Articles on this Page
- 10/30/14--18:28: _Man sentenced to se...
- 10/30/14--18:34: _Jury: Walton deputy...
- 10/31/14--13:56: _Former FAMU band me...
- 10/31/14--15:17: _Cross-dressing duo ...
- 10/31/14--15:48: _Officials urge caut...
- 10/31/14--16:46: _UPDATE: Police: Bur...
- 10/31/14--17:27: _Police: Use care on...
- 11/02/14--15:17: _Student arrested fo...
- 11/02/14--15:31: _Car-bike collision ...
- 11/03/14--13:47: _Rabies alert issued...
- 11/03/14--14:07: _No charges will be ...
- 11/03/14--14:47: _Rapist sentenced to...
- 11/03/14--15:55: _Lynn Haven teen kil...
- 11/03/14--16:06: _Former PCB chamber ...
- 11/04/14--11:37: _Blotter: The meat dash
- 11/04/14--12:13: _Boil water notice p...
- 11/04/14--12:33: _Sex offender arrest...
- 11/04/14--14:49: _Man charged with ro...
- 11/05/14--14:26: _Alabama men arreste...
- 11/05/14--14:28: _Woman arrested afte...
- 10/30/14--18:28: Man sentenced to seven years for armed robbery
- 10/30/14--18:34: Jury: Walton deputy did not use excessive force in killing
- 10/31/14--13:56: Former FAMU band member convicted in hazing death
- 10/31/14--15:17: Cross-dressing duo nabbed for fraud
- 10/31/14--15:48: Officials urge caution as fire threat grows
- To report a wildfire, call 850-547-7083. Visit the Florida Forest Service website for more information at floridaforestservice.com.
- 10/31/14--16:46: UPDATE: Police: Burglary suspect had gun from homicide
- 10/31/14--17:27: Police: Use care on roads, be patient during Ironman
- 11/02/14--15:17: Student arrested for threatening Facebook post
- 11/02/14--15:31: Car-bike collision leaves one dead
- 11/03/14--13:47: Rabies alert issued for Callaway
- Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
- Do not leave pet food outside overnight as this attracts wild animals to your home and increases the chance of a pet-raccoon conflict.
- If bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Seek medical treatment as needed and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at (850) 872- 4455, ext. 1125. If the animal is stray or wild, call911 or Bay County Animal Control at (850) 784-4005 and report the animal’s location. In the City of Lynn Haven, call the Lynn Haven Police Department at (850) 265-1112. Follow up. Rabies is preventable when treatment isprovided in atimely manner.
- If your dog or cat fights with a wild animal, contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County immediately. The wild animal will need to be tested for rabies. Your animal may need to be quarantined. Do not shoot suspected rabid animals in the head.
- Do not touch animals that are not yours. Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially raccoons, bats, bobcats, otters, foxes, skunks and coyotes. No animal is too young to have rabies. A rabid animal may act friendly.
- Wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear when dressing/butchering wild animals to avoid exposure to rabies and other diseases. Cook all meat thoroughly to 165 degrees.
- For general questions pertaining to stray animals or odd acting wild animals, contact your area’s animal control department.
- For questions regarding the health of a pet, contact a veterinarian.
- Teach your children about rabies and to never touch a bat.
- 11/03/14--14:07: No charges will be filed in weekend fatality
- 11/03/14--14:47: Rapist sentenced to life
- 11/03/14--15:55: Lynn Haven teen killed in crash
- 11/03/14--16:06: Former PCB chamber leader arrested again
- 11/04/14--11:37: Blotter: The meat dash
- 11/04/14--12:13: Boil water notice posted for PCB
- 11/04/14--12:33: Sex offender arrested for violating probation
- 11/04/14--14:49: Man charged with robbing his grandmother
- 11/05/14--14:26: Alabama men arrested on drugs, theft charges
- 11/05/14--14:28: Woman arrested after special delivery
PANAMA CITY — A man whose two armed robberies netted only $180 has been sentenced to seven years in prison, according to court documents.
Michael Lee Harris, 52, was sentenced after he pleaded no contest Thursday to holding up two convenience stores at knifepoint. In one attempt, he was chased from the store by a clerk wielding a pipe, and in the other he made off with only $180, police reported.
Police caught up with Harris on April 22 after he walked into the Family Dollar at 297 W. 15th Street about a week earlier with a large knife. Harris ordered the clerk to open the cash register before she gave him about $180. He then ran off but was caught on surveillance video.
Officers pulled a still frame from the video and identified Harris. Police also found a car with a Social Security card and jacket belonging to Harris nearby, although he lived on Sixth Street.
Last December, Harris was less successful in a similar robbery attempt. He entered the M&M II Store at 3210 Transmitter Road, walked up to the counter, set a candy bar down, pulled out a knife and demanded money. His plan was thwarted when the clerk grabbed a pipe and chased him from the store.
“The clerk grabbed a pipe from under the counter to protect himself, spoiling any further attempts by Harris to complete the robbery,” police reported.
Harris was sentenced to seven years in prison for armed robbery, attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
PANAMA CITY — Jurors say a Walton County sheriff’s deputy did not use excessive force when he shot and killed an unarmed Freeport man.
Hours lapsed Thursday night as jurors deliberated the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Panama City against Deputy Nick Embry.
Family members of Jeffery Weekley filed the civil lawsuit after he was shot and killed in the woods near his Freeport home in 2009. It claimed the deputy used excessive force and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) did not properly investigate the homicide or discipline the deputy after the shooting.
The Weekley estate asked for up to $20 million in damages. However, jurors determined that Weekley was an imminent threat to Embry and that the deputy had probable cause to use deadly force.
During the trial’s last day, Embry demonstrated for jurors the events from the evening he shot and killed Weekley, who Embry believed to be intoxicated and armed with a pocket knife when he arrived at a domestic disturbance call on Pope Street.
“Kill me. Go ahead, kill me,” Embry shouted in the courtroom as he recounted Weekley’s allegedly hostile charge toward him. “That’s when he jammed his hands into his pockets, and I fired twice.”
No weapon was found on Weekley.
The family’s attorneys spent most of the trial trying to discredit the narrative Embry gave following the shooting because he was the only eyewitness to the incident.
A third person, Evelyn Burch, called WCSO to trespass Weekley from her home. Burch might have been able to testify whether the shouts Embry demonstrated for the court could be heard from her home about 50 yards away, but she was never called to the stand.
Possibly one of the most dooming testimonies to the plaintiff’s case came from Dr. Kris Sperry, a forensic pathologist. Sperry said in the 10 to 12 seconds Weekley’s lungs filled with blood from the shots but before he lost consciousness, he had time to smear blood in the “V” formation on his chest. The smear and the lack of blood below it were not necessarily counterintuitive to Embry’s version of events, Sperry said.
“He was down on his back rapidly, with 10 to 12 seconds to move his arms,” Sperry said. “That’s where I expect the blood transfer came from.”
In Embry’s reports from Aug. 3, 2009, he said he saw the 40-year-old Weekley lying facedown behind some bushes when he came across him. Embry ordered Weekley to come closer so they could talk. That’s when Weekley became enraged and charged him, Embry said.
“I said anything I could to get him to stop,” he testified.
Two shots later, Weekley was dead on his back with two bullets in his chest.
The plaintiffs’ forensic investigator testified the angle could have only been achieved if Weekley was in a “catcher’s position,” squatted submissively on the ground, and not in a “football player’s stance,” as Embry testified.
“If you say he’s lunging forward, there’s no way he can end up on his back,” said plaintiff attorney David Bennett. “A body in motion stays in motion.”
But Embry’s defense presented a computer-generated diagram depicting how the angle could be achieved as Embry described it and testimony from Sperry that refuted the hypothesis that Weekley was crouched during the shooting.
“Jeffrey Weekley’s life ended too soon,” defense attorney Carl Raymond Peterson Jr. said. “But it ended because he refused several loud, authoritative commands. Why he refused, we will never know.”
In addition, the plaintiffs’ attorneys highlighted inconsistencies from original interviews with Embry and depositions following the shooting in anticipation of their case against WCSO.
The lawsuit against Sheriff Michael Adkinson still is pending, and the jury’s finding for Embry likely will influence its outcome, according to the Weekley family’s attorneys.
“There is no bigger case than an officer shooting a citizen under the colors of the law,” Bennett said. “ … If you can win a case with ‘I thought he had a knife,’ authorities can get away with shooting anyone. That’s not justice.”
ORLANDO (AP) — A former Florida A&M band member accused of being the ringleader of a brutal hazing ritual known as “Crossing Bus C” that killed a drum major was convicted Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing.
Dante Martin, 27, was the first to stand trial in the November 2011 death of 26-year-old Robert Champion aboard a band bus parked outside a football game where the well-regarded Marching 100 band had performed. The case brought into focus the culture of hazing in the band, which was suspended for more than a year while officials tried to clean up the program.
Martin was known as “the president of Bus C,” witnesses testified, and he organized the initiations that required fellow band members to try to make their way through a pounding gauntlet of fists, drumsticks and mallets from the front of the bus to the back, including on that November day. Two other band members went through the bus before Champion, who was from Decatur, Georgia. Martin was convicted of misdemeanor hazing counts in their beatings.
Champion's parents sat silently as the verdicts were read. Martin sat with his head down as several members of his family wept in the gallery behind him.
“No one won here today — no one,” said Robert Champion Sr. “We hate to see anyone's child go to prison. To know that my son's life will not be in vain, that he will make a difference, I hope that people will get the message that hazing isn't cool. It doesn't work. It doesn't need to be here. You need to stop now.”
The jury deliberated for about an hour before delivering its verdict.
Martin's sentencing was set for Jan. 9 and he was taken into custody immediately after the verdict. Manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison in Florida. The hazing conviction means he could spend up to 22 years in jail.
In the aftermath of Champion's death, the storied Marching 100, which had played at Super Bowls and before U.S. presidents, was suspended for more than a year, only starting to perform again at the beginning of the 2013 football season. Also, the university's former president, James Ammons, resigned and the band's director, Julian White, was fired before being allowed to retire.
Several other former band members have pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and three await trial. Former band member Jessie Baskin pleaded no contest to manslaughter in March and received a year in county jail. He is the only one of the previous defendants to receive jail time.
After the ritual, Champion complained of trouble breathing and vomited, then collapsed and died in a parking lot.
Like Champion's father, state attorney Jeff Ashton said he hopes Martin's conviction will serve to deter other from engaging in hazing. The university now requires all students to sign pledges not to haze others.
“That's why they (Florida lawmakers) passed the hazing statute in 2002, it was to say this process has got to stop,” Ashton said. “It hasn't worked...I hope the message that gets across to anyone out there who is thinking of participating in these very dangerous activities is that if you do it, and something goes wrong, you're going to be responsible for it.”
Defense attorneys told jurors the ritual was more akin to a competition and that there was no actual hazing. They said Champion and the others voluntarily took part.
“You can't take it in isolation and act like it was just any other band,” defense attorney Richard Escobar said during closing arguments. “Brutal as it was, foolish as it was...it was competitive.”
Escobar and his co-counsel Dino Michaels left the court room without commenting. But they told Judge Renee Roche they planned to file a motion for a mistrial before the January sentencing.
Ashton argued to jurors that the testimony made it clear that band members were looking for a measure of respect and acceptance by “crossing Bus C.” But he challenged the defense's argument.
“Tradition didn't kill Robert Champion,” Ashton said. “Tradition isn't to blame. Tradition is not an excuse...It's not a defense to those that got caught.”
Champion's parents still have a wrongful death lawsuit pending against the university after settling with the charter bus company.
Champion's mother, Pam Champion, said she would not be celebrating Friday's verdict.
“Right now I don't have any tears,” she said. "But those tears — and they will come I guarantee you— will not only be for my son, but for that young man (Martin) because of what was done to alter his mindset.
“That's sad, because of the things that happened and what was allowed to occur.”
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Police have arrested a trio that includes two cross-dressing siblings on charges of attempting to pass thousands of dollars in fake checks at a Wal-Mart, according to a Panama City Beach Police press release.
Ricky Bernard Ingram, 56; Anthony “Ja” Williams Huff, 31; and Kenneth Ray Benjamin Huff, 29, were arrested Thursday after staff of the Wal-Mart on Front Beach Road suspected the three were cutting curious checks.
But the checks were not the only deception; two of the three Atlanta men were dressed as women.
According to PCBPD reports, police were called to the Wal-Mart at about 1:45 p.m. Thursday to reports of people passing counterfeit checks. Officers found Ingram and were told by Wal-Mart’s loss prevention officers he passed a counterfeit check in the store, police said.
What he was attempting to purchase was left unclear, but police placed him under arrest and found three counterfeit checks totaling $1,274.59, PCPD reported.
An investigation led officers to Anthony Huff and Kenneth Huff, who also passed counterfeit checks in the store, police said.
Ingram, Kenneth and Anthony were charged with one count of uttering a counterfeit check each and were taken to the Bay County Jail.
PCBPD Chief Drew Whitman said it is unlikely the two will be placed in women’s lockup.
“We book them in as men unless they’ve undergone surgery,” Whitman said. “Then it’s up to the jail where they’re placed.”
The investigation is ongoing, PCPBD reported, and additional charges are expected.
PANAMA CITY — Dry conditions and high winds could make for dangerous fire conditions over the weekend, and authorities are asking the public to take precautions and be proactive in reporting suspicious smoke.
Despite a slight amount of precipitation earlier in the week, the Florida Forest Service issued a public notice Friday of the high fire danger over the weekend in seven Panhandle counties: Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Walton and Washington.
Humidity is expected to drop significantly and high winds with gusts as high as 30 mph are expected Saturday, which amount to highly hazardous fire conditions, according to Chipola Center Forest Service Manager Johnny Sabo.
--- WEATHER CONDITIONS ---
“The midweek rainshowers in our area can be very deceiving,” Sabo said. “The reality is, we haven’t had a good rain in at least 19 days and the forecast doesn’t show any in the near future.”
Without a significant rainfall, it doesn’t take much to ignite a potential wildfire, so the Forest Service is stressing the importance vigilance. Under these conditions, sparks can ignite easily and fires will spread quickly.
The Forest Service is discouraging outdoor burning today and asking citizens to report any new fires or suspicious smoke. Safety of the public and first responders is of the utmost concern, and with today’s weather forecast, one of the main threats for firefighters will be rapid spread of any fire start.
--- WEATHER CONDITIONS ---
See a fire?
PANAMA CITY — Authorities have arrested a 19-year-old Panama City man on 31 felony charges after he allegedly stole eight guns, including one used in a recent homicide, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
Matthew Barnett, 19, was charged with 23 felony counts of burglary and eight counts of grand theft after a three-month investigation by BCSO into a rash of car burglaries in the John Pitts Road area. Items stolen included televisions, cameras, money, wallets, purses and eight firearms, some of which Barnett resold, BCSO reported.
One of those handguns was later used in the shooting death of 17-year-old Curtis Hunt outside a Kraft Avenue residence Oct. 14. Two juveniles and an adult have been charged in the shooting, but Panama City Police have yet to find a fourth suspect.
The 23 burglary cases happened over three months and involved locked and unlocked vehicles and also the burglary of a few houses.
Investigators said they determined Barnett had moved into the area of John Pitts Road just before the burglaries began. Barnett’s mother confessed to knowledge of the burglaries and his brother admitted to being involved in some of them, BCSO said.
A pried-open shed on Joseph Road led investigators to Barnett. Nothing was taken from the shed, but several other burglaries occurred in the same area on the same night. Boot prints in the area matched a pair found in Barnett’s home at 8833 John Pitts Road, according to investigative reports.
Investigators believe Barnett robbed one home of several guns. He then allegedly sold at least one of the guns, but whether the gun that ended Hunt’s life was a direct transaction was unclear.
“Who knows how many times it could’ve changed hands,” said BCSO spokeswoman Ruth Corley.
Eventually the gun was used to shoot Hunt in the head while he sat outside a residence in the 200 block of Kraft Avenue. So far, PCPD has charged Javares R. Cameron, 18; Capri Brooks, 14; and Isiah C. Grady, 15; all of Panama City, with a role in the killing.
Police said they identified Cameron as the trigger man after the three were run down across town at Royal Arms Garden Apartments on Balboa Avenue. He still is being held without bond in the Bay County Jail on an open count of murder.
A fourth suspected accomplice is still at large. He was caught on police dash cam video fleeing arrest at Royal Arms Garden Apartments. He also is believed to be about 16 years old.
Attempts to reach PCPD for comment on their ongoing search went unanswered Friday.
Barnett was charged with 23 felony counts of burglary and eight additional counts of grand theft due to the theft of eight firearms. Investigators recovered two firearms from Barnett’s home. A third was tossed from the Lincoln Towncar carrying Cameron, Brooks, Grady and the fourth suspect.
Matthew Barnett’s brother, 20-year-old LD Barnett, also has been arrested and charged with two felony counts of burglary and dealing in stolen property.
Each of the brothers is being held on a $5,000 bond for each of the charges, bringing Matthew Barnett’s bond to $155,000.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Bay County Sheriff's Office urges the public to be aware as the Ironman Triathlon will take place Saturday on Panama City Beach.
After the swim, the bike race will begin to delay traffic along the route from 9 a.m. until 3 or 4 p.m. The run is expected to delay traffic from 11:45 a.m. until 8 or 9 p.m. Roads affected by the bike race include Thomas Drive, Front Beach Road, State 79, State 20, State 77 and County 388. Roads affected by the road race are all on the east end of the beach, mostly South Lagoon Drive and a few sections of Thomas Drive.
Officers will be in place at most major intersection, doing their best to keep traffic moving along the roads. BCSO asks the public to expect delays and try to remain patient.
--- IRONMAN ROUTE ---
PANAMA CITY — Deputies arrested a Merritt Brown Middle School student Saturday after he allegedly threatened gun violence at the school, according to the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
Logan Chason was arrested and charged with written threats to do bodily harm, a second-degree felony, and was turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. On Saturday, he allegedly posted to his Facebook page the following:
"I'm in a bad mood so it's gonna be my worst week, then watch out Merritt Brown Middle School I'm gonna come to school with a gun and start shooting."
A man in Ohio reported the post to the sheriff's office after he saw it online. The post remained on his page Sunday evening.
Chason's Facebook friends were critical of the post, and he responded, "I wasn't being serious I would never endanger myself or my friends/family in that manner."
Deputies made contact with Chason on Saturday evening. They searched two homes where he stays and found no weapons at either location, said BCSO Sgt. Andy Husar.
He told deputies he made the comment because he was angry about another person's Facebook post, but he never had any intention of following through on the threat, Husar said.
Bay District Schools has suspended Chason for 10 days and he has been recommended for expulsion. Parents of Merritt Brown students were notified of the incident via the district’s IRIS notification system.
BCSO is still investigating. Extra officers will be posted at the school this week as a precautionary measure.
The bicyclist, John Ezra Tatum, 53, was struck by a vehicle traveling north on US 231 as he attempted to cross US 231 from east to west, wearing all dark clothes and riding a bicycle with no lights. Tatum was pronounced dead at the scene.
Traffic Homicide Investigators arrived on scene to handle the crash. At this time, no charges have been filed against the driver that was involved in this incident.
CALLAWAY — The Florida Department of Health issued a 60-day rabies alert for the Callaway area of Bay County.
The measure is in response to raccoons that tested positive for rabies on Oct. 21 and again on Friday. The centers for the alert include areas in Callaway and unincorporated Bay County north f Highway 22. The alert extends to areas east of Tyndall Parkway, north of Highway 22, west of Callaway Creek/Bayou and south of Tram Road.
The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness and understand rabies is present and domestic animals are at risk. All wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, coyotes and skunks.
The following advice is issued:
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at 850-872-4455, ext. 1125.
PANAMA CITY — Charges will not be filed against a driver who struck and killed a bicyclist crossing U.S. 231, according to Panama City Police Department officials.
The bicyclist, John Ezra Tatum, 53, was struck by a vehicle traveling north on U.S. 231 as he attempted to cross from east to west Saturday at the intersection of U.S. 231 and East Avenue. He was wearing dark clothes and riding a bicycle with no lights at 9:52 p.m., according to PCPD reports.
Tatum was pronounced dead at the scene.
PCPD officials Monday said no charges will be filed against the driver.
PANAMA CITY — An Ohio man has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape of a Lynn Haven woman.
Corderro Ryan Britten, 27, was sentenced to life in prison Monday for raping a Lynn Haven woman after a party the morning of Sept. 30, 2013. Britten, of Cincinnati, was driving the woman home from a party on the beach when he pulled off the road, beat and raped her in the car. He left her on the side of the road miles from home. She was able to get help from nearby residents.
Britten was found guilty as charged of sexual battery by actual physical force, sexual battery by threat of retaliation, false imprisonment and tampering with a victim. He raped the victim once, but prosecutors were able to prove that the rape was committed two ways: with physical force and by Britten threatening to kill her, the woman’s child and family if she didn’t comply.
Britten was adjudicated guilty of the sexual battery by actual physical force, false imprisonment and tampering with a victim, as well as a separate escape charge. The other rape charge was dismissed, as expected, because Britten could only be adjudicated on one of the sexual battery counts.
Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet sentenced him to life, with a minimum mandatory of 25 years, followed by 50 years. He will serve the remainder of his life behind bars.
PANAMA CITY — Two people were pronounced dead, including a Lynn Haven teenager, after separate crashes Sunday night and Monday morning, according to Florida Highway Patrol reports.
The two crashes happened in two separate counties under completely different circumstances but took two young lives on the same state highway.
Monday at about 5:40 a.m., 18-year-old Gabrielle Aviles, of Lynn Haven, was traveling south on State 71 toward the intersection with State 73 in Calhoun County. Brian Nettles, 44, of Panama City, was driving north on the same stretch of highway at the same time, FHP reported.
As of Monday evening, FHP was not sure what caused the crash; but Aviles and Nettles struck each other head-on in the intersection near the center line.
Neither was wearing a seatbelt, FHP said.
The impact caused Aviles, in a 2008 Toyota Prius, to spin momentarily before coming to rest in the northbound lane facing east. Nettles, in a 1991 Mack E300, traveled into a ditch also facing east, FHP reported.
Aviles was later pronounced dead. Nettles was uninjured.
No charges have been filed as FHP’s investigation is ongoing.
The previous night a DeFuniak Springs man was killed at about 9:45 p.m. in a single vehicle accident also along State 71. However, the incident occurred in Jackson County.
Alex C. Brack, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene after being ejected from an overturning vehicle. Neither he nor his passenger Cierra L. Brown, an 18-year-old Blountstown resident, was wearing a seatbelt.
FHP said Brack was driving south on State 71 in a 2008 Ford F-150 when the accident occurred. The truck left the roadway, entered the shoulder, struck a culvert, became airborne and struck a utility pole support wire, FHP reported.
The truck then hit the ground and overturned multiple times, ejecting Brack, the release said. He was pronounced dead on the scene when EMS arrived.
Brown was seriously injured in the wreck and taken to Jackson County Hospital.
The accident is also under investigation, FHP said.
LYNN HAVEN — A former Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce president who resigned after accusations she stole two $5 candy bars has been arrested on grand theft and possession of controlled substance charges.
Beth Oltman, 49, resigned from her chamber post nearly two months after loss prevention officers at a Dillard’s confronted her, alleging she left the store without paying for two candy bars. A little more than two years later, Oltman faces felony charges after allegedly attempting to walk out of the Lynn Haven Wal-Mart on Sunday night with $530 in merchandise, according to Lynn Haven Police reports.
She then was charged with several counts of possessing controlled substances when officers found 34 various prescription pills in her purse, according to arrest records.
LHPD reported Oltman, of Lynn Haven, walked in the grocery side of the Wal-Mart, 2101 S. State 77, and took several recycle shopping bags near the entrance. She allegedly proceeded to fill the bags with $530 in merchandise before trying to walk out without paying, police reported.
While searching Oltman’s purse, officers found a round, tin pill case. Inside, police said the case held several prescription-only painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs, but Oltman did not have proof of prescriptions, police reported.
Oltman faced four counts of possessing controlled substances and grand theft during her first appearance Monday.
She never went to court after being charged with retail theft from September 2012. The case stemmed from Oltman allegedly leaving the Pier Park Dillard’s with one candy bar for which she had not paid. Police reports indicated she ate another candy bar that she didn’t pay for in the store. Each of the candy bars was valued at about $5.
Oltman, who was president of beach chamber at the time, called the incident “a misunderstanding,” and the charges were dropped by the State Attorney’s Office without her ever appearing in court. She resigned from the post two months later.
Attempts to contact Oltman on Monday were unsuccessful. Her bond was set at $5,500 on the new charges.
Following the Ironman races in Panama City Beach, local police officers participated in a separate and little-known display of physical endurance and aptitude; but they managed to bring home the beef.
We’ll call it the “meat dash.”
Police were recently at a handicap, having to travel from their post to a local grocer on a shoplifting call. While en route, the officers were informed the protein-powered athlete had fled the store on foot with four packages of rib-eye steaks stuffed in the front of his pants.
He’d already bested one of the grocery’s employees in the short dash and was on to the endurance round against police.
The officers caught up with the employee who’d made it to where the man pulled out the trouser steaks and left them on the ground. The man was nowhere to be found, though. But the police had a description and their radios.
The man was later caught up with in the woods. As it turned out, the race was close enough to end in a photo finish — a mug shot photo.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — A boil water notice has been posted for portions of Panama City Beach after a main break on Tuesday.
The following areas are impacted: 8706-9007 North Lagoon Drive, 104-170 Rusty Gans Drive, 2832-3003 Allison Avenue and the Dollar General Store and Express Lane. Residents in these areas are urged to bring water to a rolling boil for one minute to be used for drinking and cooking. The notice will remain in effect until the problem has been corrected and a bacteriological survey shows the water is safe.
For more information, contact PCB utilities at (850) 233-5100.
PANAMA CITY — Authorities arrested a sex offender Tuesday morning for violating his probation after he called Sheriff Frank McKeithen to complain officers were monitoring him too closely, according to a Bay County Sheriff’s Office press release.
A warrant was issued by parole and probation for Horace Wood, 45, in response to a violation of the terms of his probation. Wood failed to comply with all instructions given him by his probation officer and did not carry his monitoring device at all times.
Wood was stopped by the BCSO Warrants Division Tuesday morning on U.S. 231 in front of the Youngstown Motel and taken into custody.
Wood had made contact by telephone Monday with McKeithen. Wood complained that BCSO deputies were checking up on him too much. Sheriff McKeithen stated “that phone call didn’t last very long,” according to the release.
Wood has been taken to the Bay County Jail for violation of probation for lewd and lascivious sexual battery on a child.
PANAMA CITY — Police have arrested a Panama City man for allegedly snatching his grandmother’s money as she went to pay bills, Panama City Police Department officials announced Tuesday.
Police arrested Farriel Lee Moore Jr., 21, after responding to a robbery complaint at a home in the 800 block of East 12th Court. The victim told officers she was preparing to leave so she could pay her bills and was standing by her front door counting her money, when someone came up from behind her and snatched the money from her. She stated the suspect ran through her home and she did not see him leave, police reported.
She suspected her grandson, Moore, as he has taken money from her in the past, she told police. Later that day, other family members found Moore and called the police.
Moore was located at a residence in the 1400 block of Palo Alto Avenue and taken to the Panama City Police station for questioning. His family members reported finding a sum of money on Moore, and told police he does not have a job or any other source of income.
Moore was interviewed, subsequently charged with robbery by sudden snatching and taken to the Bay County Jail to await first appearance.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Two Opelika, Alabama, residents are in custody after police discovered an assortment of drugs and stolen items during a traffic stop Wednesday morning.
Jacob Lewis and Andrew Barresi, both 21, were traveling on Front Beach Road near Seascape Inn when Panama City Beach police pulled them over and found methamphetamine, cannabis and prescription medication in the vehicle.
A press release said officers also found several stolen items in their possession, leading to a further investigation that revealed the pair had burglarized several vehicles in the Panama City Beach area and were getting ready to leave town.
Lewis and Baressi received several burglary, grand theft and narcotic related charges.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Police have arrested a Tallahassee woman who allegedly picked up a post office package containing 2.2 lbs of MDMA, according to a Panama City Beach Police Department press release.
Julia McQueen, 27, was arrested Tuesday at about noon leaving the post office at Churchwell Drive. PCBPD officials said she picked up a package containing 2.2 pounds of MDMA, also known as “Molly,” which she allegedly trafficked into the state, police reported.
McQueen’s arrest stemmed from a joint narcotic investigation involving police, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to detect large quantities of an illegal substance being shipped into the state.
McQueen was taken to Bay County Jail on charges of trafficking in MDMA. Her first appearance was set for Wednesday.