Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Woman Found Dead in Bathtub; Firefighters Say a Pot of Burning Food Filled Her Home with Smoke

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Woman Found Dead in Bathtub; Firefighters Say a Pot of Burning Food Filled Her Home with Smoke

Article excerpt

Jacksonville firefighters found a 52-year-old woman dead in her bathtub Friday afternoon after kicking in her door when smoke seeped into a neighbor's apartment.

It happened about 1:30 p.m. in a ground-floor unit of The Commons at 1721 Anniston Road.

Fire and police investigators were probing later Friday if the victim, Charlotte Clay, died from smoke or another cause.

They said they didn't suspect any foul play.

Firefighters tried to revive the woman after finding her in the tub full of water but weren't successful. Food was cooking on the stove, where the smoke that filled the apartment appeared to be coming from, fire department spokesman Tom Francis said.

The victim's apartment had a smoke detector, but investigators aren't sure if it was working at the time of her death.

Her husband spoke to investigators behind crime scene tape Friday but declined a Times-Union interview.

Friends lent him some comfort as he stood in the shade of a carport as an acquaintance shouted to him from a distance asking what had happened.

"My wife is gone," he told her. "My wife is gone."

Bridget Murphy and Adam Aasen


A robber who shot and killed a convenience store clerk the day after Christmas 2004 was sentenced Friday to life in prison.

A jury convicted Toney R. Tolbert, 21, last month of the first-degree murder of Abdullatief Mashhour, a 40-year-old Syrian immigrant with a wife and three children.

A video camera recorded Mashhour dusting shelves in a store on Woodbine Street, in the Brentwood area of Jacksonville's Northside, when a gunman walked in and immediately shot him, said Assistant State Attorney Alan Mizrahi. After putting three bullets in Mashhour, the robber emptied the cash register and took the dead man's car.

Mashhour shot a robber the month before that, using a gun kept under the register, Mizrahi said. He said investigators think Tolbert, who knew Mashhour, decided to kill the clerk fast so he couldn't arm himself.

Two men who said they were lookouts pleaded guilty to armed robbery and identified Tolbert as the shooter. His fingerprints were found on the cash drawer and on a lottery ticket under Mashhour's body.

The lookouts, Kenyon Davis, 26, and Terrance E. Banks, 21, are scheduled for sentencing Monday, Mizrahi said.

Steve Patterson


With another young man dead, the MAD DADS Jacksonville chapter is trying to do something about it.

Chapter President Donald Foy is imploring people to break the code of silence that's keeping criminals on the streets. Whether it's fear of retribution or respect for the "don't snitch" mantra, a lot of people who know about crimes keep quiet.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Abdul Omar Bland of Jacksonville is dead. …

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