Top Three.... I've been waiting for this article as our local paper is running a Top Ten Countdown of the years biggest new story: http://www.sun-herald.com/CHNewsstory.cfm?pubdate=122907&story=ch4.htm&folder=NewsArchive2 Editor's note: As 2007 draws to a close, the Sun will be counting down the top 10 stories of the year, through New Years eve. Count down number 3. Love, drugs and money were the reasons to kill in Charlotte County this year. With 10 homicide victims in 2007, the county hit its highest number in at least a decade, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics. The murders were apparently motivated by relationships ending, drug deals falling through and robberies going awry. Yana Huss decided to divorce her husband, Scott Huss, after years of police intervention for domestic abuse. Huss, 31, may not have wanted the marriage to end. On April 25, he allegedly stabbed her to death, slashing her so severely he nearly decapitated her. Her 8-year-old son from a previous marriage reportedly witnessed her death at her Port Charlotte home. Scott Huss then fled, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office. Tallahassee Police arrested him at a bus station. Now, he's at the Charlotte County Jail, awaiting trial on one count of second-degree murder. "Most often when we hear about homicide, it's when someone threatens to leave," said Kay Tvaroch, executive director of the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, a victim services organization that aids Charlotte County residents facing domestic abuse. That's because domestic abuse is about power, she said -- and when an abuser faces the prospect of losing that which he controls, he may make the most decisive move of all. In light of the risk, many victims choose not to leave. "You can't say to somebody, 'Why don't you just leave?'" Tvaroch said. "You've got to let people make their own decisions, and that's what we try to do." :cry: :cry: :cry: In light of the increase in homicides in Charlotte County and elsewhere in the 20th judicial circuit, the State Attorney's Office formed a Homicide Unit in late fall 2007. Daniel Feinberg and Bob Lee, both longtime prosecutors in Charlotte County, now work exclusively on homicides throughout the five-county circuit. "I don't see any slowdown in the situation, so it's possible this unit will increase in size if we get the necessary resources," said Stephen B. Russell, state attorney for the 20th circuit, which includes Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Glades and Hendry counties. "We have to get them through the system and get criminals convicted to be protective of our citizens."