylor said.

    Jurors were also shown video of Medina and Alfonso fighting by the sliding-glass door of their home.

    "The video shows her striking him first, correct?" Zangeneh asked Detective Elvis Abreu, a Miami-Dade police digital forensic investigator called to testify for the state.

    Zangeneh sought to show how strong and aggressive Alfonso had been.

    "Let me ask you it this way, is my client able to keep her in the house?" Zangeneh asked.

    "No," Abreu said.

    "No further questions," Zangeneh said before walking back to his seat.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    Many faces of Derek Medina


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    In the parish of Our Lady of Charity, in the former mining town of El Cobre, a statue with golden embroidered garments is on a pedestal. It's on display, behind glass. Noglys Gonzalez works outside of the basilica as a street vendor.

    Like millions of the devotees around the world, Gonzalez believes in the 17th century legend that the Virgin Mary appeared to the three Juans, an African slave and two natives, who were out collecting salt in the Bay of Nipe. She saved them from a storm and left them the 2-foot statue. Her clothes were dry despite the rain. 

    After many years of popular veneration, Pope Benedict XV, born Giacomo Battista dellaChiesa in Italy, consecrated the Virgin as the patron of Cuba in 1916. For the past decade, believers are Gonzalez's clients. He sells religious figurines.

     "As a priority, I have faith on the Virgin," Gonzalez said about his strategy for success.

    Cubans attribute countless miracles to the statue enshrined near an abandoned copper mine. During Cuba's war for independence from Spain, Our Lady of Charity became known as the Virgin Mambisa.

    QUICK VIDEO: Exploring countryside mines of Santiago de Cuba

    Ernest Hemingway made several references to the Virgin of Charity in The Old Man and the Sea.

    "I am not religious," a book's character said. "But I will say ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys that I should catch this fish, and I promise to make a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Cobre if I catch him. That is a promise."

    Hemingway won a Nobel Prize medal after his book in 1954. He took the medal to the church. Believers travel far to drop off "exvotos," promised visits or offerings. At the church's altar, there were college diplomas and stethoscopes.

    During Pope Francis' recent visit to the island, he said the Virgin of Charity "has accompanied the history of the Cuban people, sustaining the hope which preserves people's dignity in the most difficult situations."

    He said he went to El Cobre, as "a son and a pilgrim."

    Believers in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria also travel to El Cobre to pray to the Virgin of Charity in honor of Oshun, a deity that represents fertility. Many praying for a medical miracle through great lengths to visit "Cachita," the Virgin of Charity's affection nickname.

    The chorus of a song by Los Tres Tristones, a Cuban trio, says, "And if you go to El Cobre, where Cachita is, bring me a little statue of the Virgin of Charity." Gonzalez will be there waiting with his little wooden statues.

    Santiago de Cobre --

    __________________________________________

    Local 10 News producer Michelle Lacamoire and photojournalist Mario Alonso contributed to this report.

    Follow Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela on Twitter @HatzelVela

    Santiago de Cuba


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    The Carnival of Santiago de Cuba has been turning the second largest city on the island into a grand party for many generations.

    Ernesto Carbonell is 14,  and as a dancer, he already feels like he is apart of the annual celebration, which continues to keep rich Afro-Cuban culture alive. This year he practiced for about three months.

    The April and July parties, about a 15-hour drive east of Havana in the 500-year-old city, are a time for street vendors to make some money. But Ernesto is there for the fun, although he takes his dancing practices seriously.

    "I want to be a doctor, but I take this as a hobby," he said.

    It is no coincidence that The Queen of Bolero Olga Guillot, Emilio Estefan and Emilio Bacardi were born in this city. There was a time when the event was a bon vivant's dream. There was a never ending supply of good rum. And dancing to good music was the priority.

    Some historians say the tradition goes back to a midsummer resting period given to African slaves after the sugar cane harvest. Others say colonialists brought it to the island with the Roman Catholic processions of St. James the Apostle.

    "It comes from our ancestors and we have been cultivating it and defending it,: said Zoenilda Nelson, who allows her children to dance in the carnival. "Since they [the children] are born, they are in the carnival, in the conga and in the fun."

    Today, the government's images of spontaneous sexy dancers and flashy jesters, aren't attracting tourists. Varadero and Havana remain the epicenters of the industry. Although there are tours, the party is for the locals.

    The comparsas, Spanish for dancing troupes, practice almost all year long and perform during a final parade known as the Montompolo or Montón-Polo.

    The comparsas have two different styles: There are the ruling class' lavish paseos and the congas, which were for the working class. Choreographer Gabriel Lopez is familiar with both styles. He started dancing when he was a boy.

    "It's awesome. It is a santiaguero's entire life," Lopez said. "It comes from our ancestors and we have grown it and defended it."

    Leonard Gorgas, 20, said the dancers work for a long time and make a lot of sacrifices. He said he loves his city.

    "It's a place where we dance to plenty of Cuban traditional music," Gorgas said.  "We make song, salsa, bolero. And our children, our generation will maintain these roots and this Cubania."

    Carnaval graphic

    Follow Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela on Twitter @HatzelVela


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    Four teenage boys are being questioned after police said they confronted two teens who got off a school bus Tuesday afternoon.

    Police said the four suspects, who have only been identified as males between the ages of 14 and 18, were in a stolen vehicle when they approached the victims and demanded everything they had, including their shoes.

    The victims told police they believed one of the suspects to have a gun. They told police they ran at some point during the confrontation and alerted police.

    Police said all of the suspects were caught and are being questioned. Police are investigating whether the group may be responsible for similar crimes in the area.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A robbery suspect was fatally shot by police Tuesday morning during a "confrontation" with officers, police said.

    An armed robbery was reported at a Wendy's restaurant on Southwest 211th Street at U.S. Highway 1 just before 9 a.m.

    Detective Marjorie Eloi said officers arrived shortly after the robbery and spotted the suspect running along a trail that borders a canal near Southwest 127th Avenue and Southwest 206th Terrace.

    A confrontation ensued, and two officers opened fire, killing the suspect, Eloi said.

    Neither officer was injured.

    Audio recorded from police radio transmissions provides a clearer picture of what prompted officers to shoot.

    "He's got a gun in his hand," an officer said in the recording.

    Sky 10 was above the scene as a body was covered by a yellow tarp. A gun could also be seen in the road a few feet from the body.

    The identities of the officers and the suspect haven't been released, but police said the two officers were 10- and 12-year veterans of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

    Both officers have been placed on administrative leave per standard procedure.

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A woman was arrested after she punched a woman and pushed her down some stairs, resulting in that woman's death, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office report.

    Deputies said Cortez Fields, 18, went to Nicole Hewitt's home Saturday night, asking for shoes back that Hewitt had borrowed.

    A witness reported that Hewitt asked Fields to leave, when Fields became irate and punched Hewitt in the face. Hewitt fell, and her face hit the concrete steps in a stairwell. The witness said as Hewitt got up, Fields continued punching her in the face. That witness asked Fields to leave, and she did.

    Authorities said when they arrived at the scene early Sunday morning after Hewitt reported the incident to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Hewitt declined medical treatment.

    Fields was located a short time later and told officials she saw bumps and swelling on Hewitt's face after she punched her.

    Authorities said Hewitt died later from her injuries.

    Fields was initially arrested on a charge of aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability. She now faces charges of battery, burglary, unlawful use of a false name, tampering with evidence and grand theft. Her bond was set at $7,500.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Police in Florida have arrested a second man in the deaths of an elderly Baton Rouge couple whose bodies were found at a Hammond truck stop in October.

    Hollywood, Florida, police Wednesday arrested Frank Garcia, 48, on a Baton Rouge police arrest warrant.

    Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L'Jean McKneely said Garcia's arrest comes after Ernesto Llerena Alonso, 42, was taken into custody in the Oct. 18 deaths of Denis Duplantier, 71, and Suzanne Duplantier, 70.

     Garcia was booked on two counts of first-degree murder, while Alonso was arrested on first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree kidnapping.

    McKneely would not say what information led to issuing the warrant for Garcia's arrest, noting that the investigation is ongoing.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A pelican that was unable to fly is beginning a new life with a friend after undergoing successful cataract surgery.


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    If cats do indeed have nine lives, then people who scare them with cucumbers are taking away more than one life from their favorite feline.

    First off; yes, cucumbers.

    Second; scaring cats with cucumbers is definitely a "thing," as you can see in the video below.

    If you do a quick search for cats and cucumbers on YouTube, you'll find almost as many videos as there are cover versions of Taylor Swift songs.

    But despite the comedy that comes from seeing poor little kitty frightened beyond belief from the long vegetable, animal experts say the practice is cruel and unkind.

    “Your pets rely on you to keep them safe," Dr. Frank McMillan told the Mother Nature Network. "Intentionally scaring your pet violates this trust.”

    McMillan, a director at Best Friends Animal Society, says that scaring cats with any kind of object, even a seemingly benign member of the gourd family, could cause serious physical or psychological injury.

    “For repeated incidents there would be a high likelihood of the cat developing a fear of everything around where the events take place,” said McMillan. “For instance, this could mean that your cat could become afraid to even come near his or her food dish.”

    So think twice before using your pet as the unknowing star of your next home video. Unless you can get the cat to sing "Shake it Off," then go right ahead and post it to YouTube.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    EMBED VIDEO


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    The FBI is asking for the public's help identifying two men who robbed a Miami bank Thursday morning.

    FBI spokesman Jim Marshall said two men entered the Wells Fargo branch on Northwest 14th Street about 9:10 a.m. and demanded money from a bank employee.

    Marshall said the men got away with an undisclosed amount of money.

    Surveillance video showed that the two men were wearing light blue collared shirts.

    No injuries were reported.

    Anyone who recognizes the men is asked to call the FBI office in South Florida at 754-703-2000.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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