Crime Blotter: Vacationing Juror Sent to Jail

C I N C I N N A T I — Christina Fiorini apparently left the jury hung out to dry.

The 33-year-old woman was serving as a juror in a murder trial when she left in the middle of deliberations to go on vacation in Mexico.

When she finally showed up again, the judge presiding over the trial sent her to jail. "I think the appropriate sentence would be that you have to serve seven days in jail since you wasted seven days of our time," he told her. "You get to sit in jail for seven days with all the other knuckleheads up there and see what it's like."

Fiorini began serving her sentence on Monday. She was also fined and ordered to do 40 hours of community service.

When Fiorini didn't show up at court on Feb. 19, authorities issued an arrest warrant for her, court officials say. She resurfaced Monday and appeared before Judge Robert Ruehlman, who was presiding over the trial Fiorini skipped out on.

"What happened was I have e-mail access and what I did was I checked my e-mail on Tuesday to make sure that I didn't have a message because I couldn't get a phone call in or out [where she was on vacation]," she said.

While waiting for her to show up, Ruehlman delayed deliberations for a week in the trial, which involved a woman accused of luring a man into a parking lot where he was robbed and killed.

The defense eventually agreed to let the 11 remaining jurors render a verdict, and deliberations continued without Fiorini. The defendant, 24-year-old Dorie Terrell, was convicted of complicity to aggravated murder and complicity to aggravated robbery.

Something Fishy About This Assault … M A D E I R A B E A C H, Fla. — The swordfish is mightier than the beer can, it seems.

Florida fisherman Frank Ashmus stabbed Garth Spacek, also a fisherman, with a swordfish bill last Thursday when the two got into a fight, police said.

"There was a lot of drinking out that night," Pinellas County sheriff's spokeswoman Marianna Pasha said.

The trouble apparently began when Spacek, 42, beat Ashmus, 46, Pasha said.

"He [Ashmus] was hit with a couple beer cans and knocked to the ground and kicked," she said.

Ashmus suffered a broken rib in the fight, but went back to his apartment and got two knives, Pasha said. A friend apparently stopped him and, after surveying Ashmus' condition, confiscated the weapons.

So Ashmus allegedly grabbed the 1 ½-foot-long barbed swordfish bill and went over to Spacek's home.

"It would not be an unusual possession for these guys," Pasha said.

When he found Spacek, Ashmus allegedly ran him through the lower left side of his abdomen, leaving a large oval-shaped gash. He apparently threw the swordfish bill in the ocean afterward, police said.

"I've been here 13 years and it's the first time I can think of a swordfish bill being used as a weapon in our jurisdiction," Pasha said.

Both men are facing charges.

Lingerie Uncovers Dirty Dealing, Police Say

P H I L AD E L P H I A — Her Victoria's Secret purchase revealed too much, police said.

Richland Township treasurer Buffy Guens was arrested last week and charged with embezzling $231,000. What gave her away, authorities said, was an $85.50 Victoria's Secret purchase charged to a city account.

Police allege Guenst, 31, convinced other city offiicals to sign blank checks, which she used to finance a lavish multi-year shopping spree, beginning in 1999. She also allegedly applied for and used an ATM card that withdrew cash from a government account at Quakertown National Bank.

"The transactions on the ATM card got more daring," said Richland Police Chief Stuart Woods. "All of a sudden there were two transactions that caught the bank's eye," he said, citing the lingerie purchase and a recreational all-terrain vehicle.

Over the past three years, Guenst allegedly had been using the debit card at Wal-Mart, Acme and Ames stores.

She was able to avoid detection, Woods said, because she manipulated her supervisors and the town auditors into giving her broad leeway in her duties and maintaining little oversight.

"She worked the system, absolutely," Woods said. "She had these guys buffaloed."

She was fired from her $31,000-a-year position last week and charged with felony theft.

The city won't be left in the lurch because of Guenst's alleged embezzlement, however.

"The cost is bonded," Woods said. "The city will get the money back, all but five grand."

He said the city has already decided what to do with the newly recovered funds.

"I think we're going to hire an additional policeman with it," he said.

Crime Blotter, a weekly feature of, is compiled by Oliver Libaw.