Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Bradenton Beach Voters Pick New Mayor

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Bradenton Beach Voters Pick New Mayor

Article excerpt


BILL SHEARON: Calls himself problem-solver and wants to resolve the Morris case

This city's mayor-elect, Bill Shearon, has a chocolate Lab guide dog named Reese, a successful business background and a penchant for solving problems.

Shearon, who is legally blind, was elected as Bradenton Beach's next mayor Tuesday, defeating John Shaughnessy.

The new mayor began his business career as an independent petroleum marketer, starting with one employee and retiring when he had 150.

Now, at 66, Shearon said he considers himself a problem solver.

"Any controversy -- whenever something is unresolved -- never gets smaller. It gets bigger," he said Wednesday. "My goal is to get things resolved and off our plate, instead of carrying things out for too long."

Shearon is well aware of the still-unresolved death of Sheena Morris, although he acknowledges that he is not privy to all the facts of the case.

"I know there's been a controversy involving the mayor, the police chief and a sergeant, but I haven't heard their side," he said. "That's one of the things we'll be addressing. It concerns me because it hasn't been resolved."

Morris, 22, was found hanging in a shower stall of a Bradenton Beach hotel room on New Year's Day 2009.

Bradenton Beach police detective Lenard Diaz quickly concluded that the young woman had killed herself -- a conclusion Osborn and the rest of Morris' family have always rejected.

Last October, after the Herald-Tribune published a series of stories about Morris' death, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement assembled a panel of experts to re-examine the case. The group consisted of seasoned prosecutors, detectives, forensic specialists and medical examiners.

The experts concluded that the case should be reopened, and the FDLE assigned several special agents to the investigation.

Assistant State Attorney Art Brown III, a seasoned murder prosecutor, has been overseeing the case, and has asked FDLE agents for more information.

Brown will determine what happens next with the case. …

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