Jury deliberates in Jupiter hate crime suspect accused of killing Guatemalan man trial

Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos’ face looked like he came out of a boxing match, beaten and swollen with his eyes still open, according to a Jupiter Police officer that found his body.

Prosecutors say Lopez-Ramos, 18, was killed by three men targeting Guatemalan people they were looking to rob in Jupiter in 2015.  

David Harris is the first of the three suspects to stand trial for Lopez-Ramos’s death, charged with first-degree murder while committing a hate crime. After five days of testimony, a Palm Beach County jury is now deliberating whether the killing was in cold-blood or was justified. 

"David Harris swung that axe one time. He did not kill Oneismo,” said Franklin Prince, Harris’ attorney.” Harris maintains the victim swung a pipe at him and Harris hit him with an axe in self-defence. Harris is blaming his co-defendant, Aust…

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Crashes keep piling up at dangerous Jupiter intersection, 1 year till county constructs roundabout

JUPITER, Fla. -- There is no immediate relief in sight for drivers who must cross a dangerous intersection in Jupiter. There have been more than 25 crashes at University and Central Boulevards in the last year. The town of Jupiter says its hands are tied; it's a county road. Palm Beach County put up flags to alert drivers that there are stop signs if you're going east and west, but people say that's just not enough. 

Seeing crashes outside of his apartment complex no longer shocks Brian Dooley. 

"In the last three months, I've come home twice now to where the intersection has been blocked," said Dooley. 

The intersection of University Boulevard and Central Boulevard is a heavily traveled one, lodged between a residential area and Roger Dean Stadium. 

"Really, we walk around the community because it's part of living at the S…

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Bacteria problems continue at Dubois Park in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - The Palm Beach County Health Department issued an advisory this week warning us that high bacteria levels at two beaches make them unsafe for swimming.

Lake Worth Beach is on that list, but Dubois Park in Jupiter is on the list almost every time it rains.

At Dubois Park, Tina Kraft didn't know about the advisory.

"Brings down the whole quality of living," said Kraft.

High bacteria signs are up once again there.

"We get heavy rains like this, it can't tidal or flush itself out," said Tim O'Connor with the Palm Beach County Health Department.

Bud Howard with the Loxahatchee River District says the good news is this is not a septic issue and the drainage has improved.

"Palm Beach County did some work here to dredge," said Howard.

The bad news is the problem still exists. Bud says it's ha…

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Jupiter hate crime suspect on trial for first-degree murder

JUPITER, Fla. - Prosecutors pulled out a metal pipe, axe and rock from evidence boxes in a Palm Beach County courtroom they say were used in a hate crime nearly three years ago in Jupiter. 

They're all part of evidence used against David Harris, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Onesimo Lopez-Ramos.

“David Harris and Austin Taggart, and David Harris' brother Jesse Harris and some other young men went prowling the streets of Jupiter, Florida in the early morning hours of April 18, 2015,” said Assistant State Attorney Jill Richstone during her opening statement at Harris’ trial Tuesday.

“Why? They were going ‘Guat hunting,' which means to rob, steal from unsuspecting, unsuspecting, weak Guatemalans,” said Richstone.

The men, while walking in the street, were invited to hang out with Lopez-Ramos and his family i…

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Former Jupiter police sergeant, fired for sex acts on duty, sues town alleging sexual harassment

JUPITER, Fla. - A former Jupiter police sergeant, fired after an investigation found he performed sex acts while on duty, is now suing the town of Jupiter.

Jason VanSteenburgh is suing the town for negligent supervision as well as retaliation and discrimination, after he says he was sexually harassed by then Major Amy Walling.

Walling was fired at the same time as VanSteenburgh, for engaging in those sexual acts with the sergeant, while he was on duty.

Investigators said videos taken during the acts were part of evidence. 

In his lawsuit, VanSteenburgh admits he engaged in a sexual relationship with his supervisor, Walling in 2013. But he says "she used her power as major to discipline him for personal matters/disputes and put his position on the SWAT team at issue."

VanSteenburgh said he ended his relationship with W…

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