Articles on this Page
- 03/19/15--11:00: _Florida Supreme Cou...
- 03/19/15--11:03: _Naked spring breake...
- 03/19/15--11:06: _Man injured, suspec...
- 03/19/15--12:04: _Jackson County pede...
- 03/19/15--12:05: _Gulf County seeks J...
- 03/19/15--14:35: _Accused Rainbow Gat...
- 03/19/15--16:07: _Spring breakers rec...
- 03/20/15--07:28: _EMS grapples with i...
- 03/20/15--08:00: _PCPD seeks robbery ...
- 03/20/15--08:36: _Lynn Haven police s...
- 03/20/15--14:11: _Springfield Fire to...
- 03/20/15--15:30: _School bus driver h...
- 03/20/15--16:40: _BCSO locates subjec...
- 03/20/15--16:41: _Spring breaker inju...
- 03/21/15--08:15: _Former Franklin Cou...
- 03/21/15--08:16: _BCSO arrest log (Ma...
- 03/21/15--14:01: _Deputies: Jackson C...
- 03/22/15--18:03: _1 critically injure...
- 03/22/15--18:23: _Robbery suspect nab...
- 03/23/15--10:41: _Wanted man faces dr...
- 03/19/15--11:03: Naked spring breaker attracts attention
- 03/19/15--11:06: Man injured, suspect arrested in Wewa shooting
- 03/19/15--12:04: Jackson County pedestrian struck, hospitalized
- 03/19/15--12:05: Gulf County seeks January burglary suspects
- 03/19/15--14:35: Accused Rainbow Gathering shooter booked on murder charge
- 03/19/15--16:07: Spring breakers recovering at home following fiery crash
- 03/20/15--07:28: EMS grapples with increased calls from Spring Break
- 03/20/15--08:00: PCPD seeks robbery suspect
- 03/20/15--08:36: Lynn Haven police seek man considered dangerous
- 03/20/15--14:11: Springfield Fire to speed up rescue times with new gear
- 03/20/15--15:30: School bus driver hospitalized
- 03/20/15--16:40: BCSO locates subject of nude Twitter photos
- 03/20/15--16:41: Spring breaker injured in balcony fall
- 03/21/15--08:15: Former Franklin County probation officer gets 2 years in prison
- 03/21/15--08:16: BCSO arrest log (March 10-17)
- 03/21/15--14:01: Deputies: Jackson County man held wife against will, beat her
- 03/22/15--18:03: 1 critically injured in crash
- 03/22/15--18:23: Robbery suspect nabbed in P.C.
- 03/23/15--10:41: Wanted man faces drug charges after traffic stop
TALLAHASSEE (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court is ordering new sentencing hearings for four people who were convicted of felonies they committed as juveniles, including two murders.
The court ruled Thursday that new sentences are required to comply with two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. One says juveniles can't be sent to prison for life if they haven't killed someone. The other ruled life-without-parole sentences are unconstitutional for juvenile murderers.
The decisions included the case of Rebecca Falcon, who was 15 in 1997 when she was involved in the murder of a cab driver near Panama City.
Anthony Horsley will also receive a new sentence. He was 17 when was involved in a 2006 Palm Bay robbery and murder.
Two other cases involved effective life sentences for felonies in which victims weren't killed.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Authorities are trying to identify a female Spring Break visitor, caught naked on camera and surrounded on the beach by a group of males, to ensure her well-being, according to Bay County Sheriff’s officials.
BCSO does not know when or where the photos of the female were taken, officials said. However, they suspect the female — who is wearing nothing more than a stack of beads, sunglasses and an ambiguous expression — could be underage, or close to it, and possibly in distress.
BCSO spokeswoman Ruth Corley said authorities want to identify the female to check on her well-being and determine if the pictures were taken consensually.
“We aren’t trying to get her into trouble,” Corley said. “We want to make sure she isn’t in trouble.”
BCSO was alerted to the social media site Twitter after the pictures were posted March 11. In one of the pictures, which have since been removed from Twitter, the nude female visitor appears to be bent over dancing at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.
No descriptive landmarks can be seen in the background.
In the other picture, posted moments before, she is partially attempting to cover herself as a group of males surrounds her. An arm reaches into the frame, grabbing the stack of beads around her neck.
When the pictures could have been taken is difficult to determine, Corley said, but BCSO asked the public for help identifying the female.
“We want to make sure she is OK, check her well-being and make sure the pictures were consensual,” Corley said.
Corley said the case is not related to a missing Leon County 15-year-old, Sidney Fuller, who is believed to be in Bay County. Fuller is 5 feet 6 inches tall. She weighs 110 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen in Tallahassee on March 6.
Anyone with information on either of the cases is asked to contact the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 850-747-4700 or Crime Stoppers at 850-785-TIPS (8477).
WEWAHITCHKA — A man was injured and another arrested after a shooting early Thursday morning in Wewahitchka.
Officers responded to the shooting on Sunset Drive. The victim was taken to Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart. The shooter was apprehended about an hour later.
Names of the victim and shooter have not been released. More details are expected from Gulf County police later.
Check back later for more on this story.
MARIANNA — A Bascom man is in serious condition after being struck by a car while walking along a highway, according to Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reports.
According to FHP officers, 50-year-old Troy Charles Roberts was walking along U.S. 90 just west of State 71 at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday when a car struck him. Roberts allegedly entered the eastbound lane as Steven Tracy Walls, 52, was driving east in a 2007 Nissan Altima, officers reported.
The Altima careened into Roberts, damaging the front windshield and then the rear windshield; Roberts came to a final rest sitting in the broken rear windshield, FHP reported.
Roberts was taken to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, Alabama, serious condition.
No charges have been brought against Walls, FHP said.
WEWAHITCHKA — Authorities are reaching out to the public for help snaring a couple burglary suspects who allegedly stole a handgun from a home in broad daylight, according to a Gulf County Sheriff’s Office news release.
GCSO identified Lesley Jean Brasher, 36, as one of the suspects involved in a daytime burglary in the Stone Mill Creek Area. Law enforcement issued a warrant for Brasher for burglary of a structure while armed, but Sheriff Mike Harrison released a request for public assistance Thursday in locating Brasher.
GCSO investigators responded to the report of a residential burglary Jan. 20 in the 300 block of E. Creekview Drive north of Wewahitchka. GCSO officials said Brasher and another person were captured on a home security system. They then allegedly armed themselves during the break-in by stealing a handgun from the home, GCSO reported.
Brasher is a white female with blonde hair, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds. If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Lesley Jean Brasher, please contact the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office at 850-227-1115, your local law enforcement agency or call CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS (8477).
APALACHICOLA — After nearly two weeks recuperating in Tallahassee from stab wounds, the 40-year-old Georgia man wanted in connection to a March 5 shooting at a Rainbow Gathering in the Apalachicola National Forest has been transferred to Apalachicola to face murder charges.
Clark Mayers, of Milledgeville, Georgia, was booked into the Franklin County Jail on Tuesday afternoon and later transferred to Weems Memorial Hospital, where he was recuperating from multiple stab wounds sustained at the hands of individuals at the Rainbow Gathering in the aftermath of the early morning shooting.
Mayers was charged with one count of first-degree murder, which carries a possible sentence of death, for the killing of Jacob Cardwell, from Golden Valley, Arizona, believed to be in his late 20s. Eyewitnesses said Cardwell, who went by the nickname Smiley, was shot twice in the head in the early morning incident, sometime before 2:30 a.m. EST.
Mayers also was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony, for shooting 24-year-old Wesley Jones, who goes by the name Dice. Mayers was granted $50,000 bond on that charge but is being held without bond on the murder charge.
Jones remains in critical but stable condition at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, paralyzed from the effect of three shots, to his back, lung and spine.
Mayers was first treated for his injuries at Tallahassee Memorial, his room guarded around the clock by Franklin County sheriff deputies. The security detail remains in place at Weems.
Because the incident took place in a national forest, where the month-long Rainbow Gathering was to be held under the terms of a permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service, a meeting was held last week to determine whether the case would be handled by federal or state prosecutors.
“We clearly have jurisdiction,” said State Attorney Willie Meggs. Tthe federal prosecutors “have jurisdiction if they want it. If that’s a good case, they probably would want it.”
Rainbow Gatherings are annual meetings connected with the Rainbow Family of the Living Light, a loosely defined collection of people associated with hippie culture. The original Rainbow Gathering was in 1972 and has been emulated throughout the year in regional gatherings, often in national forests.
According to eyewitnesses, Mayers was angry that people were burning tires at the Gathering and began videotaping them. After his camera was thrown into the flames, they said he walked to his car, returned with a pistol and began shooting.
Jones’s mother has said she believes the tensions began at the 2014 Apalachicola event.
“Last year the same guy was angry at my son and his group, and he came up with a fire extinguisher,” she said. “This isn’t just this time. He threatened my son last year, but he didn’t carry through with it.”
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Two spring breakers who were caught under a burning van a week ago have headed home for treatment of their injuries.
Larry Reynolds and Jonathan Sharp, both of Mississippi, were riding scooters Thursday of last week at about 3:40 p.m. when a van behind them struck the two bikes and pinned the two men under the vehicle. Flames spread quickly, burning the scooters and much of the van. Bystanders pulled the two to safety, but not before both men suffered serious injuries.
Both Reynolds and Sharp spent time in a local hospital before returning home to Mississippi for treatment. Reynolds has a long way to go toward recovery. He has two broken legs, a broken ankle and one leg is severely burned. And to add to the matter, Reynolds did not have insurance at the time.
When police and fire crews arrived at Front Beach Road and Richard Jackson Boulevard, the 1997 Ford van was ablaze and billowing black smoke. The intersection, a main thoroughfare for much of Spring Break traffic, was shut down for hours as firefighters doused the flames.
Panama City Beach Police reported the driver of the van Steven L. Sanders, 20, was driving west on Front Beach Drive when he struck the two scooters. Sanders continued to drive before rear-ending a Chevy Malibu. When he crashed into the back of the Malibu, the front end of the van lifted up and came down on the two scooters, momentarily pinning their drivers underneath, PCBPD reported.
Before coming to a stop, both scooters and the van erupted in flames.
Bystanders sprung to action and freed the two men before emergency crews arrived. One witness, who preferred to go unidentified, said because of fuel spilling from the vehicles Reynolds and Sharp remained on fire after they were pulled to safety.
“They was still on fire,” he said. “Even after we beat the flames out, his legs caught fire again it was so hot.”
Reynolds was transported to Bay Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition. Sharp was in stable condition and air-lifted to a burn center.
The occupants of the Malibu and Sanders and his passengers were not injured in the crash. Sanders, of Springfield, Ill., was charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Police were investigating other charges in the crash. According to court records, no other charges have been filed.
PANAMA CITY — Paramedic Joslyn Connor recently worked a Spring Break shift in which 167 calls were dispatched for 911 ambulance service.
“That was pretty much no sleep for 24 hours,” she said. “It’s a rough business when it gets hot.”
Ambulances with lights on and sirens blaring have been traveling over the Hathaway Bridge on a regular basis, transporting Spring Break revelers who have been injured, over-imbibed or overdosed to Bay Medical Center and Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center.
Mark Bowen, the director of emergency services for the county, told county commissioners Tuesday that 911 calls are up 9 percent this Spring Break compared to last year, and there has been a 7 percent increase in transports. County Commissioner Mike Thomas urged him to contact EMS services in other counties to see whether they can help with response during Spring Break.
Connor said paramedics that usually work in zones on the east side of the bridge are frequently being called out to the Beach to cover calls.
“As soon as all the Beach trucks get busy, which is every day, we’re going over there and running calls,” she said.
Connor said many of the calls involve spring breakers who have had too much to drink.
“There is always a lot of unresponsive kids,” she said. “We get them in the sand or in a stairwell in any hotel. They won’t know where they are at. We get a lot of altercations; that’s a big deal, a lot of fighting. We get a lot of nausea, vomiting.”
Getting through traffic and pedestrians to the people who need help can be quite a challenge, she said.
“It is extremely busy,” she said. “A lot of times we have to run lights and sirens back over to get somebody.”
Bay County EMS Shift Supervisor Eddie Kemp said they’ve tried to prepare for Spring Break as well as they can.
“We have seven, 24-hour trucks on the road, and then during this time of the year we’ll add what we call ‘float trucks,’ ” he said. “They’ll work 12-hour shifts. We’ll have sometimes three of those a day.”
Many of the Spring Break calls are alcohol-related, he said.
“We normally around 12 (p.m.) to 2 (p.m.) start seeing the call volume pick up out on the Beach,” he said. “I guess that’s when they (spring breakers) start getting around doing their thing, and then it’s just on from there. It could be an injury on the beach. It could be a water call, some type of trauma.”
Kemp said the EMS service has four ambulances stationed on the Beach.
“The rest of the area is covered by what we call ‘the east side trucks,’ and we have two, 24-hour trucks here,” he said. “And we have a float truck here, plus myself.”
Reinforcements: Ambulances parked in locations like Lynn Haven and Callaway are called out to the Beach if need be, Kemp said. “If all the trucks on the Beach are on calls, then we’ll start rotating other units out there from the east side,” he said.
A week ago, a dispatcher said over the police scanner that all ambulances were in use.
“That’s very possible,” Kemp said. “Then, either supervisor goes out or the fire department goes there initially as a first responder.”
Kemp said paramedics are well prepared to treat just about any injury or condition, and they dislike being labeled “ambulance drivers.” He said the back of the ambulances are like mini-emergency rooms, with equipment such as EKG machines to determine whether a person is having a heart attack. That information is hooked into hospitals.
“Doctors will take a quick look at it to confirm it,” he said. “With us, 80 percent of the time we go straight to the cath lab with that person, bypassing the ER. It saves time.”
He said they also have an assortment of medicines and intravenous medications. Many spring breakers are suffering from dehydration, Kemp said. “A lot of these visitors are not used to our weather here,” he said.
EMS parks a few ambulances during Spring Break in the “Triangle,” consisting of the area near Alvin’s Island, Club La Vela and Spinnaker Beach Club.
“We put two or three trucks plus a supervisor so we can respond immediately,” Kemp said. “You’re looking at 30-second response on times. On some of those calls as they leave, we’ll rotate others out to that area.
“A lot of that call volume becomes cancellations. They will say, ‘I don’t need you,’ and we just put them right back in that spot. Sometimes people at this time of year will call if they think something is wrong, and then we get there, and it’s like, ‘I didn’t call you.’ ”
Lawrence Smith is an EMS supervisor who works the Triangle. Smith, who was parked in the location on Wednesday afternoon, said the job poses risks to the responders.
“They have pulled I don’t know how many guns off of kids, knives and guns,” he said. “Do you see where that security guard is across the street there at La Vela? They don’t allow mopeds in there. A guy got mad so he pulled a gun on them. I was sitting right here.”
Smith said members of the 100-miler club — adults who live within 100 miles of the Beach — have come into town to prey on the spring breakers, and it’s increasing EMS call volume.
“It’s not fair to them (spring breakers). They usually get robbed — phones wallets and purses,” he said. “I probably will be here until 3:30 a.m.”
He said the Sheriff’s Office has trucks that transport spring breakers from the Beach to the ambulances in front of Club La Vela.
“They try to bring the patients to us,” he said. “When that parking lot gets slammed full and you have 5,000 people in there, it’s hard to get from where I’m sitting to the front door. It’s hard for us to get through there. Even with the lights on and with the siren beeping at them, they don’t move.”
Smith said the behavior of the Spring Break crowd gets worse every year, and it’s contributing to an increasing number of emergency calls.
“I guess it’s a different mentality with the kids,” he said. “They don’t seem to respect police, fire or EMS at all. Now you have the odd group who understands what we deal with and they are real nice to us.”
The bottom line is that covering Spring Break has become more dangerous, not only for law enforcement but EMS, Smith said.
“We’re having to be more diligent taking care of each other,” he said. “It’s dangerous for everyone.”
The Panama City Police Department seeks a suspect in a string of robberies that occurred Thursday night in Lynn Haven and Panama City.
The suspect, Rey Xavier Agosto Zeno, 28, was last seen running north from the area of the VJ Mart, 2112 Frankford Ave., after an alleged attempted robbery Thursday, police said. He was wearing a gray tank top and dark pants and is Hispanic, between 5-10 and 6 foot with short hair.
Anyone having information in this case is asked to call the PCPD at (850) 872-3100 or they can report their tips anonymously to CrimeStoppers at (850) 785-TIPS.
LYNN HAVEN — Police are searching for a man who allegedly fought with officers upon his attempted arrest and fled on foot after he was found sleeping on the porch of someone he didn’t know.
Lynn Haven Police said Kedrick Jamal McNeil was reported sleeping on the back porch of a house at 2501 Minnesota Avenue at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday. Officers made contact with and identified McNeil, who said he was tired and needed rest while walking to Springfield, police said. McNeil did not give an exact destination and did not give a viable reason to be sleeping on a stranger’s porch, police reported.
McNeil, 18, allegedly became combative when officers tried to place him under arrest. McNeil was able to break free and is still on the loose, police said.
A search of a backpack left behind McNeil stated was his revealed a stolen handgun, another loaded gun and an assault rifle magazine, police said. LHPD asked for assistance from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office to locate McNeil.
McNeil is currently on probation for several other charges, including grand theft auto and burglary, according to the state’s Department of Corrections website. Police consider him dangerous.
Anyone with information is asked to call LHPD at (850) 365-1112 or CrimeStoppers at (850) 785-TIPS.
SPRINGFIELD — The fastest Springfield firefighters could set up their gas-powered spreaders and cutters — after hooking up the 25-foot line and letting the engine warm up — was 3 minutes.
That doesn’t sound like a long time, but it can make a difference in a life-or-death situation.
“Time is life,” Fire Chief Michael Larimore said.
Their response time should improve; Springfield received a donation Friday of $24,000 worth of tools — the crown jewels being a battery-powered spreader and cutter — from Firehouse Subs. The donation also included a windshield cutter, crowbars, batteries and stability jacks.
Laramore said the fire department did have a situation, a wreck on Tyndall Parkway, where they would have wanted these lighter, more accessible tools. The gas-powered tool jammed, but the person’s injuries were severe enough that removing the victim fast enough probably would not have helped. The battery-powered tools have the advantage of being quiet.
The fire department demonstrated the tools Friday, removing both passenger doors of an old sedan with the cutter and spreader and quickly slicing through the windshield.
Firehouse Subs made the contribution from its $2 empty pickle bucket sales and donations it asks for as customers order. The restaurant has donated $65,000 to Bay County departments — to Panama City Beach and Lynn Haven — and $12 million nationwide.
“All the big departments have these,” Laramore said. “If it’s good enough for the big cities, it’s good enough for Springfield.”
SPRINGFIELD — A school bus driver has been hospitalized after a head-on crash with a car, according to Springfield Police reports.
One student was on board the bus at the time, but police reported she was uninjured.
Kevin D. McKenzie was driving a white sedan west on 11th Street toward Helen Avenue shortly before 8 a.m. Friday when he crossed the yellow line into oncoming traffic and crashed head on with a school bus, according to police reports. Joseph Brown, driver of the school bus, attempted to avoid the collision, honking the bus’s horn, but he was unable to get the other driver’s attention, officers reported.
McKenzie said he swerved because he dropped a cigarette. A witness to the crash told police she was driving in front of McKenzie and saw him cross the yellow line several times.
Brown was taken by EMS crews to a local hospital.
McKenzie was charged with failure to maintain his traffic lane.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — A spring breaker photographed naked and surrounded by a crowd of shirtless men on the beach returned home safely, according to a Bay County Sheriff’s Office news release.
The 17-year-old female became aware through the media that her identity was sought, contacted the BCSO on Friday and spoke with investigators. The BCSO requested law enforcement in the same city the girl lives in to make contact with her; they verified her claim to be the girl in the photo.
The girl lives in the southern part of the United States and told investigators she visited Panama City Beach for Spring Break. Although she stated her behavior and interaction with the crowd was consensual and she is safe, she did not realize someone was taking her picture, according to BCSO.
The photo was posted on Twitter on March 11, when law enforcement became concerned for the girl’s safety. The female was on the sand on what was believed to be Panama City Beach, surrounded by a crowd of men in bathing suits. She was wearing no clothing and appeared to be underage and also was in a second photo seen bent over near the water.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — A Spring Break visitor is in the hospital with serious injuries following an early morning fall from a second-story balcony, according to Bay County Sheriff’s Office reports.
Justin Harrold, 31, of Duvall, Wash., was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday after officers arrived to find him unconscious on the pavement of the Sunset Inn, 8109 Surf Drive. Officers reported that Harrold had been drinking heavily prior to tumbling from the second-floor balcony of the room in which he and his friends were staying.
One bystander said the men had placed Harrold on the balcony to sleep because of his heavy snoring. Kelly Underwood, of Woodstock, Kansas, said his friends and he could hear the snoring from their ground-level room until it stopped and Harrold began moving around.
“We hear him stand up, and he starts taking a leak off the balcony,” Underwood said. “He goes on for about 5 minutes, so we go back to our business. Then, all of the sudden, we hear this smack … like a meat pack hit the ground.”
Harrold was face down on the concrete patio next door and blood began to pool around his head as Underwood ran for assistance.
Officers found Harrold still unconscious and face down. While the officer assessed his injuries, Harrold partially regained consciousness and began trying to reposition himself.
“I instructed him several times to remain still given likely head, neck and spinal injuries,” the officer reported. “It was apparent that Justin had consumed a significant amount of alcohol given his extreme level of inebriation. He was not responsive to my instructions to remain still as he attempted several times to unsuccessfully lift himself off the ground.”
EMS crews arrived shortly thereafter and rushed Harrold to a local hospital with serious injuries. Officers reported he possibly suffered broken bones and internal injuries.
APALACHICOLA — A former Franklin County probation officer has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison.
Jennifer Martina Brown, 33, was sentenced Wednesday to just over 23 months in prison and must repay $218,736 in restitution for one first-degree felony count of grand theft of over $100,000, and for two third-degree felonies, for official misconduct and tampering with physical evidence, with the three sentences to run concurrently. Upon her release, she’ll face 20 years probation.
Defense attorney Gordon Shuler had pleaded for her release to allow Brown to work and pay restitution for the theft, as well as care for her two young children. State Attorney Willie Meggs asked for a five-year-sentence, followed by 10 years of probation, as well as restitution.
“Jennifer Brown has demonstrated, for lack of a better word, pure evil,” Meggs said. “She took money from people who were struggling for an extravagant lifestyle and misled the court. It is evil incarnate.”
Family members, who included Brown’s mother, Glenda Martina, who oversees the felony division at the courthouse, testified they would provide funds for an initial restitution payment, but Senior Circuit Judge William L. Gary said he could find no reason to reduce the sentence.
Brown’s aunt, Marcia Johnson, now in her third term as clerk of courts, uncovered the theft in August 2013, while preparing a legislative report on the assessment and collection of court fines and costs. It became clear to her Brown had pocketed fines and fees, and then masked her crime to both the courts and her employer by reporting probationers had performed community service hours, which can be credited against an account at $10 per hour.
Johnson notified Richard Stewart, owner of Florida Probation Services LLC, the private firm under contract with the county to administer county probation services. Stewart fired Brown in August 2013.
Forensic accountant Mary Hall, a financial investigator with the state’s Office of Fiscal Integrity, testified she documented misconduct in 398 of the about 1,800 case files relating to Brown. Hall said based on her review of deposits to checking accounts to which Brown had access, she stole on average $6,000 to $8,000 monthly during her employment as probation officer. Hall testified Brown used her own system of handwritten receipts as an alternative to the probation company’s computer-generated ones.
After payment was made, Brown noted the date of the probationer’s next appointment on the yellow copy and, in the upper right-hand corner, noted the amount of money received and the amount credited. Then she subtracted money credited from money received and noted the difference, which was the amount stolen from that probationer’s fees on that day.
Hall said Brown recorded thefts as small as $4, and signed each of the receipts, which had to be painstakingly reconstructed after Brown shredded the receipt book upon her firing. Hall said an investigation into Brown’s finances showed she “did a lot of shopping and took cruises, but she was also deeply in debt.”
The accountant said she estimated the minimum restitution for documented theft at $218,736.91.
“There is obviously and clearly more based on her spending habits,” Hall said.
Hall said she found instances where Brown pressured probationers, citing the case of Joey Barnell, a non-Florida resident who received a DUI in Franklin County in 2013. Brown faxed him and told him he would be jailed in Florida if he did not pay her $2,000. Hall said there was no such stipulation in Barnell’s court notes.
Hall said she questioned 150 probationers who Brown said performed community service to pay for part of their fine or court fees. Shuler asked how many had denied performing community service. “All of them,” Hall replied.
Testifying under a subpoena, County Judge Van Russell told the court he tries to keep fines consistent for similar offenses, because in a small community, people talk to each other and compare.
“If somebody’s struggling financially, I’ll stretch like a rubber band for the time,” he said.
Meggs’ final witness, Billy Jim Rogers, field operations manager for Florida Probation Services, testified Brown turned over $93,000 to the clerk’s office during the 18 months she worked for his firm. He said that over the 18 months since he replaced Brown, he has provided the clerk with checks totaling $258,000.
He said a probation officer cannot violate a probationer for non-payment of funds.
“Basically, if they can’t pay, the probation time burns up,” Rogers said. “Then they go before the judge and he puts them on a new probation.”
Among the four probationers who testified they never performed community service hours was Jessica Lynn Chandler, who said she was twice charged with driving with a suspended license. Meggs said her record reflected she had performed 77 hours of community service, which Chandler denied.
“I told Miss Brown I was waiting on child support,” she said. “I was always threatened if I wasn’t there by a certain time [to pay my fees] I would be violated.
“I have two kids. I can’t be in the county jail,” Chandler said.
Edward Prince, who was on probation under Brown’s supervision in 2009 and 2011, said he receives $750 in disability monthly because he is blind in one eye. Meggs told him records reflected he performed 35 hours of community service in 2011, and 15 hours in 2009, but Prince denied performing community service.
Prince said that at the beginning of his 2011 probation, he was not yet receiving disability, and he and his partner were living on a $400 monthly child support payment.
“I got laid off around 2011. I told (Brown) I lost my job because of my eye, but that didn’t seem to bother Miss Brown,” he said. “She said she would have a warrant cut if I didn’t pay my fees. My lights got cut off several times because I couldn’t” pay both court fees and the electric bill.
Several witnesses urged leniency for Brown.
“When I heard I was in utter disbelief,” said Monica Lemieux, Brown’s aunt. “My own sister (Johnson) turned in her niece, which speaks volumes about (Johnson’s) integrity and honesty. I’ve said and done things I wish I could take back. I am a firm believer in second chances.
“My family has offered to take substantial amounts from their savings,” Lemieux said. “Incarceration is only a moral victory. There are two little boys who are ultimately innocent who will be deprived of having a mother’s love and nurturing that all children deserve.
“She has acknowledged the deeds and wants to repay the money,” she said.
“Are you aware that, in February, she took a cruise to Mexico or somewhere?” the prosecutor asked.
Lemieux hesitated and responded that she had not been in close contact with Brown recently.
When Shuler called Brown to the stand, she spoke rapidly in a low voice, punctuated by sobs.
“I know an apology will never be enough to make this better. My actions have had a profound effect on my family that I could never have imagined,” she said.
“I worked on a daily basis [with probationers] and treated them according to policy. I never had a complaint that I was evil. Nobody was ever violated unless their probation was over. I have helped probationers with numerous problems,” Brown said.
“I was blinded and trying to save a failing marriage. I would take it back if I could,” she continued. “Let me work hard at a job I am good at. Don’t take away the good things I have done. I have worked countless hours as a community volunteer.”
Information is provided by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office on people arrested on charges March 10-17. Those arrested can contact The News Herald if charges are dropped or if they are acquitted. Addresses are those given by the defendant during arrest.
Eric Javier Santa, 21, West Palm Beach, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Javis Calvin Aultman, 21, Harvey, La., possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Robert Michael Ziegenfuss, 39, 746 Cindy Lee Lane, Springfield, aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability
Logan Drake Franks, 20, 9331 Resota Beach Road, Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Mathew Paul Beecher, 27, 742 Brandies Ave., Panama City, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Jeffrey Morgan Cook, 30, 9201 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Gaylord Crockett, 18, Clarksville, Tenn., possession of cocaine, possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Jonathan Corey Stiles, 36, 2558 Chaucer Circle, Panama City, possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Tammy Maria Davis, 52, 234 N. James Ave., Panama City, burglary
Nathan Eddie Freeman, 18, Murphy, N.C., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Matthew Dylan Curry, 22, Lake Worth, possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
David Paul Lenion, 51, 504 E. Sixth Court, Panama City, possession of cocaine
Annastazia Ramona Camarena, 22, Chicago, Ill., possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Sheldon Edwin Reynolds, 67, 2614 Laurie Ave. C-3, Panama City Beach, possession of controlled substance without prescription
William Henery Hardin III, 21, Lexington, Ky., possession of cocaine, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Brandon Ray Batson, 30, 419 Harlem Ave., Panama City, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Matthew Louis Deraffenreid, 21, Orlando, possession of cocaine
Mohamad Said Harb, 19, Charlotte, N.C., possession of cocaine
Michael Shane Robbins, 39, Crestview, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill
Reginald Eric Chambers, 21, Washington, D.C., burglary
Joshua Raquan Burke, 19, District Heights, Md., burglary
Amanda Michelle Gladin, 29, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Brian Gentelle Myrick, 31, 2934 Harley Drive, Marianna, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Russell Tant, 42, 401 Hidden Island, Panama City Beach, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Keith Leon Rakenstraw, 23, Chetopa, Kan., burglary
Senyatta Lumumba Brown, 38, Nashville, Tenn., possession of drugs with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Tommy James Woodward, 28, 4200 W. 19th St., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Kenneth Morgan Joslyn, 20, Ponte Vedra, possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Cesar Arturo Rios Suarez, 18, Gulf Breeze, possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Becky Renae Dennis, 28, Prattville, Ala., possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Jordan Thomas Williams, 19, Old Hickory, Tenn., possession of controlled substance without prescription
Cylar Bernard Weston, 20, Gadsden, Ala., possession or use of narcotic equipment
William Curtis Craig, 22, 501 S. 10th St., Gadsden, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Samantha Nicole Prysock, 23, Nashville, Tenn., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Devlin Dale Clendennin, 27, 407 Deep Forest Lane, Panama City Beach, possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Bernard Kennedy, 30, Gulfport, Miss., possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Christopher Robert Mcginnis, 27, Pell, Ala., aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability
Jaclyn Lee Faircloth, 26, Leeds, Ala., aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon
Deymeion Laroen Lewis, 18, Raymond, Miss., possession or use of narcotic equipment
David James Stevens, 18, Scottsboro, Ala., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Brian Keshawn Edmonds, 18, Hopkinsville, Ky., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Samuel Riley Soliday, 19, Annville, Pa., possession or use of narcotic equipment
David Bryan Spikes, 25, 2912 Syracuse Ave., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Terence Lee Hankins, 25, Jasper, Ala., possession of controlled substance without prescription
Bobby Ray Upchurch, 43, 9851 S. Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, burglary
Tyler Jorday Kenton, 21, Buford, Ga., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Robert Brandon Gilmore, 22, 9851 S. Thomas Drive Panama City Beach, burglary
Mikayla Tinch, 20, 2136 Sterling Cove Blvd., Panama City Beach, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Kaitlyn Ann Smith, 18, 2717 Cocoa Ave., Panama City, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Sean Francis Damian Peters, 24, 132 Lakeview Drive, Panama City, possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Jordan Christopher Johnson, 22, Tallahassee, possession of marijuana
Lisa Marie Crumes, 37, 2614 Laurie Ave., Panama City Beach, felony or domestic battery by strangulation
Trent Javan Williams, 22, Orangeburg, S.C., aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon
Frank Lipsey, 22, 3600 Courtney Road, Panama City, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Benjamin Anthony Hill, 21, St. Charles, Mo., possession of cocaine, possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Christopher Ryan Murdock, 20, St. Charles, Mo., possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Chace Rajan Hailstock, 23, Cordova, Tenn., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Taurus Bucy Currie, 18, Memphis, Tenn., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Shawn Mitchell Galloway, 23, Alex City, Ala., possession or use of narcotic equipment
Brandon Lawrence Fifer, 22, Memphis, Tenn., possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Braylin Demond Buncum, 19, Tallahassee, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Victor Donte Hemphill, 26, Leesburg, grand theft
Brian Jarod Brown, 28, 5112 E. 14th St., Springfield, possession of cocaine, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Christopher Desean Sessions, 30, Jacksonville, possession of marijuana, trafficking in controlled substance, possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession of weapon or ammunition by felon
Phillip Tyrone Farmer, 28, Hattiesburg, Miss., possession of controlled substance without prescription
Emanuel Jabriel Douglas, 21, Tallahassee, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill
Trevor Blake Curtis, 18, Iron City, Tenn., possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession or use of narcotic equipment, burglary
Raheem Murray, 20, Jacksonville, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Terrance Dewane Irby, 38, Hattiesburg, Miss., possession of controlled substance without prescription
Roger Gabriel Williams, 27, 143 14th St., Appalachicola, possession of cocaine, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Ray Primes Vickers, 38, 261 N. Everitt Ave., Panama City, felony battery or domestic battery by strangulation
Justin Bradley Stinson, 30, 3128 G St., Panama City, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession of weapon or ammunition by felon
Andrea Jean Devine, 31, 1928 Ann Lauren Drive, Southport, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Aaron Henry Sarver, 19, Statesborough, S.C., possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Armard Rashad Alexander, 31, 4213 Cunningham Circle, Panama City, burglary
Michael Joseph Migliore, 25, Williamsville, N.Y., burglary
Rollins Geoffrey James Atkinson, 19, 1604 Linderwood Drive, Panama City, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Christopher James Lowery, 21, 316 Malage Place, Panama City Beach, kidnapping/false imprisonment
Cory Michael Rogers, 21, 186 Earl Godwin Road, Freeport, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Trance Elvis Davis, 31, 5000 W. 18th St., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Derek Zachary King, 33, 1416 New York Ave., Lynn Haven, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Dandre Lamont Collier, 24, Clarksville, Tenn., possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Jalen Deangelo Odom, 19, Murfreesboro, Tenn., burglary
Harry Claude Wills, 41, 607 E. 11 St., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Michael Alan Michaud, 45, 1904 Clay Ave., Panama City, possession of controlled substance without prescription
Brian Scott Rinehardt, 40, 1904 Clay Ave., Panama City, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Bobby Doyle White, 42, 8813 Silver Leaf Road, Southport, sexual assault
David Anthony Faulk, 46, 1908 Hedland Ave., Panama City, possession of opium or derivative with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Macjeffrey Jackson, 21, Stillwater, Okla., possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Dwayne Jamaine Saunders, 24, Stillwater, Okla., possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Breyon Latrez Deberry, 20, Charleston, S.C., possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Charles Allen Drummond, 20, 122 N. Gay Ave., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Terence Tricdan Hamilton, 20, Conyers, Ga., possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Dalimaris Colon-Santiago, 22, 5000 E. Fourth St., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Alexis Daniel Villaruevia, 19, 112 Crystal Lane, Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Joseph Crammore, 22, 5830 Joseph Road, Panama City, aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability
Alaa Khalid Kader, 19, Nashville, Tenn., possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Tyler Skye Kesselring, 19, Buford, Ga., possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Logan James Jones, 20, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, possession of controlled substance without prescription
MARIANNA — Authorities in Jackson County have charged two men in unrelated domestic violence incidents.
Jackson Perry, 27, was arrested after the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office received a call Friday just after noon at. Authorities reported Perry dragged his wife out his house on Kirkland Road and across the street. He allegedly had held his wife against her will for eight days, beating her daily.
Jackson County authorities said he would punch, kick and slap her, and on three different occasions he choked her.
Perry was taken to the Jackson County Correctional Facility, awaiting a first appearance in court on charges of false imprisonment, aggravated domestic battery and felony domestic battery by strangulation.
In a separate domestic case, Michael Pittman, 55, was arrested and charged after Jackson County Sheriff’s officials responded to a Friday morning call. Pittman, who lives on Magnolia Drive in Jacob City, allegedly broke a broom handle over his wife’s head, according to a police statement from the wife.
Pittman also used his fist, choked the victim, told her he was going to kill her, and caused her nose to bleed after kicking her in the face, deputies said. Pittman’s wife called police after he fell asleep. She was transported to Campbellton-Graceville Hospital to be treated for injuries and was later released, according to a news release.
Pittman was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and felony domestic battery by strangulation. He was taken into custody at the Jackson County Correctional Facility to await a first court appearance, police said.
WEST BAY — A Panama City Beach man was injured in a Sunday afternoon crash on State 79.
Michael Elton Barrow was traveling south on State 79 north of State 388 at about 1:20 p.m. when his 2012 Honda Accord went onto the road’s center median and traveled about 1,100 feet before crossing into the northbound lanes and onto the east shoulder of the road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. His car then hit a culvert and a guy-wire and continued traveling into the woodline, where the front of the vehicle hit a tree. The vehicle then overturned and came to rest facing south on the east shoulder of State 79, officials said.
Barrow was taken to Bay Medical Center in critical condition, officials said.
PANAMA CITY — Police have arrested a man they believe committed a string of robberies in Panama City and Lynn Haven.
Panama City Police were tipped off that Rey Xavier Augosto-Zeno, who had been on the run since Friday, was hiding in a wooded area in the 3300 block of Frankford Avenue, officials reported in a Sunday morning news release. U.S. Marshals and PCPD officers assigned to the U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force entered the area and located Augosto-Zeno, who fled, according to the release.
Officers apprehended Augosto-Zeno after a foot chase through the wooded area, and he was taken to the Panama City Police Department for questioning, police reported. The news release did not say when they apprehended him.
Police said they believe Augosto-Zeno attempted to rob the VJ Mart, 2112 Frankford Ave., Thursday at about 7:15 p.m. The suspect had just attempted to snatch money from a register once it was opened and then fled when the attempt was thwarted.
Hours later, a man fiiting the description of the other crimes walked into the Express Lane, 123 W. 23rd St., at about 12:50 a.m. Friday and asked the clerk to make change. When she opened the cash register, the man lunged forward and snatched an undisclosed amount of cash. He then fled on foot toward a bank parking lot next door.
At about 3 a.m., the man again appeared in Lynn Haven at the Tom Thumb, 2301 State 390, where again he reached into the clerk’s register after asking for change, according to Lynn Have Police Chief David Messer. Thirty minutes later, a customer in line at the Redline, 3000 U.S. 98, reached over the counter and snatched an undisclosed amount of cash from the register. A witness told police the man fled the store and hopped in a black, two-door Nissan.
After he was questioned, officials transported Augosto-Zeno to the Bay County Jail and turned him over to deputies on warrants for robbery.
PANAMA CITY — Police have arrested a local man wanted for violating his release for drug sales, on even more drug-related charges, according to a Panama City Police Department press release.
Officers stopped Jerry Allen Mills Jr., 24, Friday and found he was wanted for violation of probation on previous drug sale charges. Mills was searched after arrest and found in possession of methamphetamine, Xanax, phenobarbital, zolpidem and marijuana along with fake controlled substances packaged for sale. He also possessed a digital scale, an electric stun gun and a pair of brass knuckles, police reported.
Mills was taken to the Bay County Jail where he was served with the arrest warrant and charged with nine counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of counterfeit controlled substance, one count possession of drug paraphernalia, one count possession of drug paraphernalia and one count carrying a concealed weapon.