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RSS Full Text Feed of Crime-public_Safety for Mobile.

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    PANAMA CITY BEACH — Officials are asking for help identifying a suspect who stole a golf cart valued at about $20,000, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.

    BCSO released a video Thursday of the suspect believed responsible for stealing a white Hummer H3 style, four-seater golf cart. The vehicle, valued at about $20,000, was taken from a business where it was being serviced at

    12401 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City


    As deputies responded to take a report on the stolen vehicle, a golf cart was reported abandoned near Hills Road. It proved to be the stolen golf cart, BCSO said.

    Security video cameras captured the suspect stealing the golf cart. The suspect also is believed to have stolen various items from RVs kept at the same location. Time stamp on the video indicated the theft occurred at 4 a.m. on Aug. 10.

    The suspect appears to be a young white male, medium length brown hair, with a thin build.

    Anyone with information on this suspect is asked to contact the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 747-4700 or Crime Stoppers at 785-TIPS. 

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    PANAMA CITY — Authorities have arrested a Panama City woman accused of threatening her husband with a knife after he tried to loan a family car to a friend without her approval, according to court records.

    Joanna Inez Cherry, 27, and Micah Neal Cherry, 26, simultaneously arrived in separate cars Wednesday at their home in Tyndall Lake Apartments, 5664 Lake Drive, at about 4:30 p.m. Joanna Cherry learned her husband was going to allow a friend to borrow the vehicle unbeknownst to her and approached both men with a small kitchen knife, threatening bodily harm if he let his friend use the car, according to Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrest reports.

    In fear, Micah Cherry fled to the safety of the apartment and called the authorities, he told BCSO. The friend got in the disputed vehicle and fled the parking lot, in fear of his safety as well.

    Joanna Cherry hurled the knife at the car as he drove off, BCSO said.

    When deputies arrived and attempted to calm her down, Joanna Cherry became violently agitated, according to BCSO. She also grabbed a deputy’s wrist as they tried to place handcuffs on her.

    Joanna Cherry was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and resisting an officer with violence. 

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    Two people were killed in fatal wrecks Thursday night, Florida Highway Patrol officials say.

    Scott Dewayne Glass, 35, of Panama City, was driving a 2009 Suzuki motorcycle Southbound on U.S. 231 behind a 2008 Eclipse being driven by 25-year-old Heather N. Ellsworth of Tampa at about 9:45 p.m. When Glass applied his brakes the bike slid into the Eclipse and overturned sending Glass onto the highway, troopers wrote in a news release.  

    Glass was then struck by a 2000 Buick Regal being driven by 36-year-old Steven L. Record of Panama City. Glass was killed in the incident. No charges are expected, troopers wrote.

    A second fatal accident happened in Jackson County at about 9 p.m., troopers wrote. Larry Allen Finch, 50, of Graceville, was traveling south in a pedacycle on Peanut Road when he was struck by a Chevrolet Silverado being driven by 47-year-old Rhondon Gray. Finch was ejected from the cycle and died from his injuries, officials wrote in a news release. Charges in the case are pending, troopers wrote.


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  • 08/15/14--15:40: Argument leads to arrest
  • PANAMA CITY — Police have arrested a man accused of striking a juvenile female in the back of the head after a domestic altercation, Panama City Police Department announced Friday.

    Leslie Cirilo-Cayetano informed officers, that she and Albertano Cirilo-Cayetano, 26, were having a verbal argument when they arrived to a residence in the 1800 block of Molitor Avenue, in reference to a disturbance. Albertano Cirilo-Cayetano allegedly then went outside and began striking the front tire of their vehicle with a hammer. Leslie Cirilo-Cayetano and her child went outside in an attempt to calm Albertano Cirilo-Cayetano down, but instead he threw the hammer on the ground and struck the juvenile in the back of the head, twice, knocking her to the ground, Leslie Cirilo-Cayetano told police

    Albertano Cirilo-Cayetano then left the residence on a bicycle. Officers were able to locate him in the area and arrested him. He is currently in the Bay County Jail, charged with one count of child abuse.

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  • 08/15/14--17:11: F-22 hacker indicted
  • LOS ANGELES -- A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has charged a Chinese businessman with a computer hacking scheme to steal data on military projects, including fighter jets.

    City News Service says Su Bin was indicted Thursday for conspiracy and unauthorized computer access. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

    The indictment replaces earlier federal charges against him.

    Prosecutors contend that Su — working with two other Chinese — hacked the computers of defense contractors, including Boeing, and stole trade secrets on projects including the C-17 military transport and the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets. They allegedly tried to sell the information to state-owned Chinese companies.

    Su is being held in Canada, where he was arrested in June. It's not clear whether he has an attorney.

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    PANAMA CITY — A Panama City man who avoided a possible murder charge when a finger deflected a bullet was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

    Jamichael Middleton, 22, initially was charged in November with attempted murder after police said he pointed a .380 caliber handgun and fired at Billy Ray Hunt’s head outside of 741 Sherman Ave., Hunt’s home. One of the bullets “grazed the victim’s left index finger” and was deflected — a chance occurrence that possibly saved both men’s lives. If the bullet had missed the finger and killed Hunt, Middleton could have faced murder charges and the possibility of the death penalty.

    Middleton pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and felon in possession of a firearm Friday for a five-year prison sentence.

    According to Middleton’s arrest records, he and Hunt were standing outside the victim’s Sherman Avenue home when Middleton leveled the .380 at Hunt’s head and began firing. One of the bullets grazed Hunt’s left finger when he raised his hand to protect his face. Hunt then retreated into his home, but Middleton kept firing, sending bullets into the home, according to court records.

    A warrant issued for Middleton’s arrest noted Hunt’s wife and children were inside the home and that one of the bullets lodged into a bed frame at the rear of the home. 

    Middleton was arrested days later at the Days Inn on Front Beach Road, according to his arrest affidavit.

    Authorities said during a search of Middleton’s room that Bay County Sheriff’s deputies found about 4 grams of cocaine in a safe in the room. Deputies also found 1 gram of marijuana during the search. 

    Initial reports stated the victim refused treatment for the injury to his left index finger. 

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    LAKE CITY -- A Lynn Haven man was killed Friday afternoon in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 in Suwannee County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

    Ian R. McKeever, 20, was traveling west at a “high rate of speed” and lost control of a 2006 Toyota Tundra while changing from the inside lane to the outside lane, the FHP reported. The truck left the pavement, traveled across the grass shoulder and struck a tree.  McKeever was taken to Lake City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

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    PANAMA CITY BEACH — A 2.5-mile stretch of Back Beach Road will permanently remain at a lower speed limit that was adopted as part of a recent construction project.

    The Florida Department of Transportation recently completed a traffic study along Back Beach Road from the Thomas Drive flyover to Hills Road, and determined that the stretch from Richard Jackson Boulevard to Hills Road warrants keeping the 45 mile per hour limit instead of going back to the 55 mile per hour limit that was in place before road work.

    The DOT determined the segment of the road east of Richard Jackson Boulevard warrants the 55 mile per hour speed limit.

    Panama City Beach City Community Redevelopment Area Manager John Alaghemand said city officials support the lower speed limit along the congested part of Back Beach Road for safety reasons.

    “Really, the way that improvements are happening along Back Beach Road, I don’t see any reason to increase the speed limit unless we go to a six-lane road,” he said. “That could warrant increasing it.”

    He said people often surpass speed limits.

    FDOT officials informed the city in an email of the change in the speed limit.

    “The speed study has been completed and signed and sealed by a professional engineer and the necessary regulatory documents have been processed,” the email states. “It is important to remember that as part of speed studies there are many different factors considered such as side street and driveway connection density, actual operating speeds, crash history, roadside offsets and clear zone hazards, as well as traffic signal system operation. Based on these factors it was determined that the above recommendations were most appropriate in promoting safety and efficiency of the overall corridor.”

    Tanya Sanders Branton, a public information specialist with the DOT, said the agency continues to monitor roadways throughout the district for safety, and this corridor was one that needed to be evaluated.

    She said the lower speed limit in the high-volume area of Back Beach Road is needed for safety reasons.

    “It will stay at 45 miles per hour in that area where Chick-fil-A and Publix are located,” she said. “It is due to high traffic volume due to the current development, as well as future development in that area.” 

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    MARIANNA  —  A man is dead and three people were behind bars Sunday after a drug deal turned into an ambush, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

    Patrick Register and Travis Marvin Locke, both of Sneads, were shot early Sunday morning on Dellwood Cypress Road, where they expected to purchase pseudoephedrine pills used to cook methamphetamine. The sheriff's office said Locke had arraigned the deal with Dayeisha Curry of Marianna, but Curry, Christopher Laster and Jordan Davis instead ambushed Locke and Register and attempted to rob them.

    After they were shot, Register and Locke went to Grand Ridge for help. Locke was treated and released from Jackson Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but Register was rushed by helicopter to Bay Medical Center, where he died.

    JCSO investigators identified Curry as a suspect and spotted her car driving through Marianna. Davis and Laster were passengers in her car when police stopped her.

    Evidence at the scene and statements from the three suspects implicated them in Register's slaying, and all three were arrested.

    Curry and Laster were charged with principle in the first degree to homicide and principle in the first degree to attempted homicide. Davis faces an open count of murder and a count of attempted murder.

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    PANAMA CITY — A Youngstown man in jail for allegedly having sex with a juvenile he’d given alcohol to has been scheduled for a jury trial, according to court records.

    James Timothy Cooper, 37, told deputies he was so intoxicated he couldn’t remember if he had sex with the victim, who told investigators Cooper twice had sex with her in 2013. Cooper was arrested in April at his Everly Street home in Youngstown and charged with two counts of sexual battery of a child under 18, a first-degree felony, until state prosecutors filed the charges as sexually battery on a helpless victim in May.

    His bond was set at $500,000. Cooper has been set for a jury trial in November.

    During a Child Advocacy Center’s investigation, the victim told authorities in late June she was drinking alcohol with Cooper when he told her, “Let’s put you to bed,” according to arrest records. Cooper told officers on one occasion he led her to the bedroom due to how intoxicated she was, but could not remember ever having sex with the juvenile because he was severely intoxicated.

    However, the minor said he removed her clothing and had sexual intercourse with her that time and another time in August 2013.

    A pretrial conference is scheduled for October. 

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    PANAMA CITY — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is searching for suspects responsible for slashing the tires on 13 vehicles in a Panama City suburb, BCSO reported Monday.

    A total of 13 cases of tires slashed on vehicles were reported from numerous residents Saturday morning in the Cherokee Heights area of Bay County. All incidents appear to have occurred sometime late Friday night and during the early morning hours of Saturday.

    In some cases there was destruction to other items in the front yard such as mailboxes.

    A video of suspects believed responsible for the crime spree was obtained from a home in the area. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Bay County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 785-TIPS. 


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    PANAMA CITY — A Panama City man who flooded the Bay Correctional Facility (CCA) with more than 3,000 gallons of water has been sentenced to an additional two years in prison.

    Thadd Hunter, 31, pleaded no contest Monday to charges of preventing or obstructing extinguishment of fire equipment while in confinement in CCA, 5400 Bayline Drive. Hunter was sentenced to an additional two years in prison and one year of probation from the February 2013 incident to a 15-year prison sentence he was serving for robbery charges, according to court documents.

    While in confinement, Hunter wrapped a blanket around a sprinkler head in the cell and broke it, releasing more than 3,000 gallons of water into the CCA’s dormitory. The damaged head and further damage was valued by the facility at about $2,000. Officials said Hunter maliciously and intentionally destroyed the sprinkler head.

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    PANAMA CITY — A Chipley woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend in an American Legion parking lot and deemed incompetent to stand trial will proceed toward a court date following a judge’s order Monday.

    Circuit Court Judge Elijah Smiley ruled 65-year-old Earnestine “Tina” Canuet, who has not yet pleaded to the manslaughter charges against her, was competent to continue court proceedings. The charges stem from an October 2013 stabbing incident at the Southport American Legion Post 375 at 6937 State 77, where Richard Lielasus, 68, suffered a 6-inch gash to the left side of his stomach.

    Lielasus died from his wounds about a month later, and the charges against Canuet were upgraded from aggravated battery with a deadly weapon to manslaughter before a doctor deemed her incompetent to proceed in February due to depression.

    One witness told investigators Canuet came into the Legion’s bar Oct. 21 waving the bloodied 12-inch blade in the air, stating, “I did it; I killed him,” according to arrest records. But Lielasus wasn’t dead at the time. When authorities arrived on the scene, Lielasus was on the ground in the parking lot and appeared to be going into shock as he was taken to a local hospital.

    Other bar patrons moved Canuet, whose shirt was stained with Lielasus’ blood, back outside and pinned her against a Ford pickup truck while they waited for Bay County Sheriff’s deputies to arrive. As she was being handcuffed, she wept and said, “I’m sorry” over and over, according to initial BCSO reports.

    Lielasus died in November, and prosecutors filed charges of manslaughter against Canuet in December. She was released Monday and her plea hearing was set for Aug. 28. 

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    FOUNTAIN — Deputies have arrested a Fountain man who allegedly told officers he planned to torture his girlfriend in front of a mirror so she would be forced to watch before killing her, Bay County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.

    Paul Thomas Carhart, 63, was attempting to leave a Greenbriar Drive home in his car when deputies arrived at 3:40 a.m. Saturday to a domestic battery call. A small group of people in the neighborhood were pointing frantically at the car and calling out for the officers to not let him get away, BCSO reported.

    BCSO deputies were able to stop Carhart and put him in a patrol car where he told them he had hurt his girlfriend, officials said.

    EMS arrived and began to administer aid to the girlfriend in a neighbor’s home. She appeared to be in severe pain and going in and out of consciousness from having been struck several times in the face. Officials said she also had tape on her left wrist.

    The victim was able to communicate to deputies that she and Carhart had been fighting for several hours, and he had restrained her by taping her hands. He then struck her an unknown number of times on her face with his fist, strangling her several times, and telling her he was going to kill her. She managed to get away and fled to the neighbor’s home.

    She was transported to a local hospital for additional medical treatment.

    When deputies spoke with Carhart he stated that he intended to kill his girlfriend and had fantasized about it for months. He planned first to mutilate and torture her using various tools in front of a mirror so she would be forced to watch, BCSO reported.

    Carhart also stated he had just taken 15 sleeping pills, so he was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Upon release, Carhart was charged with attempted murder and false imprisonment and taken to the Bay County Jail.

    Carhart had a previous misdemeanor charge of domestic battery from June that was dropped, according to Bay County courthouse documents. 

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    PANAMA CITY — The man authorities said admitted to killing a former Bay County Sheriff’s oficer has pleaded not guilty, according to court documents.

    Derrick Ray Thompson, 41, appeared in court for the first time Tuesday after being indicted on first-degree murder and armed robbery charges for the shooting death of former Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputy and local businessman 66-year-old Allen Johnson on July 21. Thompson pleaded not guilty to the charges, and defense attorney Kim Jewell filed a waiver of right to a speedy trial as prosecutors explore the death penalty.

    The first-degree murder indictment prosecutors filed last week could result in a maximum sentence of death if convicted as charged. A Death Review Committee, comprised of senior prosecuting attorneys, had not yet determined if sufficient legal factors exist to warrant seeking the death penalty at trial. That decision will be made in the next few weeks.

    Investigators found Johnson with a single gunshot wound to the back of the head and a spent .380 caliber casing beside his body at his Lynn Haven home. The indictment further claimed Thompson shot and killed Johnson during the commission of a felony robbery with a firearm.

    Authorities have released evidence that indicated Thompson was motivated by a quest for prescription narcotics. Before fleeing the state to hide out in a Troy, Ala., hunting lodge where he once had installed electrical fixtures, Thompson used money and a cellphone he allegedly stole from Johnson to buy numerous prescription narcotics from someone in Panama City, according to investigators.

    Thompson is being held without bond in Bay County Jail and is set for an October pretrial conference.

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    PANAMA CITY — Police have arrested and charged a man with killing his girlfriend.

    Authorities were called to 600 E. Eighth Court about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, where neighbors said police found the mother of 27-year-old Justin L. Davis weeping in the front yard of the home.

    When Panama City Police officers and EMS searched the home, they located a deceased, unidentified female in a bedroom. Police later arrested Davis on charges of murder after witness statements indicated a domestic violence incident led to the woman’s death, according to a PCPD news release.

    Police identified the victim early Thursday as 31-year-old Jessica Brandy Huey.

    Davis’ mother and grandmother and Davis had been living in the home until about a month ago, when the girlfriend moved in, according to neighbor accounts. Many had seen the couple walking together through the neighborhood the day before.

    Several people surrounded the residence, which is only about a block from Greater Bethel AME Church, when investigators arrived and began questioning witnesses. Davis was present at the residence and was taken to the police department for questioning. Police reported their investigation revealed Davis had become involved in a physical altercation with the victim, which resulted in her death.

    Police would not release the manner or cause of the woman’s death as of Wednesday afternoon. Neighbors did not report hearing gunfire come from the home.

    Davis was arrested, charged with an open count of murder and taken to the Bay County Jail.


    Below is an earlier version of this story:

    PANAMA CITY — The Panama City Police Department is investigating the circumstances of a death of an unidentified white female found unresponsive on Wednesday morning at 600 E. Eighth Court.

    Responding officers and EMS personnel discovered the female already deceased when they arrived, accoriding to a PCPD release. Law enforcement and investigators took over in questioning others at the residence.

    Police are handling the death as a "suspicious death" until more facts are learned and a cause of death is determined by the medical examiner, PCPD reported.

    The identity of the deceased will not be released until the next of kin are notified.

    Police are asking anyone with information regarding the case to contact Detective Schubert at 850-872-3100 or report tips anonymously to CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS (8477).

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    CHIPLEY -- The defense for a man accused of the violent kidnapping and beating of a Chipley woman last February will have more time to prepare for his case.

    Christopher Cruz Walley, 26, of Corbin Road, Chipley, is charged with aggravated battery, kidnapping/false imprisonment and grand theft in a series of events that left a woman unconscious in the trunk of an Oldsmobile, which he drove throughout the night of the crime and into the next day.

    Walley told the court he was worried he hadn’t had sufficient communication with his attorney for the upcoming trial.

    “I haven’t seen my attorney not one time,” Walley told Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson. “We haven’t even went over the facts, and we’re getting ready to go to trial.”

    Judge Patterson advised Walley communication with his defense would be facilitated, and he will appear in court again on the Sept. 18 pre-trial calendar. 

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    CHIPLEY — A change of venue is expected for the trials of two men indicted in the April 19 slaying of retired game warden James William Shores.

    Zachary Taylor Wood, 23, and Dillon Scott Rafsky, 22, both of Geneva, Ala., will be tried separately on charges of premeditated murder, burglary while armed and robbery with a firearm.

    Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson stated Washington County simply doesn’t have the facilities to hold a capital murder trial. The courthouse has been closed for months due to a mold problem.

    “We don’t have the infrastructure,” said Judge Patterson when the suspects appeared in pre-trial Wednesday. “Washington County doesn’t have the courthouse to accommodate this kind of trial. The defendants have the right to be tried in the county in which the offense occurred, but I’ve done the research and could find no such instance of these serious charges where this has come up and there wasn’t a courthouse. We’re on new ground.”

    Both Bay and Holmes counties were discussed as possible venues for the trials, with Holmes said to be the most likely candidate.

    “Logistically, we need a case of this magnitude to be tried in (Holmes County),” said Judge Patterson.

    Woods will face trial in January, and Rafsky’s trial is set for February.

    A panel of senior prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office will meet within the next few weeks to review the case and determine whether it meets the statutory requirements to pursue the death penalty.

    Shores, 66, who is retired from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, was found at his family’s 2842 Johnson Road homestead after the Alabama Bureau of Investigation notified the Washington County Sheriff’s Office that a vehicle connected to the April 19 shooting of an Alabama state trooper was registered to Shores. The trooper in that case, Marcel Phillips, was treated and released from a Dothan, Ala., hospital for injuries obtained during a gunfight that took place when he stopped the suspects for speeding.

    Officers discovered Shores’ body while performing a welfare check of his property.

    Investigators said Wood and Rafsky were “out mudding” in a Jeep stolen from Woods’ girlfriend when they bogged down near Shores’ home. The suspects allegedly ransacked the house in what Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock referred to as a “crime of opportunity” and were trying to free the Jeep when Shores arrived and told them to get off the property.

    The two men then followed Shores to the back of the house, where they beat him with a garden hoe, bound his hands and feet, and left him face down in the grass, authorities report. After attempting and failing to light the still-living Shores on fire, the men allegedly killed him with a shotgun blast to the back of the head before stealing his 2011 Toyota Camry.

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    LYNN HAVEN — State Attorney’s Offices in two judicial circuits continue to review evidence gathered against triple-homicide suspect Derrick Thompson.

    Neither has ruled out seeking the death penalty against him.

    A decision in Bay County’s 14th Judicial Circuit, where Thompson is accused of the July 21 killing of 66-year-old businessman Allen Johnson, is expected “very soon,” spokesman David Angier said.

    In the 1st Judicial Circuit, where Thompson faces charges of fatally shooting Milton residents Steven and Debra Zackowski — 60 and 59, respectively — on July 19, the decision won’t come until after State Attorney Bill Eddins secures first-degree murder indictments.

    Eddins said a grand jury will be convened to consider the indictments in about two weeks.

    “Several weeks after that we will have a committee sit down to determine whether we’ll seek the death penalty,” Eddins said.

    Thompson, 41, was considered a person of interest in the Zackowski slayings when Johnson’s body was found July 21 inside his home in Lynn Haven. The truck Thompson was believed to be driving following the first killings was found at the scene.

    The suspect, a successful salesman with an apparently serious drug problem, was caught July 22 at a hunting camp near Troy, Ala.

    Eddins said Thompson told him shortly after the arrest that he had killed the Zackowskis and Johnson.

    Even as decisions are made concerning the death penalty, the two judicial circuits with jurisdiction in Thompson’s case are working out the best strategy for prosecution, Eddins said, including deciding where Thompson will face trial first.

    In any scenario, Eddins said, “the evidence in this case is intertwined in such a way that significant issues will have to be litigated before the court over which evidence is admissible in each case.”

    Thompson is being held without bond in the Bay County Jail. 

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    PANAMA CITY -- Police arrested a 20-year-old on suspicion of armed robbery Thursday, and they’re looking for two other people that helped him rob man at gunpoint early Thursday, according to the Panama City Police Department.

    Jaterrance Goodman is charged with armed robbery and burglary of a conveyance for allegedly leading a man who was trying to help him into an ambush.

    According to police, Goodman called the victim around 1 a.m. and asked for a ride from the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. The victim borrowed a car and went to get Goodman, but when he arrived Goodman pointed a gun at him, removed him from the car and forced him to the ground. Then two other people wearing face masks approached the victim and took his stuff.

    Police found Goodman at a home on the 1600 block of East Ninth Court. He and three other men who were at the home were taken to the police station for questioning while police got a warrant to search the home. The search turned up some of the victim’s property and a gun.

    Police continue to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Panama City Police Department at 850-872-3100, or CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS (8477).

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