DAYTONA BEACH, Fla -- I have been reporting the news in greater Daytona for two-plus decades, much of it the seedy side of life as my focus has mostly been on breaking news related to cops & cops, though in the past two years, I've had to put a greater emphasis on investigative reporting connected to three public figures who I have termed the "Devil's Triangle."
The mastermind of this triangle is Sheriff Mike Chitwood, a cutthroat power-hungry psychopath, whose Scumbag-Eradicator persona was built up in his decade as chief of police in Daytona before his 2016 primary-election win for sheriff.
The second cop turned-turned elected politician is Heather Post, who blatantly lied to the voters on the eve of her 2016 general election for a seat on the County Council, by denying use of cocaine and marijuana early on in her adult life contrary to public records n her county personnel file./
And the final miscreant in this triangle is suspected pedophile David Lee Davis, a failed candidate in the 2016 race for county supervisor of elections, a political strategist/blogger and longtime substitute teacher who was arrested eight days ago for allegedly molesting a 15-year-old boy by force in his apartment.
More on this frightening trio alliance shortly, but first this preamble: My brand of hard-charging "smash mouth" journalism has generated nearly a hundred award-winning stories; by far more than any other current member of the working press in Daytona-Sanford-Orlando in the past 20 years.
By virtue of the fast-paced nature of responding to news lending itself to homicide and other gratuitous violent crime fueled by drugs and guns, though it has also been tempered somewhat by dramatic and tragic crashes on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway: from Dale Earnhardt's last-lap fatality in the 2001 Daytona 500, to son Dale Earnhardt Jr's Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014, and Junior's taking of the checkered flag with a major crash behind him in the 2015 Coke Zero 400 under the lights at Daytona.
Looking back to the 1990s and early 200s, there was my coverage of the Trull Brothers murder trial at the Justice Center in Daytona, appeal hearings for killers Kosta Fotopoulos and Deidre Hunt; as well as death row appeals for Anthony and Jeffrey Farina in the Taco Bell robbery-murder.
I witnessed the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Starke Prison's Death Chamber, reported on the civil trial brought by Dale Earnhardt's widow in Circuit Judge Joe Will's courtroom that resulted in the sealing of the NASCAR racing legend's autopsy photos. And there was Judge Will's prison re-sentencing of Virginia Larzelere as the architect in the gunshot slaying of her Edgewater Dentist husband, Dr. Norman Larzelere, to try and collect on a life insurance policy, with her young adult son, later acquitted of being the triggerman in the killing of his stepfather.
In this past decade as the online publisher of Headline Surfer, there was my extensive reporting on corruption in the Oak Hill police force led by a chief with a cocaine past that led to the shuttering of the municipal cop shop, the George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford, and the Coke Zero 400 race three years ago won by Earnhardt Jr. concluding with an airborne car ripping into the catch fence and debris injuring several fans.
But nothing compares to the absolute political ugliness in Volusia County centered around the election cycle of 2016 and the upcoming November elections.