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    PANAMA CITY — The International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists (IADRS) will hold its annual conference from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 20-23 at Florida State University Panama City’s Holley Academic Center Lecture Hall.

    The four-day conference will feature presenters and exhibitors from dive rescue teams across the United States, Canada and abroad who specialize in water rescue and recovery.

    This technical rescue conference is designed to educate public safety agencies and volunteer departments in their response to water-related incidents and/or emergencies. Current methods, procedures and equipment that will ensure safe and successful operations will be presented.

    Registration is required. For more information, go to or contact Tom Kelley at or 770-2202; or Mike Zinzser at or 770-2203.

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account using photographs and other personal information it took from the cellphone of a New York woman arrested in a cocaine case in hopes of tricking her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets.

    The Justice Department initially defended the practice in court filings but now says it is reviewing whether the Facebook guise went too far.

    Sondra Arquiett's Facebook account looked as real as any other. It included photos of her posing on the hood of a sleek BMW and a close-up with her young son and niece. She even appeared to write that she missed her boyfriend, who was identified by his nickname.

    But it wasn't her. The account was the work of DEA Agent Timothy Sinnigen, Arquiett said in a federal court lawsuit. The case is scheduled for trial next week in Albany, New York, court records show.

    Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement Tuesday that officials were reviewing both the incident and the practice, although in court papers filed earlier in the case the government defended it. Fallon declined to comment further because the case was pending.

    Details of the case were first reported by the online news site BuzzFeed News.

    The case illustrates how legal standards of privacy are struggling to keep pace with constantly evolving technologies. And it shows how the same social media platforms that can serve as valuable resources in criminal investigations also can raise sensitive privacy implications that are at times difficult for law enforcement and the courts to navigate.

    “How do you fit a new technology under your old rules? How do we think about a phone? How do we think about a Facebook account?” said Neil Richards, a privacy expert at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

    Arquiett, who is now asking for $250,000, was arrested in July 2010 on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. She was accused of being part of a drug distribution ring run by her boyfriend, who had been previously indicted. She could have faced up to life in prison.

    Court records show that in February 2011, Arquiett pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine base. She was sentenced in January 2012 to time served and given a period of home confinement.

    In the plea agreement Arquiett, who also was identified by the last names Prince and Arquiette, acknowledged that from 2008 to 2010 she was part of a drug conspiracy in Watertown, New York. The records also show she participated in jailhouse telephone calls with co-conspirators and at times made three-way telephone calls connecting jailed co-conspirators with others.

    The court records do not show whether Arquiett agreed to testify against any other members of the conspiracy.

    In a court filing in August, the Justice Department contended that while Arquiett didn't directly authorize Sinnigen to create the fake account, she “implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in ... ongoing criminal investigations.”

    The government also argued that the Facebook account was not public. A reporter was able to access it early Tuesday, though it was later disabled.

    A spokesman for Facebook declined Tuesday to comment on the dispute. Facebook's own policies appear to prohibit the practice, telling users that “You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.”

    Donald Kinsella, one of Arquiett's lawyers, declined to comment. Arquiett did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

    Arquiett said in her filing that she suffered “fear and great emotional distress” and was endangered because the fake page gave the impression that she was cooperating with Sinnigen's investigation as he interacted online with “dangerous individuals he was investigating.”

    The fate of Arquiett's fight against the government's use of her identity online is unclear. Law enforcement agencies routinely use fictitious online profiles in their investigations, including in cases of child pornography. But it's unclear how many other times a real person's identity has been used in this way.

    A staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation — a civil liberties organization — Nate Cardozo, said the government's rationale was “laughable.”

    “If I'm cooperating with law enforcement, and law enforcement says, ‘Can I search your phone?’ and I hand it over to them, my expectation is that they will search the phone for evidence of a crime,” Cardozo said, “not that they will take things that are not evidence off my phone and use it in another context.”

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    EBRO — Two suspects still are at large after a weekend robbery at Ebro Greyhound Park.

    The Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirms the robbery took place in the facility’s parking lot between 5:30 a.m. and 5:40 a.m. Saturday.

    The victim reports two men approached him as he was leaving after a night of playing poker. The suspects robbed the victim at gunpoint and escaped on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

    There are no surveillance cameras in the greyhound park’s parking lot, but WCSO reports at least one suspect was spotted on surveillance from inside the facility, taken before the crime took place. The suspects are believed to have been surveying the game room for winners they could target later.

    This isn’t the first time a robbery has taken place at the popular gaming spot.

    Another early morning armed robbery resulted in one security guard being injured and an undetermined amount of cash stolen in October 2012.

    That investigation revealed the suspect had entered the facility and overpowered the guard before entering a room in which cash was housed. 

    Although some patrons say they are worried about the greyhound park’s facility, one patron states the incident won’t keep him from returning.

    “When you take part in gaming of any kind, whether it’s betting on the dogs or playing poker, you have to use common sense and take precautions when coming and going,” said greyhound enthusiast Michael Conway, of Panama City. “That’s true of any gaming place, not just Ebro.”

    Representatives for Ebro Greyhound Park could not be reached for comment.

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    PANAMA CITY — Police arrested a man for prowling Monday after three theft victims declined to press more serious charges.

    Dillon James Sullivan, 21, was arrested Monday at about 10 p.m. after officers arrived in the 100 block of South Palo Alto Avenue to investigate a burglary. The victim told officers he heard someone on his porch, and when he went out to investigate, he saw two males riding away on bicycles, one of which was his. He gave the officers a description of the suspects and one of them was located leaving from behind a business in the 400 block of South Palo Alto Avenue.

    The second suspect got away, police said, but Sullivan was allegedly spotted carrying two toolboxes and began fleeing the area on foot at the sight of officers. Sullivan was arrested and taken into custody. In the toolboxes Sullivan dropped during the foot chase, officers reported they found four cellphones, a wallet, a Bible, a house key, a phone charger and two power tools. The victim’s bicycle was located in the 100 block of North Palo Alto Avenue. The bicycle was returned to the victim, who declined to pursue charges in the matter.

    Officers were able to contact the owner of the wallet and power tools, but that victim, too, declined to press charges.

    Then the owner of one of the cellphones was contacted and, again, the victim declined to pursue charges in the matter.

    The occurrence isn’t an uncommon one, said PCPD spokesman Officer Richard Thore. Though police take a considerable amount of grief for not finding some people’s stolen property, oftentimes when police catch a suspect with the property and want to pursue charges on the part of the owner, the owner declines.

    “I assume they’re just happy to have their stuff back,” Thore said.

    The owners of the remaining property have not been identified. Sullivan was transported to the Bay County Jail and charged with loitering and prowling, resisting an officer without violence and violation of probation.

    Police urge anyone who may have information regarding this case, or who thinks any of the property recovered may be theirs, to call the Panama City Police Department at 850-872-3100, or to report their tips anonymously to CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS (8477).

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    PANAMA CITY — Police have arrested a motorcycle driver accused of fleeing the scene of one crash in Panama City and then reporting to Lynn Haven police that someone had hit his motorcycle and fled the scene there, according to police reports.

    But other than the “hit and run” reported in Panama City, Thunder Beach weekend throughout Bay County was mostly quiet, law enforcement reported.

    Tracy Stansel, 41, called the Lynn Haven Police Department on Saturday to report his vehicle was struck by another vehicle while parked at the Winn-Dixie in Lynn Haven. But while conducting a crash investigation, LHPD noticed the motorcycle looked a lot like one PCPD issued a “be on the lookout” for after a hit and run on West 11th Street, police reported.

    Due to witness statements from the crash on 11th Street, police concluded Stansel was the driver that caused the crash and fled, investigators said. Stansel was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash in Panama City and also charged by Lynn Haven Police for filing a false report.

    Despite the incident, PCPD reported low criminal and traffic crash numbers indicating the fall Thunder Beach rally was relatively calm. At the conclusion of a busy Thunder Beach weekend, officers had conducted more than 100 traffic stops and investigated about 25 traffic crashes.

    “Even with the added vehicle and motorcycle traffic, due to the events on the beach, only a few of these crashes involved motorcycles and no serious injuries were reported,” said PCPD spokesman Officer Richard Thore.

    PCPD charged 14 drivers with criminal offenses after traffic stops over the weekend. Eight drivers were arrested for operating a motor vehicle while license suspended or revoked. Two drivers were arrested for driving under the influence. Three of the investigations resulted in two arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia and one arrest for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and felon in possession of a firearm.

    Police on Panama City Beach, the epicenter of Thunder Beach, reported even fewer incidents. According to PCBPD officials, police worked eight crashes, only three involved motorcycles, and two of those were single-vehicle wrecks. No criminal charges stemmed from those crashes, police reported.

    Of the 24 traffic citations issued by PCBPD, only one was a criminal citation. It was issued for driving while license was suspended or revoked.

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    The Parker Police Department is attempting to identify a female seen leaving a local department store after using a stolen credit card from a Parker resident.

    The white female was captured on video leaving Walmart while carrying one bag of merchandise. If anyone has information on her identity, they’re asked to call the Parker PD at (850) 871-4100 or (850) 871-3189.

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    ST. PETERSBURG (AP) — Anthropologists investigating the deaths of dozens of boys at a closed Florida reform school dug up a decades-old grave in Philadelphia looking for the body of one of the boys only to find a casket filled with wood.

    The Tampa Bay Times reported that University of South Florida forensic researchers, with permission from officials in Pennsylvania, exhumed the grave on Tuesday. They were expecting to find the body of Thomas Curry, who died in 1925 from what a coroner said was a crushed skull after running away from the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.

    They dug down 6 feet to Curry's casket and found a partially intact wooden box. They found thumbscrews used to clamp shut the casket that were identical to those found in burials on the Florida reform school campus. A small cross, like a rosary necklace, was atop the casket.

    But inside, there was no body, no human remains. Where the boy should've been, they found wood.

    The discovery shocked the researchers, Philadelphia archdiocese officials, the Pennsylvania state police troopers helping, and the local assistant district attorney, who expressed his exasperation with quiet expletives as he paced around the burial shaft, the newspaper reported.

    “Where is he?” asked Pennsylvania state police Cpl. Thomas McAndrew.

    “I just can't believe it,” said USF forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, who is leading the research. “It defies logic.”

    No one can say whether officials at the reform school shipped a box filled with wood to a grieving family in Philadelphia, or whether someone removed Curry's body when it arrived and held a funeral for a box with no body inside.

    Curry met his death by some railroad tracks near Chattahoochee in 1925, trying to run away after serving just 29 days for delinquency at the hellish reform school some 20 miles away. The coroner who examined his body couldn't tell what killed him. “(C)ame to his death from a wound to the forehead, skull crushed from unknown cause,” wrote Chattahoochee coroner L.H. Sanders on the boy's death certificate.

    His body was shipped by train to his grandmother in Philadelphia, where services were held at a Catholic church, and a box was buried at the Old Cathedral Cemetery in West Philadelphia, on top of a casket that held his great grandmother.

    Burial records at the archdiocese show the exact spot where Curry was buried and name the church that hosted the funeral. The records go even further, saying he was “killed by train,” which seems to contradict the coroner's verdict.

    It was common at the reform school, known most recently as the Dozier School for Boys until it closed in 2011, for armed guards to search for runaways. One long-time guard told the Times in 2009 that school officials referred to it as “boy hunting.” Sometimes trustees from a nearby prison, known as “dog boys,” were called in to help search. Former wards have told the Times that they were brutally beaten after being caught while trying to escape.

    Researchers hoped to perform a skeletal autopsy on Curry to determine how he was killed. Now, they say, they'll continue to search for his remains.

    So far, they've unearthed 55 burials from a cemetery on the Marianna school campus, far more than the state determined were buried there. Using DNA, they've identified three boys and handed over their remains to family members who long wondered where their loved ones were buried.

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  • 10/08/14--13:41: Bonfire leads to arrests
  • PANAMA CITY — Two Panama City men were taken to jail after a house fire call turned out to be a bonfire, the Panama City Police Department said Wednesday.

    Police were called to a residence in the 100 block of North James Avenue Wednesday at 1:30 a.m., in reference to a suspected structure fire. Once on scene, officers determined the structure was not on fire but that a bonfire was ablaze in the backyard of the residence.

    Officers approached the fire and observed two males standing near the blaze. One of the suspects then threw something into the fire and the two fled into a wooded area behind the residence. Police pursued the two but lost sight of them due to the fire and smoke.

    The Panama City Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. Officers then searched a wooded area at the location where they suspected the two men fled and found Leslie Harold Anderson, 46, and Jerald Eugene Overturf, 55, lying in the brush.

    The two men were taken into custody.

    When searched, police found methamphetamine and misdemeanor amounts of marijuana on Anderson, police reported.

    The two were transported to the Bay County Jail. Anderson was charged with possession of marijuana and methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of open burning.

    Overturf was charged with the open burning violation.

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    SALISBURY, N.C. — A Panama City man was identified Wednesday as the victim of a crash in North Carolina involving a parked tractor trailer and a pickup.

    According to reports from the N.C. Highway Patrol, 53-year-old Wade Mitchell Oliver Jr. was killed instantly the night of Sept. 29 when his truck crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer at about 11:30 p.m. on I-85 near Salisbury, N.C.

    The cause of the collision has not been determined. Troopers told local media there were no skid marks in the roadway and the pickup’s estimated speed at impact was 65 mph.

    Highway Patrol officials were unable to immediately identify Oliver soon after the crash because he did not have a driver’s license with him, but the vehicle registration did lead officials to a Panama City address.

    Oliver suffered massive head and chest trauma in the wreck.

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    PANAMA CITY — A Panama City police officer was hospitalized after a rear-end collision Wednesday afternoon.

    Panama City Police Department Sgt. Chris Edmundson was taken by EMS to a local hospital after a wreck at about 12:30 p.m. east of Frankford Avenue and 15th Street. No criminal charges have been filed, according to PCPD.

    Edmundson was stopped at the intersection when one vehicle collided with the rear of his police cruiser, causing it to crash into the vehicle stopped in front of him, officers on the scene reported.

    Edmundson was taken to the hospital complaining of minor injuries to his neck and back.

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    YOUNGSTOWN — Authorities are investigating a residential shooting that occurred at about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

    Bay County Sheriff's Office is investigating an altercation that started in a Youngstown home off State 20 near U.S. 231. The incident led to shooting at the home. Officials confirmed one man was shot.

    A short time later, a battery incident occurred at the corner of 15th Street and MLK Jr. Boulevard. Authorities said the two incidents were connected.

    Details so far are sparse.

    The man has not been identified. The nature of the injuries was not clear at 6 p.m. Wendesday, but he is in stable condition at a local hospital, officials reported.

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  • 10/08/14--16:38: Missing Bonifay girl sought
  • BONIFAY — Authorities are seeking assistance in locating a Holmes County girl who went missing during the Bonifay rodeo.

    The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office released a missing persons report Wednesday for Shyanne G. Benavidez. She was last seen in the company of male friends at the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo in Bonifay Saturday.  Benavidez, 14, was last seen wearing a pink tank top, blue jeans and grey tennis shoes. Benavidez is suspected to possibly be in Holmes, Washington or Bay County. 

    Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Benavidez is encouraged to contact the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 547-3681 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-689-8477.

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    The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the assistance to identify a suspect in a credit-card fraud case.

    The victim discovered his credit card was missing on Thursday. He contacted his financial institution and learned his missing card was being used to make transactions at several local businesses.

    Video of the suspect was obtained. She is a black female, late 20’s or early 30’s with medium build, black hair, and was last seen wearing a black top, black and white shorts, white socks, Nike slides, and black sunglasses. She was in the company of two other black females and a young child.

    Anyone with information on this suspect is asked to contact the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 747-4700 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 785-TIPS.

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    PANAMA CITY — Authorities have arrested two New York City residents who claimed to be recording artists who allegedly bilked a local catering company out of several thousand dollars in refreshments, officials announced Thursday.

    Bay County Sheriff’s officials said from Sept. 26 through October, a group of individuals claiming to be recording artists from “The Black Billionaires Incorporated” stayed at a motel on 15th Street in Panama City and used a local catering business several times. They left Bay County without paying the more than $3,000 bill for the catering and went to Escambia County. While in Escambia County, two of the individuals in the group were arrested.

    Walker Washington, aka Shamel Shakeem, 48, and Adonijah Keturah Niles, aka Sharon Williams, 20, both of New York City, were placed in the Escambia County Jail on outstanding warrants. Washington was picked up on a federal warrant and Niles on a warrant out of Bay County for grand theft involving the unpaid debt to the catering business.

    Investigators believe this group of individuals may have defrauded other businesses in Bay County.

    BCSO encouraged other victims to contact local law enforcement or the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 747-4700 to file a complaint.

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    PANAMA CITY — Federal prosecutors have filed charges against four Panama City men and two Atlanta people for an alleged narcotics trafficking scheme, officials announced Thursday.

    Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, said a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment Wednesday charging six individuals with narcotic and firearm offenses.

    The indictment charges that John Matthew Love, 36; Mabrye Joseph Bettinger, 41; Bryant Anthony Kreis, 32; Dusti Nicole Broxson, 26; all from the greater Panama City area, along with Anastacio Mendoza, 37; and Carmen Theresa Silva, 39; from Atlanta, were involved in a conspiracy to distribute at least 50 grams of crystal methamphetamine throughout Florida and elsewhere.

    The indictment alleged the conspiracy began about July 1 and continued until Sept. 21, when warrants were served on the suspects.

    Love, Bettinger, Kreist and Broxson also were charged with possessing distribution quantities of methamphetamine and authorities said Love was in possession of a Kel-Tec 9 millimeter handgun to further the drug trafficking.

    Details in the case have been redacted from court documents.

    The indictment results from an investigation by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Panama City and Montgomery, Ala., the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Panama City Police Department, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Risinger is prosecuting the case.

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    PANAMA CITY — A man intoxicated on prescription narcotics was sentenced to five years in prison for running down a pedestrian along a dimly lit Panama City Beach road.

    William Scott Rhodes, 29, was sentenced Thursday after he pleaded no contest to DUI manslaughter charges stemming from a January 2013 incident. Witnesses said traffic was heavy along Joan Avenue, just south of Houston Street, where 37-year-old James Gladney was struck and killed that night by a 1994 Dodge pickup truck.

    The stretch of road was dark, but the memories were still traumatically clear during witness depositions more than a year later as Rhodes’ November trial approached.

    Gladney had just left a friend’s home across Joan Avenue at about 7:30 p.m., waving goodbye to a couple of family members who had walked him to the driveway’s edge.

    Other drivers noticed something indistinct cross the road, a silhouette — lines cutting through headlights approaching in the other lane. Some people dodged Gladney, watching to see if the other drivers would do the same.

    “I thought for sure he was going to see him,” one driver said as she passed Gladney. “Then I just saw this body flying through the air.”

    Rhodestold investigators he did not see Gladney in time to avoid hitting him. During his sworn statement he had a “thick tongue” and “his speech was still mumbled and he had difficulty staying awake,” according to his arrest affidavit.

    Gladney was pronounced dead at the scene when troopers arrested Rhodes on Jan. 20.

    Rhodesdidn’t smell like alcohol during the crash investigation, though he was unsteady and “his speech was mumbled and confused,” the Florida Highway Patrol reported. One trooper investigating the crash said Rhodes “could not stay awake” while he was interviewed.

    Two witnesses told troopers that before the collision, Rhodes’ truck was weaving as it traveled north on Joan Avenue. They said they suspected the driver was impaired and they backed off the truck because they feared it would crash.

    Before he was arrested, a trooper put Rhodes in the back of a patrol car. Another trooper who interviewed Rhodes later said Rhodes appeared to be sleeping in the back of the car before he was arrested.

    Investigators asked Rhodes to perform field sobriety tests, which he did. The arrest report indicated he performed poorly and was arrested on suspicion of DUI, but after his arrest, Rhodes was taken to the FHP station, where he submitted to a Breathalyzer test and registered a 0.0 blood-alcohol content.

    What Rhodes was influenced by was unclear at the time.

    Rhodes had refused consent for a blood draw prior to his arrest because he had smoked marijuana at a party a few nights prior and was worried toxicology results might show older drugs in his system, according to the arrest report. However, because it as a homicide, he was required to submit to a blood test.

    Toxicology reports said Rhodes was had traces of alprazolam, oxycodone and THC in his blood. Rhodes was sentenced to several other drug and alcohol screenings, substance abuse counseling, as well as five years in prison. He also was ordered to write a letter of apology to Gladney’s mother during his incarceration.

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    MARIANNA -- A Blounstown man was charged with aggravated stalking Thursday in connection with an incident Sept. 30 during which he harassed another driver on I-10, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

    At about 9:50 a.m. on Sept. 30, an incident occurred on the interstate at the 192 mile marker and continued for the next 50 miles where a motorist was subjected to dangerous conditions by another driver. The incident entered into Jackson County and escalated to the point of aggravated stalking.

    The victim reached out to the Florida Highway Patrol via cellphone and the use of the *FHP (*347) dialing feature for emergency calls. The Tallahassee Regional Communication Center responded by dispatching troopers. Contact was made with the victim in a business establishment where a report was initiated.

    The investigation continued and on Thursday, Troy Carlton Champion Jr. of Blountstown was taken into custody by FHP with the assistance of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department.

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    PANAMA CITY BEACH — A man was found unresponsive in Panama City Beach near Edgewater Beach Resort on Friday and was taken to an area hospital.

    Emergency personnel responded to a man who passed out on the beach. They performed CPR on the man at around 1:15 p.m. and he was transported to the hospital with continuing attempts to revive him. The incident was non-water related.

    No other details were available as of 6 p.m. on Friday.

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    ALLANTON — No charges will be filed in the shooting death of James Ivey by his son, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced on Friday.

    Investigators ruled Kyle Ivey acted in self defense when he shot James Ivey during a domestic dispute at 4524 Gore Road Oct. 4. Kyle Ivey returned home unaware of a domestic dispute between James Ivey and Kyle Ivey’s mother, Amy, the BCSO release said.

    A physical altercation ensued between father and son and James Ivey armed himself with a rifle before taking aim at Amy Ivey. Kyle Ivey was shot, injuring his hand and abdomen. Kyle Ivey armed himself with a shotgun and shot James Ivey, who was pronounced dead on the scene. Kyle Ivey remains hospitalized, the BCSO reported.

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    PANAMA CITY — Defense attorneys are seeking a new trial for the Fountain man convicted of the murder and robbery of his neighbor because a juror said he was forced into a guilty verdict.

    It would be the fifth trial of Philip Dean Brock if accepted by Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark.

    Brock, 58, was found guilty on all charges for the December 2012 death of 65-year-old Terry Brazil following more than seven hours of deliberation. Brazil’s throat was slashed, he was shot in the stomach and bludgeoned after apparently being bound with duct tape. Several items — including his car, guns and coins — missing from Brazil’s home were found at Brock’s home. After three hung juries, the fourth found Brock guilty early Oct. 4 of murder and robbery, which carries a life sentence.


    But the following Monday, juror Bobby Baker contacted Brock’s attorneys, claiming that “though he requested the foreperson [to] advise the judge they were deadlocked, as the case had not been proven to him,” the foreman refused, according to court documents.

    “By our foreman’s refusal to take my request to the judge, I felt as if I would be held indefinitely, until I was forced to go along with the majority,” Baker wrote.

    State prosecutor Larry Basford declined to comment on the motion for a new trial itself.

    “The jury worked hard for this verdict, and we believe it was the right verdict,” Basford said. “It will ultimately be up to the judge to determine the validity of this motion.”

    According to Baker’s account, nine people had decided on a guilty verdict, two were undecided and one hold-out — Baker — believed state prosecutors “had not made a case of sufficient strength to overcome every citizen’s presumptive innocence,” he said.

    Several pieces of evidence linking Brock to the crime scene were missing. The gun and knife used in Brazil’s murder were never recovered. Brock’s DNA was found inside the room where Brazil’s body was found and on a bedpost investigators said was used in the bludgeoning. However, an unidentified third party’s DNA also was found at the scene.


    After hour six of deliberation, jurors agreed on pursuing a compromised guilty verdict for robbery. But a “conspiracy theory” developed among the jury that the additional DNA evidence came from a person committing the robbery on the part of Brock, Baker said. That is what led jurors to a unanimous decision that, though Brock may or may not have been present during the killing, he could have orchestrated it from afar for a cut of the bounty.

    A poll of the jury verdict was taken by the court following their decision. Each member stated the verdict of first-degree murder was their own.

    “While I must ultimately take full responsibility for my horrible decision, it would not have happened if the jury had been conducted as it should have been while we were in the jury room,” Baker wrote.

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