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Mother accused of cutting son’s throat, then her own By Ihosvani Rodriguez SUN SENTINEL

Teamwork: It’s for the birds


A Quaker parrot perches on the grate trapping the bird’s young in a previous nest within pipes extending from a strip of Las Olas shops.

SPCA, Las Olas merchants fly to baby parrots’ aid By Susannah Bryan |


FORT LAUDERDALE — Time was running out. Four baby parrots, trapped for two days inside the wall of a building on Las Olas Boulevard without food or water, were going to die. Brenna Corn, 24, was not going to let that happen. “They were going to starve to death,” said Corn, a clerk at a shoe store next door to the nests. “I couldn’t just leave them like that.” A metal cage had been placed over three air vents in the back of a realty office on Tuesday, trapping the month-old Mitred Conure parrots in their nests. On Thursday, the babies’ parents hung on the cage, their squawks filling the air. Corn called the SPCA Wildlife Care Center. They sent two rescue workers, but they couldn’t get to the nests. Realtor John D’Angelo agreed to let workers cut a hole in his ceiling so rescuers could save the birds. The four parrots can’t be released because they are not native to the United States. They will be put up for adoption in a month. “Happy ending,” D’Angelo said. Susannah Bryan can be reached at or 954-356-4554.

Eric Sherlock, an independent designer doing work on the Las Olas building, cut a hole in the ceiling to rescue the four baby Quaker parrots. They will be put up for adoption.

HOLLYWOOD — Mirtha Arias was under orders to appear in a Pennsylvania courtroom Thursday, responding to claims she had failed to share custody of her 3-year-old son with the boy’s father. Instead, police said, Arias sliced her son’s throat with a box cutter and then tried to kill herself the same way at their Hollywood apartment. The child, Sebastian Capriotti, was in critical but stable condition late Thursday, and was able to tell police how his mother attacked him, said Lt. Scott Pardon, Hollywood police spokesman. The mother also remained in critical but stable condition at Memorial Regional Hospital. She was charged with attempted murder. Arias’s older son, Cesar Rivera, 14, awoke at around 9 a.m. Thursday and, finding blood all over the house, called 911. Police did not describe the state of the apartment in the 6100 block of Cleveland Street, but officials say the scene was so horrific fire rescue workers had permission to go home or seek counseling. Arias and her 3-year-old son were severely cut in the neck. Homicide detectives determined Arias was despondent over the ongoing custody battle with the child’s father, James Capriotti of Hazleton, Pa. Broward court records show the mother filed for a restraining order against Capriotti in June. In her petition, Arias claimed that Capriotti traveled to Hollywood in June and insisted on taking the child back to his home state. When the mother refused, Capriotti allegedly threatened to beat her in front of witnesses at the Seminole Hard Rock Café, where the two agreed to meet. He threatened to take the child, but the mother’s witnesses intervened and she manage to drive away, according to the affidavit. “I fear for my life and the lives of my children,” she wrote. A hearing on the restraining order was scheduled for earlier this week, but postponed until October. Capriotti claimed through his attorney that Arias had refused to comply with a 2007 court agreement to share custody of their child. Capriotti claimed Arias repeatedly refused to make any arrangements for him to see the boy, or have contact by phone. And when Sebastian did speak on the phone, his mother would order him to speak only in Spanish, the father said. A judge ordered Arias to Please turn to ARIAS, 8B

First case of Broward dengue fever confirmed

Appellate court: Give bail to man tied to hit-and-run

County will step up spraying; victim is recovering



The tropical virus dengue fever has spread to Broward County mosquitoes, health officials said Thursday, after tests confirmed the first known case of the disease being contracted here. An adult who had not left Broward for weeks came down with the mosquito-borne disease this month, meaning Broward is now the second place in the continental United States — following Key West — where dengue fever exists. Officials at the Broward County Health Department would not identify the person or disclose where the person lives, but said the county will step up mosquito spraying and hammer harder on its message to prevent bug bites — especially since Florida has logged a few cases of other

mosquito diseases such as West Nile virus. “The person has recovered fully,” said Dr. Paul Thaqi, health department director. “This is an important opportunity for us to emphasize to folks to prevent mosquito-borne disease.” Dengue causes mild to severe flulike symptoms marked by pain in the bones and behind the eyes, plus fever and vomiting. In severe or repeat cases, it can be fatal. The virus spreads only from the bite of an infected mosquito, not by human to human contact. There’s no vaccine or drug to treat it. Many people who get infected never get sick at all. In Key West, at least 53 cases have been reported since the outbreak began in September, including a Wilton Manors woman infected while visiting the island. But the new Broward case is the first time a person was infected by mosquitoes living here. Carina Blackmore, a mosquito disease specialist at the state Department of Health, said she’s certain the Please turn to DENGUE, 8B

“This is an important opportunity for us to emphasize to folks to prevent mosquitoborne disease.” Dr. Paul Thaqi, Broward County health department director.

By Jon Burstein The Illinois man charged with last year’s fatal hit-and-run of two British businessmen was allowed to leave jail Thursday night, after an appellate court ruling entitled him to bail. Ryan LeVin, 35, has been sitting in the Broward County Jail since March after he was charged with the Feb. 13, 2009, crash along State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale that killed business partners Craig Elford, 39, and Kenneth Watkinson, 48. Fort Lauderdale police think LeVin had been racing his $120,000 Porsche 911 Turbo when it careened onto the sidewalk near Courtyard by Marriott, 440 Seabreeze Blvd., and struck the two men from behind. LeVin’s bail in the vehicular homicide case had been set at $21,000, but because of an Illinois warrant for a parole violation he was held without bail. The 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach ruled Thursday afternoon that since Illinois authorities had failed to take custody of LeVin within 90 days, he could no longer be held in jail on the out-of-

See more For recently published stories on Ryan LeVin, to see photos from the scene of the hit-and-run deaths or to make a comment on our message board, go to

state warrant. “The LeVin family and I are very happy,” said David Bogenschutz, LeVin’s attorney. “The right thing has happened.” Broward jail records show that LeVin posted the $21,000 bail and was released at about 9:30 p.m. LeVin, of Barrington Hills, Ill., has pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Each of the vehicular homicide charges could carry up to 15 years in prison. LeVin has denied he was driving the Porsche at the time of the crash, pinning the blame on his friend Derek Cook. Cook is charged with dumping the damaged car for LeVin. He has pleaded not guilty and is out of jail on an $8,500 bond. LeVin, the troubled scion of a Please turn to HIT-AND-RUN, 8B


By Bob LaMendola SUNSENTINEL.COM»FRIDAY, AUGUST13, 2010»SB By Ihosvani Rodriguez Susannah Bryan can be reached at or...