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RSS Full Text Feed of Crime-public_Safety for Mobile.

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    PANAMA CITY BEACH — Two teenage sweethearts suspected in a crime spree of stolen vehicles and pilfered checks across the U.S. South have been taken into custody in Florida, Kentucky authorities said Sunday.

    Grayson County Sheriff officials said in a statement that 18-year-old Dalton Hayes and his 13-year-old girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, were arrested without incident about 12:10 a.m. Sunday in Panama City Beach. The two had eluded police in multiple states while raising concern about their increasingly bold behavior.

    Authorities said the U.S. Marshal's Service and local law enforcement in Panama City Beach at around 11:25 p.m. Saturday discovered Hayes and Phillips asleep in a 2001 Toyota Tundra that was stolen in Georgia. The vehicle in the parking lot of Kirkland's, 15600 Panama City Beach Parkway, was surrounded by law enforcement and both Hayes and Phillips were taken into custody. Authorities plan to extradite Hayes and Phillips back to Kentucky where they are expected to face felony charges.

    According to Bay County Jail records, Hayes was held Sunday on a charge of custodial interference. He is scheduled for a first court appearance at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

    Florida's Department of Children & Families was called to assist Panama City Beach Police, but Phillips was not in the state's custody, said DaMonica Rivas, a DCF spokeswoman.

    "The juvenile has been taken to a safe location until arrangements with the family are made," Rivas said.

    Hayes and Phillips began their run from the law and their families earlier this month when they vanished from their small hometown in western Kentucky. Authorities believe their travels took them to South Carolina and Georgia.

    Hayes' mother, Tammy Martin, had urged her son and his companion to surrender and "face the consequences."

    Martin said the couple had been dating for about three months. She said the girl portrayed herself as being 19, and the family, including Hayes, believed her.

    Cheyenne "would go in and write checks, and she would come out with cigarettes and stuff, so I didn't have any reason not to believe she wasn't 19," Martin said. "Because normally you can't buy cigarettes when you're 13 years old.

    By the time her son realized she was a mere 13, "he was already done in love with her," Martin said.

    When he hit the road, Hayes was running away from trouble back home. He faces burglary and theft charges in his home county, stemming from an arrest late last year, according to Grayson County court records.

    He was planning to be at the local judicial center on Jan. 5 to find out if a grand jury had indicted him on the charges, his mother said. His case did not come up, but by that time the teens were gone.

    Norman Chaffins, sheriff in Grayson County, Kentucky, where the pair disappeared 14 days ago, said the couple's behavior had become "increasingly brazen and dangerous."

    Twice, the teens were able to evade law officers in Kentucky, the sheriff said. They crashed the first truck they stole and hid in the woods. Then they later stole another truck nearby, Chaffins said.

    At one point, the two were spotted at a Wal-Mart in South Carolina, where the teens are thought to have passed two stolen checks, said Manning, South Carolina, Police Chief Blair Shaffer.

    Authorities believe they then headed to Georgia and stole a pickup truck from the driveway of a man's home, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Atlanta. The homeowner said he kept two handguns inside the vehicle that was stolen, Henry County police Lt. Joey Smith said.


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    PANAMA CITY — A Panama City woman has been arrested after she allegedly struck her 73-year-old, wheelchair-bound mother in face numerous times, according to police reports.

    Dominic Six, 48, was arrested Monday after Panama City Police responded to her 12th Court home to perform a welfare check on her mother. When officers contacted the wheelchair-bound mother, her face was scattered with blood and red marks, according to police reports.

    When police asked the mother what happened, she told them her daughter had grabbed her hair and punched her in the face several times. The mother was able to escape the altercation by driving away in her wheelchair, police said.

    Six was “hiding in her bed with her shoes on” when the officers entered her room, police reported.

    “I would never hit her,” Six responded when asked what happened to her mother’s face.

    She appeared to be intoxicated, police said.

    “She had trouble comprehending the idea that I was arresting her for domestic battery on a handicapped elderly person,” the officer reported. “Ms. Six asked me four times what and why she was being arrested. Each time I answered.”

    Six was taken to Bay County jail on charges of domestic battery on an elderly, handicapped person. At the jail, Six submitted to a breath test for alcohol. The results came back with a blood-alcohol content of 0.16, twice the legal limit to operate a vehicle.

    Six’s response to the result was: “Well, I was not driving,” she said.


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    PANAMA CITY (AP) — The drama surrounding two teenage sweethearts on the run from the law ended quietly and unceremoniously in a Florida beach town.

    Dalton Hayes, an 18-year-old suspected of committing a string of crimes with his 13-year-old girlfriend, agreed during a quick Monday morning court hearing to return to his home state of Kentucky to face charges.

    Hayes and his girlfriend Cheyenne Phillips were arrested early Sunday in Panama City Beach by the U.S. Marshal's Service and local police after being found sleeping in a stolen vehicle.

    During a first appearance hearing Bay County Judge Shane Vann said “here's the deal” to Hayes: He could agree to return to Kentucky, or stay in jail while authorities went through a formal extradition process.

    “I'll sign the papers so I can go back to Kentucky,” Hayes said during the brief proceeding held via a video link-up between the Bay County Jail and the Bay County Courthouse. Hayes appeared fidgety during the start of the brief hearing, but responded quickly to Vann. He signed his paperwork while Vann watched and then was taken out of view back into the jail.

    The saga of both Hayes and Phillips had attracted national attention after the two sweethearts disappeared and worked their way to the Gulf of Mexico.

    The couple allegedly began their run from the law and their families earlier this month when they vanished from their small hometown in western Kentucky. Authorities believe their travels took them to South Carolina and Georgia before they ended up in Panama City Beach.

    Hayes’ mother, Tammy Martin, had urged her son and his companion to surrender and “face the consequences.”

    Authorities said Hayes is expected to be charged with burglary, theft, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief.

    Phillips will face charges in juvenile court because she is a minor. Florida's Department of Children & Families was called to assist Panama City Beach Police, but Phillips was not in the state's custody, said DaMonica Rivas, a DCF spokeswoman. “The juvenile has been taken to a safe location until arrangements with the family are made,” Rivas said Sunday.

    Martin said the couple had been dating for about three months. She said the girl portrayed herself as being 19, and the family, including Hayes, believed her.

    The girl “would go in and write checks, and she would come out with cigarettes and stuff, so I didn't have any reason not to believe she wasn't 19,” Martin said.

    By the time her son realized she was a mere 13, “he was already done in love with her,” Martin said.

    When he hit the road, Hayes was running away from trouble back home. He faces burglary and theft charges in his home county, stemming from an arrest late last year, according to court records in Grayson County, Kentucky.

    He was planning to be at the local judicial center Jan. 5 to find out if a grand jury had indicted him on the charges, his mother said. His case did not come up, but by that time the teens were gone.


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    PANAMA CITY BEACH — A contract has been awarded for improvements to Alf Coleman Road that are expected to be done by Spring Break.

    The City Council has awarded the $190,155 contract to GAC Contractors and a $5,000 contingency fund to resurface the road, build new sidewalks and extend a left turn lane.

    “Most of the road has all kind of deterioration, sediment cracks,” said Community Redevelopment Area Manager John Alaghemand.

    The project involves extending the left turn lane from Alf Coleman onto Hutchinson Boulevard by 150 feet.

    That will help traffic move through the busy road, Alaghemand said.

    “It will provide more storage for the left turn lane,” he said, adding that traffic backs up when there when a lot of cars are trying to turn. “By extending it, it will allow more stacking for the left turn, and also obviously by doing that you are separating the through traffic. That would improve the operation of the intersection.”

    Currently, the sidewalk ends abruptly in front of Stone Harbor Apartments.

    The work, which is expected to be completed by March, will involve building a sidewalk on that eastern side of the two-lane road from Back Beach Road to Hutchinson Boulevard, Alaghemand said.

    Donna Menchaca, the manager of Stone Harbor Apartments, said the improvements are “awesome,” and she hopes they help drainage, which is a serious problem there.

    She said the new sidewalk is particularly good news in the wake of a fatal pedestrian accident last year near the entrance to the complex.

    In July, 21-year-old Yuxin Gou of Panama City Beach was walking along the edge of Alf Coleman Road when he was struck and killed. The Florida Highway Patrol said Justin Charles Krupa, 35, Panama City Beach , was driving southbound on Alf Coleman Road when the front passenger-side corner of his 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe struck Gou.

    “As long as I’ve been here they have needed to do something with the road,” said Menchaca, who has been manager for three years. “It is extremely dangerous.”

    A sidewalk is not planned initially to be built on the western side of the street where Gou was killed, but it is in the plans for a four-laning project of the road that is associated with the Panama City Beach Community Redevelopment Agency’s ongoing improvements to Front Beach Road and feeder streets.

    “Eventually, (Alf Coleman) will be four-laned,” Alaghemand said. “I’d call this current project a ‘temporary improvement’ until we do the actual four-lane improvements similar to Richard Jackson Boulevard. Like other CRA projects, Alf Coleman will have sidewalks on both sides, underground utilities, street lighting.”

    He couldn’t give a timeframe for the four-laning project on Alf Coleman to begin.

    “I can’t do that at this time because of the funding constraints,” Alaghemand said. “It is not at the top of our list, per se. We’re focusing more on Front Beach Road at this time,but we’ll eventually do that as well. We’ve acquired some right of way for that project and the design on that is also 70 percent complete.”


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    MARIANNA — A 72-year-old Marianna man was found dead in his home Monday, and Marianna Police say there is evidence of foul play.

    The man was identified as David Tinsley, according to information released by the Marianna Police Department.

    The investigation began when police received a 911 call in reference to a possible dead person at 4264 Graham St., which is Tinsley’s residence. When they arrived, officers discovered Tinsley deceased and evidence indicating foul play.

    Investigators did not release further information on the evidence.

    Police officials are asking anyone with any information regarding the death of Tinsley to call the MPD at (850) 526-3125 or Chipola CrimeStoppers at (850) 526-5000 to remain anonymous and possibly receive a reward.


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    PANAMA CITY — A Kentucky teenager charged with taking his 13-year-old girlfriend on a car-snatching spree said he regretted not just paying for a bus ticket instead.

    Dalton Hayes, 18, was being held without bond Monday in the Bay County Jail as a fugitive from justice. Authorities arrested him and his 13-year-old girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, late Saturday night after an alleged crime spree of stolen vehicles and pilfered checks. Hayes awaited extradition to Leitchfield, Ky., to face a litany of charges after a series of near run-ins with law enforcement, according to jail officials.

    During a jailhouse interview with The News Herald on Monday, Hayes said the couple set out initially to get away from his girlfriend’s family — not as an attempt to emulate one of the most famous fugitive couples in American history, Bonnie and Clyde.

    --- DOCUMENT: ARREST REPORT»»

    “It ain’t like we were killing cops and robbing stores,” Hayes said of the comparison to Bonnie and Clyde. “We just went on a few high-speed chases.”

    However, the allegedly law-breaking sweethearts received the designation from numerous media outlets as news of their exploits spread nationally.

    The couple’s capture began about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night when authorities descended on a stolen silver 2001 Toyota Tacoma, according to Panama City Beach Police Department records. Hayes and Phillips were sleeping inside the truck, which was parked in front of the Kirkland’s at Pier Park off U.S. 98, police reported.

    Spotted: Earlier that afternoon, local residents spotted the couple shopping at nearby retailers. Steve Colford was one of the first to recognize the young fugitives from stories circulating on the Internet, so he alerted police to their whereabouts.

    Colford still wasn’t positive it was them. The two looked identical to released pictures, but the pink and brown boots Phillips wore in one of the pictures — the exact same as the girl exiting Target at Pier Park — was the tipoff for the Navy dive instructor, he said.

    “I questioned it and kept looking at the picture, but it kind of made sense,” Colford said. “If I was teenager on the run, I’d come to Panama City Beach.”

    Police confirmed Colford’s suspicions and moved into place by about 11:30 p.m. Saturday before springing their trap. Hayes was taken to the Bay County Jail without incident, while Phillips was placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families to be taken to back to Kentucky.

    During a brief hearing Monday, Hayes signed paperwork clearing the way for his return to Kentucky.

    Hayes speaks out: Hayes and Phillips began their run from the law and their families earlier this month when they vanished from their small hometown in western Kentucky. Hayes said their nearly two weeks on the lam took them to South Carolina, Georgia and included a night of trying to camp out in a frigid barn before heading for warmer climates.

    The plan was to make it to Miami, he said. That’s as far ahead as the two plotted their course.

    When he hit the road, Hayes was running away from trouble back home. He faces burglary and theft charges in his home county, stemming from an arrest late last year, according to Grayson County, Kentucky, court records. Phillips was running from an abusive relative, Hayes said.

    “I couldn’t set her out to fend on her own,” he said.

    Twice, the teens were able to evade law officers in Kentucky, officials said. They crashed the first truck they stole and hid in the woods. The two were able to get another vehicle and successfully outmaneuvered law enforcement during their first high-speed pursuit in South Carolina, Hayes said.

    Authorities believe they then headed to Georgia and stole a pickup truck from the driveway of a man’s home, about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta. The homeowner said he kept two handguns inside the vehicle that was stolen, according to police reports.

    --- DOCUMENT: ARREST REPORT»»

    However, Hayes said the two never intended to hurt anyone.

    Hayes said he was unaware of Phillips’ young age until days before they set out, and, though he mostly attributed her will to leave as the initiation of the crime spree, Hayes said he wouldn’t change most parts of that plan.

    “All I had to do was tell her to go home and none of this would’ve happened, but it’s hard to tell someone getting beat on to go home,” Hayes said. “I’d do that the same. … But, if I could go back, I’d be paying for bus rides instead of stealing trucks.”


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    WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Police say a woman took a cab to and from a convenience store robbery and left her 1-year-old daughter in the vehicle during the crime.

    Delaware State Police say the robbery happened about 3:25 a.m. Tuesday at a Wawa in Wilmington. Troopers say a woman indicated she had a handgun and demanded money from a clerk.

    Police say the clerk gave the woman money, and the suspect fled in a yellow minivan cab. Officers found the taxi and the driver, who did not know what had happened in the Wawa. The driver told police where he had dropped the woman off.

    Troopers arrested 29-year-old Amanda Paoletti. Police say her 1-year-old daughter had been in the cab during the robbery.

    Paoletti was charged with robbery and endangering the welfare of a child.


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    MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A man says enjoying a double quarter-pounder with cheese as he cruised down a highway outside Atlanta got him in trouble with the law — and a ticket for eating while driving.

    Madison Turner of Alabama told WSB-TV that the officer told him three times: “You can't just go down the road eating a hamburger.” He was ticketed for violating Georgia's distracted driving law; Turner said the officer told him he had been eating the McDonald's burger for about 2 miles.

    “Maybe I was enjoying the burger too much; I needed to tone it down. I was certainly willing to do so, but I didn't expect to be fined or punished,” Turner told the Atlanta station.

    In an email to The Associated Press early Tuesday, Cobb County police spokesman Mike Bowman said the department would not comment about the case.

    William Head, a longtime traffic lawyer who is not representing Turner, said he doesn't recall seeing a case quite like this one.

    Georgia's distracted driver law does not mention food. It says only that drivers can't engage in actions that distract them from operating a vehicle safely.

    “Maybe if you had a giant pizza in both hands and you weren't holding the wheel, or maybe if you had a watermelon - half watermelon - and you were just diving into it holding it with both hands, maybe that would be something,” Head said.


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    PANAMA CITY — Authorities in Miami-Dade County are searching for a “missing endangered adult” with ties to Bay County who has been missing for two weeks.

    Nicol Spann, 33, was last seen leaving his residence at the Spring Lake Condos on Jan. 6. He is 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 250 pounds and has blue eyes and dark blonde, curly, medium-length hair. He also has a “scraggily beard,” according to family members, and was last seen driving a 2014 red Jeep Compass with a dent on the driver’s side door.

    Nicol Spann is the son of Bay County businessman Bill Spann. The elder Spann also was a longtime chairman of the Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament. Bill Spann said his son had just returned to Miami to continue his teaching career at Florida International University.

    “It’s very unusual,” Bill Spann said. “He left his dog, which is his best friend, and didn’t take anything with him. We have no way of knowing why or where he is, but his mother and I are doing all we can to find our son.”

    The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has been asked to aid in the search in any way possible, public information officer Ruth Corley said Tuesday.

    Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Nicol Spann are asked to call BCSO at 850-747-4700 or the Miami-Dade Special Victims Bureau Missing Persons Squad at 305-418-7200.


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    PANAMA CITY — Authorities have released the name of a pedestrian who suffered “incapacitating” injuries after being struck while walking along U.S. 231 Friday night, according to Florida Highway Patrol reports.

    Le Junior Nguyen, 38, was driving a 2005 Toyota Tacoma north on U.S. 231 at 7:37 p.m. Friday when a dark colored SUV allegedly began to swerve into his lane. Le said the vehicle apparently did not see him. To keep from getting hit, Le swerved over the fog line and off the roadway just north of East Avenue, FHP reported.

    Michael David Slay, 44, was now directly in the path of the truck, walking north along U.S. 231, officers said. The truck collided with Slay, projecting him onto the grass shoulder.

    Slay was rushed by EMS to the hospital in serious condition, FHP reported.

    The dark colored vehicle that changed lanes did not remain at the scene, and its whereabouts are unknown, FHP said.

    Le has not been charged, however FHP is currently performing a preliminary traffic homicide investigation, officers reported.


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    FOUNTAIN — Officers arrested and charged a 75-year-old Fountain man who allegedly fired several shots at a deputy, according to court records.

    Richard Emerson Polous was arrested early Monday after an alleged standoff with a Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputy, according to BCSO arrest records.

    Deputy Jeremy Head responded Monday at about 4:30 a.m. to a call that Polous was firing a handgun in a reckless manner and attempting to break into his ex-wife’s home. When Head arrived at Polous’ residence at 19735 U.S. 231, he heard three gunshots come from the front yard.

    “They sounded like they were aimed in my direction,” Head reported.

    Head had a history with Polous, according to his report. Head said Polous had threatened him three times in the past. So, once the sound of gunfire echoed from the residence, Head took up post in the woods about 30 feet from the home, he reported.

    “Once there, I could not see (Polous), so I called out identifying myself and commanding (Polous) show himself and lay the gun down,” Head wrote.

    Head then heard a single shot ring out from the home. The bullet struck a tree mere feet away from the head of the deputy, Head reported.

    After additional officers arrived just before 5 a.m., Polous came out from where the gunfire sounded. He also had a handgun in his possession, according to his arrest report.

    “I knew it was you, Deputy Head,” officers reported that Polous said after coming out. “That’s why I shot.”

    Polous was charges with aggravated assault on an officer, discharging a firearm in public and improper exhibition of a firearm.


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    PANAMA CITY — A federal lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was falsely arrested by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office after not participating as a confidential informant is headed toward trial.

    In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, 62-year-old Richard Lee Mullinax claims he was falsely arrested and denied medical care after violating an alleged agreement that he would act as confidential informant for BCSO. Mullinax named Sheriff Frank McKeithen, former Gulf County Sheriff Joe Nugent and BCSO investigator Douglas Smith as defendants in the case.

    Following Tuesday’s pretrial hearing, the trial will proceed as scheduled.

    BCSO Maj. Tommy Ford declined to comment on the pending lawsuit. However, BCSO will present “the other side of the story” during trial, Ford said.

    “We strongly disagree with the accusations made in the lawsuit and will vigorously defend our actions in court,” Ford added.

    Mullinax, a Gulf County resident, is asking jurors for damages equal to the “mental and emotional distress, impairment of reputation, personal humiliation” and any related harm caused by being re-arrested in Bay County for a June 2010 narcotics charge. Mullinax pleaded no contest to the initial narcotics charge and was placed on probation, according to Bay County Court documents.

    During the probation, Mullinax alleged he and BCSO agreed — though not expressly — to a 60-day medical furlough for Mullinax before he served 18 months of probation. Mullinax said he was supposed to act as a confidential informant during that time, according to the lawsuit.

    However, after he was released, Mullinax went to Wewahitchka to seek treatment and allegedly suffered a nervous breakdown. Medical professionals suggested Mullinax “Baker Act” himself and seek mental counseling, but instead of going to a mental hospital, Mullinax checked himself into a local hospital.

    Mullinax alleged that’s when Nugent, upset he was back in Gulf County, contacted McKeithen and suggested Mullinax be taken back into custody, according to the lawsuit.

    “McKeithen and Smith were dissatisfied with (Mullinax) because of his inability to work as a confidential informant because of his medical condition,” the lawsuit states. They “were motivated to seek revocation of the furlough because of such dissatisfaction and because of the influence of Nugent.”

    Mullinax was arrested on a violation of probation. He remained in custody and then served 18 months in prison.

    He claimed the officers acted with indifference to his medical condition and withheld the much needed medical care of the furlough by taking Mullinax back into custody “despite no cause to do so, and without an arrest warrant or other legal process to do so,” the lawsuit alleges.

    A jury trial date is scheduled for Jan. 28, according to federal court records.


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    LYNN HAVEN — Police are searching for a man who allegedly held up a woman at gunpoint around noon Tuesday in the Wal-Mart parking lot, according to a Lynn Haven Police Department press release.

    The female victim told police she was loading groceries into her vehicle on the south side of the parking lot when she was approached by a white male who pointed a gun at her and demanded cash. After she gave him all her available money, the man demanded she take him to the bank where she was ordered to withdraw more, LHPD reported.

    The suspect then drove her back to Wal-Mart where he left her in her vehicle, police said.

    LHPD believes the suspect got into an older model, red, compact two-door truck. He is depicted in bank photographs and is described as a white male, mid to late 40s, 5-foot-7 with a slender build and short, dirty blonde hair.

    Anyone with information concerning the incident is encouraged to call LHPD or Crime Stoppers at (850) 785-TIPS.


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    CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A 16-year-old fatally stabbed a fellow student because he was upset about a Snapchat message sent to his girlfriend, according to police.

    Matthew Joseph Fischer, 16, of Mount Pleasant was visiting his girlfriend's home in an upscale subdivision in the bedroom community just outside Charleston on Sunday when he saw a message from Lucas Cavanaugh, 17, on her iPod, detectives said. The message was sent through Snapchat, a photo-and-text app on which messages are visible for only a brief time.

    The message angered Fischer, according to an arrest affidavit. Officials have not released details about the content of the message.

    “The defendant took the iPod and contacted the victim. Words were exchanged at which point the defendant told the victim ‘Come over ‘and ‘I'll kill you man,’” the affidavit said.

    Cavanaugh, of nearby Sullivans Islands, came to the girl's house, and the two fought, authorities said.

    “During the altercation, the defendant produced a knife from his right pant pocket and proceeded to stab the victim in the torso, resulting in death,” the affidavit said.

    An incident report released by police Tuesday describes how an officer responding to the scene found Cavanaugh lying in the middle of the street with a stomach wound and two women sitting near him.

    One of the women brought the officer a knife and identified it as the weapon, according to the report. The woman said a youth had come to her house with a bloody knife shortly after the incident, dropped the knife and run off.

    Fischer was later arrested at the scene while sitting in his mother's car, authorities said.

    Fischer is charged as an adult with murder and possession of a knife during. He was denied bond Monday.

    He and Cavanaugh attended Wando High School.

    “This is just a tragedy for the entire Wando community and the families involved,” Fischer's attorney, Peter David Brown, said at the bond hearing, The Post and Courier reported.


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    SNEADS — Two more men have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery more than two months ago, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.

    During a home invasion in November, three masked males forced their way into a Nobles Road residence near Sneads, striking the occupants in the head with pistols. The intruders took firearms and other items and fled.

    Authorities said they found guns identified with the robbery within the homes of each of those arrested, JCSO reported.

    Sharone Deonta McMillian, 21, and his cousin, Devantaye Montrelle Bailey, 21, both of Sneads, were arrested on Jan. 5. McMillian was charged with principal to home invasion armed robbery, principal to aggravated battery with a firearm and principal to false imprisonment. Bailey was charged with home invasion armed robbery, aggravated battery with a firearm and false imprisonment.

    Two additional suspects arrested Friday were identified as Dezmond Dejohn Bolden, 25, and Savon Kwontrevius Jones, 19. Both were arrested on charges of home invasion armed robbery, aggravated battery with a firearm and false imprisonment at their homes in Chattahoochee. Jones, who was found located hiding inside an apartment, also was arrested for resisting arrest without violence.


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  • 01/21/15--14:12: Man convicted of burglary
  • PANAMA CITY — Jurors have found a Panama City Beach man guilty of breaking into a home and car theft, and he could face up to 15 years in prison for the crime, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

    Darrin Lee Carmichael, 28, was convicted Wednesday of burglarizing a Panama City Beach home and stealing a truck. Assistant State Attorney Barbara Beasley told jurors in her closing argument at the end of the one-day trial that Carmichael, of Panama City Beach, entered the residence of Robert Crutchfield the morning of Aug. 10 when no one was home.

    However, Carmichael took the keys to Crutchfield’s Ford F-150 and left after being confronted by the homeowners. Later that day, Crutchfield saw Carmichael drive past his house in the truck. Crutchfield and a friend were able to follow the truck and call deputies to make the arrest.

    Carmichael was found guilty as charged of burglary of an occupied dwelling and grand theft auto by jurors. It wasn’t the first time he’d been sentenced to prison. Carmichael was released from the Department of Corrections on Nov. 30, 2012, after serving time for a 2007 burglary and 2009 drug possession convictions.

    Sentencing is March 2.


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    PANAMA CITY BEACH — Authorities announced Wednesday the arrests of several people allegedly involved in door-to-door vacuum sales which were followed by burglaries, according to a Bay County Sheriff’s Office news release.

    The most recent arrests occurred Saturday in Panama City Beach. BCSO deputies arrested Victoria Conway, 24, and Aaron Alexander, 31, both of Indiana, as they allegedly broke into a vehicle in the area where they were attempting to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door, BCSO reported.

    About a month earlier, on Dec. 15, deputies arrested Jonathan Taylor, 21, of Panama City, and Michael Perdomo, 23, of Lynn Haven. Investigators arrested the two in the Youngstown area after they allegedly entered a home in a neighborhood where they were trying to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door.

    BCSO’s release included a reminder that everyone secure their homes and vehicles, and report suspicious persons or activity to law enforcement.


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    MARIANNA — A Marianna man has died after seven months of being comatose from a three-wheeler crash, according to officials.

    Gerald Handy Smith, 39, was taken to the Miller County Hospital in Georgia following a June 21 three-wheeler accident in Marianna. Smith remained in the Georgia hospital until he died Monday.

    Smith was riding a 2001 Honda 400ex ATV east on Sunset Drive near Hall Street in Marianna at about 8:30 p.m. on June 21 when the crash happened, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. The light had diminished greatly in the area by that time and Smith, according to the crash report, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, officers reported.

    Officers said Smith was operating the ATV in a careless manner when he attempted to negotiate a curve and ran off the roadway going about 50 mph. Smith first struck a tree with the right front axle of the ATV, sending him and the three-wheeler airborne.

    “From the evidence at the scene, the ATV and driver went airborne,” officers wrote in the crash report. “The driver landed 20 feet from the initial impact while the ATV struck another tree with enough force to leave an imprint of the rim on the tree approximately 6 feet off the ground.”

    The ATV then landed on top of Smith, causing serious injuries to his chest, FHP reported. He was stabilized and taken to an area hospital but would not recover from his injuries.

    Smith was not wearing a helmet, eye protection or any other restraints at the time of the crash, officers reported.

    Funeral services for Smith are scheduled today at 11 a.m. in the M. Sue Rodney Pittman Memorial Chapel in Graceville. He will be buried at Orange Hill Cemetery in Marianna afterward.


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    PANAMA CITY— The Bay County Sheriff's Office is investigating the fraudulent use of a person's credit card information, according to a news release.

    On Jan. 11, a woman discovered that someone had attempted to use her credit card information without her knowledge or permission.  Further investigation revealed that a man attempted to use the credit card information to conduct a $503.95 transaction at a local grocery store. Because the victim still had the credit card in her possession, it is believed that the suspects encoded a card with the victim's credit card information and used the fraudulent card to conduct transactions., BCSO said.

    --- VIDEO: SUSPECT AND HIS COMPANION»»

    The suspect is described as being a short black male in his 30s who was last seen wearing a brown jacket, dark shirt and jeans.  He was accompanied by another black male who appeared to be in his 30s as well and wearing a black long-sleeve T-shirt, black pants, glasses and large necklace, officials reported.

    Anyone who has any contact with either of these individuals is asked to contact law enforcement immediately. Anyone who knows the identities of these individuals or has information about the case is asked to contact Investigator Craig Romans of BCSO by telephone at (850) 248-2075 or by email atcraig.romans@bayso.org.


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    MARIANNA — Questions linger in the brutal homicide of a 72-year-old Marianna man, according to officials with the Marianna Police Department.

    The body of David Tinsley, 72, was discovered by his brother Monday inside Tinsley’s Graham Street home with signs of foul play. As evidence is processed from the scene for traces of DNA, investigators are piecing together a timeline of Tinsley’s activities and tracking down leads in the case of a small-town mystery, according to officials.

    And, though officials want to keep details of the crime scene between authorities, the perpetrator and his deceased victim, Marianna Police Chief Hayes Baggett said it is safe to assume Tinsley met his demise at another’s hand.

    “It was an obvious murder scene,” Baggett said. “He died a traumatic death.”

    Police officers responded to the call at about 10:40 a.m. Monday and determined foul play was involved after observing the scene. Baggett said investigators believe the motive was to rob Tinsley, which could be tied to someone within the community.

    “It’s not a random act,” Baggett said. “It ain’t like someone was passing through and decided to rob him. Someone knew his habits, and they tried to capitalize on them.”

    However, Tinsley was a friend to many in the community, Baggett said.

    So far, authorities have not released the names of specific persons of interest, but investigators are awaiting the return of DNA evidence from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    “Whoever done that to that old man needs to be in jail,” Baggett said.

    The Marianna Police Department is asking the community for any information regarding the death of Tinsley to call the Police Department at 850-526-3125 or Chipola CrimeStoppers at 850-526-5000 to remain anonymous and possibly receive a reward.


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