[PHOTO CREDIT: James Hope, J.D.]
(This Article was First Published in LLN in November, 2014 — Issue No. 20.)
Having spent so much of his life pounding the news beat, veteran journalist Frank Stanfield is once again hitting the road, this time making promotional stops throughout Florida in support of his second book, “Vampires, Gators and Wackos.” It truly does provide a unique window into—as the tag line reads—“A Newspaperman’s Life.”
Stanfield recently returned to what has for years proved to be one of his happy-hunting-grounds for intriguing news stories, namely, the Lake County Courthouse in Tavares. This time, Stanfield became part of the story as a steady procession of people visited him in the jury assembly room to obtain copies of his new book, which he gladly signed. Whereas some people left with a single copy, others left with two, three, or even more, intending to give copies as gifts to the great number of people who are still around and who lived some of the events detailed within the book—numbering over 450 pages. (It should be noted that in a very user-friendly way, the author wisely provides an alphabetized list of names and the page number where those names appear: Quickly finding a passage mentioning, for example, “Duckett,” “Knupp,” “Lockett,” or even “O’Keefe,” is a simple task.)
With a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Florida under his belt, Stanfield retired as a newspaper reporter and editor after spending more than 30 years working for publications such as the Ocala Star-Banner, The Orlando Sentinel, the Wilmington Star-News, Leesburg Daily Commercial and The Augusta Chronicle. To immediately catch the flavor of what Stanfield’s book contains, one need only read the teaser printed on the back cover:
During his decades-long crime coverage in Central Florida, journalist Frank Stanfield covered every atrocity that man or nature could unleash. Vampires, Gators and Wackos: A Newspaperman’s Life recounts the frequently craven, and at times downright stupid, crimes Stanfield covered during his time in the field. He somehow made it through without winding up more mental than the crackpots he tracked. However, his unvarnished, no-holds-barred accounts of news events reveals just how crazyBook’s back cover
Throughout Central Florida, even at this moment, several juries are likely in ‘deliberation’ — but not so with regard to Stanfield’s fascinating new book: It’s verdict is already in, and it’s a favorable one.
James Hope is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer who has been practicing criminal law in Tavares, Florida, since 1987. He has also been the Publisher and Executive Editor of Lake Legal News since 2009. He may be contacted at LakeLegalNews@gmail.com, or through his website at www.AttorneyJamesHope.com. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]