Articles on this Page
- 02/11/15--14:03: _Deputies: Former Ba...
- 02/11/15--16:12: _EDA, FDOT discuss r...
- 02/11/15--16:15: _Charges dismissed a...
- 02/11/15--16:16: _BCSO: Man charged w...
- 02/11/15--16:18: _Child injured when ...
- 02/12/15--12:16: _Man dies in police ...
- 02/12/15--15:23: _Car with 11-year-ol...
- 02/12/15--17:09: _Former pastor sente...
- 02/12/15--17:22: _Man found guilty of...
- 02/13/15--08:17: _Facebook post spark...
- 02/13/15--14:22: _Juveniles accused o...
- 02/13/15--15:00: _Men charged with he...
- 02/13/15--16:06: _University system t...
- 02/13/15--16:07: _Arrested Vernon tea...
- 02/13/15--16:09: _9 injured in crash;...
- 02/13/15--16:19: _Man charged after v...
- 02/14/15--12:30: _Teen back in jail o...
- 02/14/15--14:16: _BCSO arrest log (Fe...
- 02/15/15--16:10: _Taxi driver's kidna...
- 02/16/15--12:51: _Industry associatio...
- 02/11/15--14:03: Deputies: Former Bay County man collected terabyte of child porn
- 02/11/15--16:12: EDA, FDOT discuss roadway projects
- 02/11/15--16:15: Charges dismissed against woman who shot at snake
- 02/11/15--16:16: BCSO: Man charged with hiring killer in Springfield murder
- 02/11/15--16:18: Child injured when vehicle crashes through fence
- 02/12/15--12:16: Man dies in police custody
- 02/12/15--15:23: Car with 11-year-old inside crashes after chase
- 02/12/15--17:09: Former pastor sentenced to probation
- 02/12/15--17:22: Man found guilty of threatening officer
- 02/13/15--08:17: Facebook post sparks investigation of alleged equestrian abuse
- 02/13/15--14:22: Juveniles accused of running child porn Instagram account
- 02/13/15--15:00: Men charged with heroin trafficking
- 02/13/15--16:06: University system takes aim at guns on campus
- 02/13/15--16:07: Arrested Vernon teacher will return to classroom
- 02/13/15--16:09: 9 injured in crash; driver charged with DUI
- 02/13/15--16:19: Man charged after viewing ex-girlfriend on planted camera
- 02/14/15--12:30: Teen back in jail on robbery charge
- 02/14/15--14:16: BCSO arrest log (Feb. 4-11)
- 02/15/15--16:10: Taxi driver's kidnapping, sexual battery trial set
- 02/16/15--12:51: Industry association hosting Spring Break workshop
SILVER SPRINGS — Following an undercover Internet investigation, Marion County sheriff's deputies say they have discovered a former Bay County man's huge collection of child pornography.
Now investigators hope any possible victims of the suspect will come forward.
Robert Earl Toole, 50, of 3433 NE 56th Ave. in Silver Springs, was jailed Tuesday on 20 counts of possession of child pornography, according to an arrest affidavit by Sgt. Michael Dodd. Those charges relate to just 20 videos among 1 terabyte — 1,000 gigabytes — of child porn and child erotica that investigators reported finding on hard drives found at his home.
When interviewed in a patrol car, Toole admitted possessing child porn that he collected through peer-to-peer sharing programs, according to the affidavit. He said he had been collecting it for years and offered to show the detective his stash.
It was on two hard drives in his bedroom, the affidavit states. Dodd said some of the images and videos depicting sexual abuse and voyeurism appeared to be homemade and Toole admitted making them.
In addition to the child porn charges, Toole was arrested on one count of possession of marijuana over 20 grams and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
He is being held in the Marion County Jail in lieu of $406,000 bond.
The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information about Toole — or with information about possible victims — to call Dodd at 369-3535 or Crime Stoppers at 368-STOP.
PANAMA CITY — With several major Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) projects underway in Bay County, local leaders expressed fear Wednesday that some long-range plans could be put on the backburner as a new slate of freshmen legislators takes office.
Jason Peters, director of transportation development for FDOT’s Northwest Florida office, spoke at the Bay County Economic Development Alliance’s (EDA) investors meeting, outlining several multimillion-dollar roadway projects prepping for construction in the area. The most significant projects include a $75 million project to construct a flyover at the intersection of U.S. 98 and 23rd Street in Panama City, and a roadway expansion project moving State 390 from two to six lanes.
Peters also looked toward the future, relaying several projects moving down the pipeline with feasibility and environmental studies underway. The department is now in the plan development stages for a project to widen State 388, formerly County 388, between State 79 and State 77 from two to four lanes, and is conducting a study to explore the feasibility of moving U.S. 231 from four to six lanes between U.S. 98 and State 20.
Other efforts outside of Bay County include moving several of the Panhandle’s north-south corridors from two to four lanes to provide better access to Interstate 10.
“Basically from [U.S.] 231 back to the west, all of our north-south corridors are either under construction ... for four lanes or will soon be under construction for four lanes,” Peters said. “As a transportation agency, and as we all should be, we should always be looking down the road for what’s next.”
However, Andrew Levy, EDA member and chairman of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce, relayed skepticism about future funding opportunities stemming from a recent delegation meeting with Bay County’s new representatives and state agency officials in Tallahassee.
“We’ve been extremely successful in securing funding over the last several years,” Levy said. “Our delegation in Tallahassee was extremely skeptical ... that we’re going to be seeing transportation money in the future for a lot of these long-range projects.”
Levy encouraged EDA members to keep the area’s long-term transportation plans in focus in conjunction with FDOT and the Bay County Transportation Planning Organization as the Legislature moves toward a new session.
“We kind of had a perfect storm with the way our legislative delegation was structured and the focus that they had on these funds; they were pretty clear we may not have that going forward,” he said. “As a community, with the growth we already have teed up, to continue that growth we’re really going to have to coordinate together to get that funding in the future.”
Levy’s comments were echoed by Lynn Haven Mayor Walter Kelly, Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier and Jorge Gonzalez, senior vice president of the St. Joe Co.
“For this group, I don’t think there’s a more strategic partner than the FDOT,” Gonzalez said, describing the lobby for state transportation funds as an extremely competitive sport. “Infrastructure, when you really look at it, is the key to economic development.”
PANAMA CITY — Charges have been dropped against a woman accused of firing a gun at a snake on school grounds, according to court documents.
April Dawn DeMarco, 30, was arrested for discharging a .380-caliber handgun on the practice football field of Bay High School, 300 E. 15th St., during an October practice for the local Pop Warner football team. Demarco said she was trying to protect the children from a moccasin at the time, and the surrounding coaches were ineffective at removing the threat.
Demarco admitted to police that she took a shot at the snake to protect children watching and participating in the practice, herself being a parent, according to PCPD reports. The children were about 20 to 50 yards away when Demarco took one shot at the snake, missing wide. She was later arrested and charged with possessing a firearm on school grounds and discharging the firearm on the campus.
Demarco argued that none of the authority figures present took action to protect the children. Prosecutors agreed Wednesday to drop the gun charges against Demarco. Her combined bond of $3,000 also was released.
SPRINGFIELD — Deputies have arrested a man who allegedly contracted his uncle as a hitman in the shooting death of a Springfield man, according to official reports.
Fredricus Vondell White, 27, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of 29-year-old Cagney Aaron Benson. White has been charged with principal to commit murder after investigators claimed he hired his uncle, Omar Redmon, to perform a hit for nearly $6,000, according to Bay County Sheriff’s Office records.
White allegedly was motivated to kill Benson because Benson recently had robbed him, BCSO reported.
Benson was found in a 2009 Chevy Cobalt on Dec. 18 at about 7:30 a.m. that was parked and not running at an intersection in the Maharaj Mobile Home Park, 518 Everett Ave. Police found Benson shot once in the face and once behind the ear, BCSO reported.
Investigators said the night before Benson was found dead, Benson and two other men robbed White, police said. One witness said Benson put a gun to White’s head and threatened to kill him, but one of the two other men stopped him. Benson then allegedly robbed White of his jewelry, cellphone, money and drugs, investigators reported.
Benson showed up later at Bambi’s Dollhouse, 2915 U.S. Business 98, at about 2:30 a.m. and attempted to sell some marijuana one witness said belonged to White. The witness attempted to call White several times to alert him and eventually received a text message from White stating, “Watch Benson and see what kind of car he gets in,” according to BCSO reports.
Authorities said White then called his uncle with the details. Redmon allegedly drove that night from his home in Luverne, Ala., to Panama City. According to cellphone records, Redmon was near the mobile home park on Everett Avenue. The phone was then turned off for 19 minutes, the period in which officials believe Benson was killed, BCSO said.
Redmon then drove briefly to Callaway before returning to Alabama.
Court records do not indicate Redmon has been extradited to Bay County or charged in connection with the shooting. BCSO could not be reached to comment about Redmon’s status.
White appeared before a Bay County judge Wednesday. His bond was set at $250,000.
PANAMA CITY — A 3-year-old was left with severe facial lacerations Wednesday after a vehicle careened through a fence and into a brick building, according to a Panama City Police Department news release.
An adult female and an infant, also in the car during the crash, were not injured, PCPD said.
Michael Joseph Paprocki, of Lynn Haven, was driving east on 15th Street Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. before the crash. In the 800 block, Paprocki allegedly attempted to pass a slower-moving truck but cut the truck off, striking its front with the rear of his car, sending him and his young passengers through a vinyl fence, hitting a parked vehicle and coming to rest against a brick building owned by the Panama City Public Housing Authority, officers reported.
The 3-year-old female passenger sustained severe lacerations to the face caused by the shards of fencing entering the car upon impact, PCPD said.
Officers on scene provided first aid to the child until EMS arrived and transported her to the Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart emergency room. They later learned that the 3-year-old’s injuries were non-life-threatening.
Paprocki also was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Charges and citations are pending further investigation, PCPD said.
Neither the adult female nor the infant were injured, officers added.
Anyone having witnessed the crash or who has any information in this case is urged to call Officer J. Pauga of the Panama City Police Department Traffic Unit, at 850-872-3100, or they can report their tips anonymously to CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS.
PORT ST. JOE — An as of yet unnamed suspect died last night while in the custody of the Port St. Joe Police Department.
Police have released little information so far.
On Wednesday, the Port St. Joe Police Department arrested a local man and transported him to the station. At 7:39 p.m. ET the man died while in police custody.
The Port St. Joe Police Department requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to investigate the death. FDLE has confirmed it is investigating an officer involved in a shooting but would not release further information regarding the situation surrounding the shooting.
No other details regarding how the suspect came into custody or circumstances of the death have been released by the Port St. Joe Police Department either. Officers were not answering phone calls to the department as of Thursday afternoon.
The investigation is active and ongoing.
GRACEVILLE -- Car with 11-year-old inside crashes after chase
Police have arrested a Graceville man who, after a high-speed pursuit, allegedly allowed the vehicle with an 11-year-old relative inside crash into a ditch, official reported Thursday.
Dave Bernard Bostic Jr., 22, was charged with aggravated fleeing or eluding and neglect of a child Wednesday night.
Graceville Police officers clocked a vehicle driving 55 mph in a posted 25 mph zone on College Street Wednesday at about 10 p.m. As the officer attempted to stop on the vehicle, the driver turned eastbound on State 2 and accelerated to more than 100 mph, according to a news release.
A pursuit ensued, and the vehicle finally turned onto Canniehead Road before it was abandoned rolled down the road, police reported. After the vehicle rolled into a deep ditch and stopped, a pursuing deputy discovered an 11-year-old girl, a relative of Bostic, in the front passenger’s seat. Officers said the child was unharmed.
A short time later Bostic was seen walking away from the area nonchalantly.
A homeowner in the area pointed out that Bostic had kicked in her back door and entered the residence and she identified him as the person walking away from the area. Bostic was detained and placed under arrest. A subsequent check revealed that he had two active warrants for grand theft auto.
The homeowner declined to press charges for him entering her home. However, police arrested him for the warrants and on charges of aggravated fleeing or eluding and neglect of a child.
PANAMA CITY — Prosecutors have abandoned charges that a former Panama City Beach pastor delivered a controlled substance to a minor in an attempt to seduce her, according to court documents.
Also, a related charge of battery against Markus Quin Bishop, 54, was downgraded to a misdemeanor, and he was sentenced Thursday to serve 12 months on probation.
Bishop, former pastor of Faith Christian Family Church in Panama City Beach, was arrested in September after he allegedly provided a 16-year-old girl marijuana in an attempt to intoxicate her before professing his love and kissing her against her will, according to his arrest affidavit. The two were at Bishop’s home alone when he offered marijuana to the minor before suggesting they go swimming, investigators with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office reported.
“The victim/child said she was extremely ‘high’ but agreed,” their report stated.
According to police reports, the minor became uncomfortable with Bishop’s advances in a hot tub and exited, so he suggested they get in the pool. After moving from the hot tub to the pool, Bishop took a flotation device from the minor and placed his hands on her lower back, guiding her around the pool, investigators reported.
Bishop then began kissing the waist area of the minor. She exited the pool in an attempt to get away from Bishop, but he followed. Bishop walked up to her and began kissing her on the mouth against her will, police said.
Prosecutors abandoned charges earlier in the week of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and delivery of controlled substance to minor by an adult.
Prosecutors also downgraded the charge of felony battery to a misdemeanor. In addition to 12 months probation, he was ordered to undergo random drug screenings, according to court documents.
PANAMA CITY — A man facing charges of impersonating a bail bond agent has been convicted of threatening a law enforcement officer with ties to his arrest, state prosecutors announced Thursday.
Christopher Robert Smith, 31, could now face up to 30 years in prison for threatening the officer, according to prosecutors. However, he still faces several counts of acting as an unlicensed bail bondsman and false imprisonment.
Jurors found that Smith approached Stephen O’Brien, an investigator with the Special Investigations Division of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, twice on Sept. 21 in the Dollar General on Cherry Street in Panama City. O’Brien was in the store to buy a battery for a toy belonging to his 4-year-old daughter, who was in the store with O’Brien. Smith threatened to harm O’Brien during the encounters, blocked O’Brien from leaving in his vehicle and took photographs of O’Brien and his car, officials said.
Smith knew O’Brien from a 2012 narcotics investigation, in which O’Brien was a witness. During that investigation, BCSO was called in to assist the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud in a search of Smith’s home. Smith was arrested for allegedly impersonating a bail bondsman, which entailed apprehending two individuals and transporting them to jail, and a variety of drug-related charges, according to court documents.
Charges ranging from trafficking in illegal drugs, possession of steroids and prescription forms, and felon in possession of a firearm were dropped after Smith’s attorney demonstrated BCSO gathered the evidence during what a judge called an “illegal search.” Smith’s attorney argued BCSO requested information on firearms, indicating they had been seized, before the time they received a search warrant for Smith’s home and vehicle.
Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark ruled the officers “conducted an illegal search of (Smith’s) home and vehicle prior to obtaining a consent to search,” but BCSO has said Smith gave verbal and written consent to the search prior to requesting the search warrant.
Smith also claimed BCSO obtained statements from himself and his father, a Panama City Police officer, by allegedly implying no criminal consequences would follow. However, Clark has allowed those statements to be admitted as evidence during Smith’s trial for allegedly acting as an unlicensed bail bondsman.
A trial date has yet to be set on those charges. Smith’s next scheduled court appearance to submit a motion on the active charges is set for the same date as his sentence hearing. Smith could face up to 30 years in prison for threatening the officer when Clark sentences him Feb. 27.
BONIFAY — The Holmes County community was left buzzing after a social media post went viral last week, accusing a Bonifay horse farm of the neglect and abuse of over two dozen horses.
Amy Shepherd of the Marianna-based Hidden Springs Horse Rescue said a quick response was what had in mind when she authored the Feb. 5 Facebook post expressing concern about information she received regarding conditions at Lewis Quarter Horses in Bonifay.
“Last Monday, I received a message from a lady (who went to Lewis Quarter Horses) to look at some horses for sale,” Shepherd said in a phone interview. “She was horrified by what she saw and called the sheriff’s department. They were no help, and she wanted to know if we could help her.”
Shepherd’s post included graphic photos of horses appearing to be in very poor health. One was missing an eye, another had a tumor growing on its face, and others had lesions and appeared underweight. What seemed to grab the most attention was a photo of yet another, lying on its side with blood pooling from its mouth after being euthanized.
The Holmes County Sheriff's Office conducted a welfare check of the property, and three out of the farm's 27 horses were deemed in poor health by inspectors. The Lewises provided feed and medical bills to show a history of the horses' care, however.
The investigation also revealed more information about some of the images posted online, including that the horse with lesions on its side had a persistent infection, despite vet treatment, and that one caused sores on its own chin by rubbing on the barbwire fence in attempt to mate with another horse.
Still, deputies contacted the Humane Society of America and turned the investigation over to the Department of Agriculture.
Shepherd says while her organization doesn’t typically approach a rescue as she did in this case, she feels no remorse for making the Facebook post that spurred the investigation and got the community up in arms.
At press time, Shepherd’s post had received over 1,500 shares and more than 600 comments.
Because the case is still open, the Lewises declined to comment other than to say the farm has been compliant with treatment plans set forth by Department of Agriculture vets.
“I’m just going to let the people doing the investigation figure out who’s doing what wrong,” said Lewis. “It’s all going to come out in the wash.”
PEMBROKE PINES (AP) — Police are asking parents in South Florida to check the online accounts of their children after three teens were accused of creating an Instagram account to solicit and post explicit photos of other minors.
Pembroke Pines police arrested two boys, ages 12 and 13, and a girl, 13, on Thursday, following a 10-week investigation. They face charges of electronic transmission of child pornography.
“The Pembroke Pines Police Department urges the community to pay close attention to their children's online activity,” Sgt. Angela Goodwin said in a news release Thursday. Parents who think their children may have been exploited can contact Pembroke Pines police or any other law enforcement agency.
Police say the social media account encouraged its 500 followers to post nude and sexually explicit photos of minors to “expose” them. The posts included their names and personal information. Many followers posted cruel comments in response to the images.
Sgt. Drew Jacobs told the South Florida Sun Sentinel he didn't know what prompted the investigation, how long the account had been active, or how many young people were exploited.
“All I know is it's multiple,” he said.
Another spokesman, Sgt. Carlos Corretjer, said Friday the investigation is ongoing but no other arrests were imminent. He declined to discuss further details of the case.
Pembroke Pines is a suburb of Fort Lauderdale.
PANAMA CITY — Two local men have been arrested on heroin trafficking charges, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
Shortly after midnight Friday morning, deputies conducted a traffic stop on a truck occupied by Justin Frank White, 32, and Robert Ellison Williamson, 40. A drug detection K-9 alerted to the presence of the odor of illegal narcotics within the vehicle.
A search of White turned up four grams of heroin in a baggie in his pants pocket. Officers found a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the center console of the vehicle.
White, of Panama City Beach, was arrested and charged with trafficking in heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana less than 20 grams. Williamson, also of Panama City Beach, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.
White and Williamson were taken to the Bay County Jail.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s university system wants state lawmakers to holster the idea of allowing guns on campus.
A joint statement from the university system’s Board of Governors, university police chiefs and the 12 public universities expresses opposition to a legislative proposal (SB 176 and HB 4005) that would allow people with concealed-firearms licenses to carry guns at state colleges and universities.
In the statement, the university system said “removing that long-standing protection is contrary to the values we embrace and could create new challenges in our ability to provide a safe and secure learning environment.”
The university system statement, released Thursday, came after the 12 universities expressed opposition to the proposal.
“Florida has long recognized the importance of protecting its students and the environment in which they learn by prohibiting firearms in university facilities,” the statement reads. “The State University System of Florida is similarly committed to the safety and security of all students, which is why university law enforcement officers have received extensive training on how to minimize harm in crisis scenarios.”
The Senate version of the legislation will receive an initial test Monday, when it goes before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Sen. Greg Evers, a Baker Republican who chairs the committee, is sponsoring the bill.
Supporters of the proposal were not surprised by the university system’s stance.
“I find their statement more political that factual,” National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer said in an email Friday.
Erek Culbreath, president of Students for Concealed Carry at Florida State University, said in an email that his group has received “massive, albeit tacit” support from the law-enforcement community.
“With the pro-gun stance of most of Florida’s sheriffs and officers, we know that this is not reflective of the beliefs of most officers,” Culbreath wrote.
FSU has been at the center of much of the debate after an on-campus shooting incident in November left three people wounded. The gunman, an FSU graduate, was killed by police.
FSU President John Thrasher, a Second Amendment proponent, has publicly maintained his opposition to the proposal, reflecting a stance he took when he was a member of the Legislature.
In 2011, then-Sen. Thrasher was able to block a similar measure following the death of FSU student Ashley Cowie.
Cowie, 20, was at a fraternity party when a gun held by another FSU student accidentally discharged, sending a bullet through her chest. Her father, Robert, a Jacksonville resident and friend of Thrasher, traveled to Tallahassee to lobby against the bill, arguing that putting guns in an area where drugs and alcohol are commonly used would make campuses more dangerous.
Culbreath said in the email he doesn’t think the public stance from the university system and campus police chiefs should derail this year’s legislative efforts.
“The facts of the benefits of concealed carry are well known, and this is why we have seen campus carry laws spreading across the country this session, from Texas to Montana,” Culbreath wrote. “The reality is the university leadership in its backward and disproven gun stance is on the wrong side of history.”
The proposal is one of two gun-related measures that will go before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday.
Also up is a second attempt (SB 290) by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, to allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without licenses during times of mandatory emergency evacuations.
Brandes proposed a similar bill last year, but it failed to pass after heavy floor debate on the second-to-last day of the 2014 session.
The Senate guns-on-campus bill must clear four committees to reach the floor. The House version of the guns-on-campus proposal was approved last month by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on a party-line vote, with Democrats opposed. It now awaits an appearance before the Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee.
VERNON — A Washington County school teacher arrested on felony drug charges is slated to return to his Vernon Middle School classroom Feb. 24.
Charges against James Edward Tyre, who entered a pre-trial agreement during his December court appearance, will be dropped if he meets the terms of the six-month agreement, which includes completing a drug counseling program.
Tyre was arrested in Panama City Beach in November after police found him passed out in front of a convenience store, allegedly with controlled substances and paraphernalia. Police said they found clear baggies in Tyre’s pockets and inside his vehicle with the assistance of a police K-9 unit before taking him to jail on the charges. Police also reported finding less than 20 grams marijuana during the search, which is a misdemeanor offense.
According to arrest records, K-9 officer Blitz detected a clear baggie in Tyre’s front pocket containing cocaine, a sunglasses case containing a baggie of marijuana, a glass pipe and Visine; and a cigarette pack with a baggie of marijuana within. Under the driver’s seat, where police found Tyre, Blitz found another baggie with a white powdery residue coating its lining and containing a small amount of marijuana, police reported.
Tyre was first placed on paid — then unpaid leave — from his duties as a teacher at Vernon Middle School with Washington County Superintendent of Schools Joseph Taylor indicating he would recommend the teacher be placed on unpaid leave until Tyre’s next court date.
Taylor could not be reached for comment Friday.
PANAMA CITY — Police have charged a Panama City man with DUI involving serious injury after a 23rd Street crash sent nine people to the hospital, according to court records.
William Wayne Vestal, 28, suffered injuries in the Thursday night crash. He was treated at a local hospital and then booked into the Bay County Jail.
Witnesses told police three vehicles were sitting at the traffic light at the 23rd Street and Wilson Avenue intersection Thursday at about 8 p.m. Vestal, in a 2005 Chevy SUV, was driving east at a high rate of speed, police reported. Without slowing down, Vestal careened into the rear of the line of vehicles, causing a chain reaction of crashes, according to Panama City Police Department reports.
Two of the passengers, a 6-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy, were rushed to a local hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries, officers reported. Their names were not released.
Nine people in total were taken local hospitals for treatment of various injuries. Three of the four cars involved were towed from the scene with damage of a combined $30,000, PCPD reported.
Officers secured Vestal’s car once he was taken to the hospital. During the crash investigation, police allegedly found a plastic container behind the driver’s seat. Inside was a small amount of marijuana and multiple paraphernalia items, police said. On the bottom of the container was a bloody smear of Vestal’s fingerprint.
Officers also said they found an open alcohol container and that the driver refused to submit a blood alcohol test.
Vestal has been charged with a litany of offenses, including DUI involving a crash with serious injuries, possession of less than 20 grams marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, driving with a suspended license and refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test. Police also cited Vestal for driving at excessive speed.
His combined bond was $16,000.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Police have arrested a man on charges he set up a secret camera in his former girlfriend’s home to watch her undress, according to police reports.
Richard Edward Laymon, 40, was arrested Thursday on charges of video voyeurism of a person over 19 years of age.
A former girlfriend of Laymon, of Panama City Beach, called police to report that she believed she was being secretly recorded by Laymon. She said he had installed what she believed to be a fake camera as “deterrent to potential thieves,” police reported.
After several months of the camera being in her room, however, she noticed the “dummy” camera had lights on the back and was plugged into a power source. She realized Laymon routinely knew when she was and was not at home, and also that her computer was picking up a signal from the camera, she told police.
Officers set up a recorded phone call between the former girlfriend and Laymon, when he admitted to installing the camera, but it was live-streaming and not recorded, PCBPD reported.
Officers then brought Laymon to the station for questioning where he allegedly confessed to seeing the girlfriend nude with the camera and also engaged in sexual explicit behavior during numerous viewings. He also told police he used his cellphone to record portions, police said.
Laymon was charged with video voyeurism of a person over 19 years of age for allegedly recording the former girlfriend without her knowledge. A bond of $2,500 was placed on Laymon’s release, and he cannot have contact with the victim.
PANAMA CITY — One teenager from a trio of young Panama City men accused of firing on a crowd and grazing a 16-year-old girl has been re-arrested for armed robbery, according to court documents.
Michael Vernon Porter III, 19, was arrested Wednesday on charges of armed robbery after nearly a month-long investigation by Springfield Police.
Police said Porter and other people approached a man in the 200 block of Claire Avenue on Dec. 17 at about 8:30 p.m. Porter and company allegedly came up from behind the victim, brandishing a firearm. Leveling the gun on the victim, the crew stole an EBT card, Florida identification, a digital camera, $7 and a cellphone, police reported.
Porter has been charged with armed robbery in connection with the incident, but he also faces charges on another firearm offense for which he’d only recently been released from custody while awaiting trial.
Porter is one of a trio of young men to allegedly fire on a crowd of people on Kurze Avenue in September when bullets grazed two people. Porter, Damarius Mimms, 19; and Jakorey Shivers, 19, were arrested in connection with the shooting.
According to their arrest affidavits; Mimms, Porter and Shivers were armed in the 10th Street and Kurze Avenue area on Sept. 21 when they began shooting at citizens in the roadway. A bullet grazed a 16-year-old girl’s hand and an adult man’s leg. Once the three men opened fire, the crowd fled in terror, police reported.
All three were charged with discharging a firearm in public and aggravated assault following the incident. Authorities have yet to disclose a motive in the shooting. Each has entered a plea of not guilty.
Shiver is being held without bond for failing a drug screening in December. Mimms posted a bond of $35,000 Thursday after a Bay County judge denied a bond reduction to “be home to help pay the bills and help keep the household in order,” he wrote the court.
Porter is being held on a $50,000 bond. His alleged accomplices in the December armed robbery were not identified by police reports.
Information is provided by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office on people arrested on charges Feb. 4-11. Those arrested can contact The News Herald if charges are dropped or if they are acquitted. Addresses are those given by the defendant during arrest.
Cristi Nicole Lauderdale, 26, 822 E. 25th St., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Monika Monet (Morales) Yager, 34, 4028 Dalton Drive, Panama City Beach, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Roy Lee Reed, 27, 215 Maine Ave., Panama City, possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Garey Glenn Ramey, 52, 205.5 E. 17th St., Panama City, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Richard Allen Hewett Jr., 29, 801 School Ave., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver
Eric Devon Lewis, 20, 850 Helen Ave., Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Jonothan Bryan Tucker, 38, 101 Cedar Bluff Circle, Southport, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession of weapon of ammunition by felon
Destinee Dawn Crocker, 22, Tallapoosa, Ga., trafficking amphetamines
Tonya Kellie Carroll, 28, 404 W. 18th St., Lynn Haven, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Elliot Mason Frazier, 19, 1721 Illinois Ave., Lynn Haven, possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment,
Treshon Dion Selders, 19, 3614 Lark Lane, Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
John Lee Phagan, 39, 1128 South Gay Ave., Panama City, possession of controlled substance without prescription
David Bradford Porter, 47, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill
David Wayne Walker Jr., 28, Louisville, Tenn., selling methamphetamine, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Alexander Wesley Cook, 19, 120 Treasure Palm Drive, Panama City Beach, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Daisha Lynn Cesena, 33, 230 Wanook Road, Mexico Beach, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Robert Charles House, 42, 287 Sailfish Drive, Port St. Joe, possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession or use of narcotic equipment
William Corey Hardy, 22, Bristow, Okla., grand theft
Tyler Allen Pate, 21, 2529 Phase II Circle, Bonifay, burglary
Tyquese Devon Briggs, 21, 3614 Lark Lane, Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Larry Pickett III, 20, 730 Sasoon Ave., Panama City, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Dana Brian Johnson, 59, Cumberland, R.I., possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment
David Murray, 57, 1432 Washington Drive, Panama City, possession of cocaine
Johnathon Alex Bennett, 24, 1800 N. East Ave., Panama City, possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Steven Marcus Lyng. 29, 1522 Chanley Ave., Panama City, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell or deliver, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Dewayne Keith Fowler, 62, 8647 Marlin Place, Panama City Beach, felony or domestic battery by strangulation
Michael Dylan Beebe, 20, 20005 Susie Lane, Fountain, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill
Kintura Lucy Chambers, 22, 305 Spring Ave., Panama City, possession of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic equipment
Erick Deshaun Jones, 21, 903 Greentree Road, Panama City, possession or use of narcotic equipment
PANAMA CITY — A jury trial has been set for a man accused of abducting visitors in a taxi during Spring Break and allegedly sexually attacking them, according to court documents.
Edgar Eduardo Lopez-Jaramillo, 23, currently faces charges of kidnapping and sexual battery stemming from two incidents last March involving spring breakers. A Bay County judge denied his motion Friday to exclude the victims’ testimony and scheduled a trial for the cases next month.
Lopez-Jaramillo, of West Palm Beach, was operating a taxi van in the area of Thomas Drive and Joan Avenue about 1:30 a.m. March 17 when he called to tell his boss at CK Taxi Cabs he was sick and needed to go home, according to Bay County Sheriff’s Office investigative reports.
About that time, a woman flagged down a taxi outside Club La Vela at 8813 Thomas Drive and asked to be taken to her hotel. The driver began to head in the wrong direction and told the woman it was to avoid traffic, BCSO reported.
The woman offered all the money in her wallet for him to stop and drop her off, she told investigators, but the driver refused. He began touching her leg and caressing her neck before he pulled onto Upas Drive, where she was able to jump out of the van, she said.
The driver forced her back into the van before stripping away her shorts and underwear. He then placed his hand between her legs and said, “You know you want this. You’ve wanted this all night,” the woman told investigators.
The driver again slowed, the woman grabbed her shorts and shoes and fled the area calling for help.
The victim described the taxi, the driver and the music played in the van to authorities the following day. BCSO found the woman’s underwear on the roadside near Upas Drive, and also found hair from the victim on the passenger seat and passenger door of the van operated by Lopez-Jaramillo, BCSO said.
Investigators were struck by the similarity of an incident from a week earlier being worked by Panama City Beach Police.
A victim reported she’d been picked up by a taxi van as she was trying to return to her condominium. The driver began to make sexually suggestive comments and pulled off into a secluded area. The victim repeatedly told the driver “no” as he removed her top and began to grope her, police reported.
At some point, the driver began traveling toward the victim’s condo but again pulled over and forced his hand down her pants, according to investigative reports.
The victim later identified a photo of Lopez-Jaramillo as the driver, investigators reported.
During an interview with investigators, Lopez-Jaramillo admitted he had sexual contact with the woman, but he said it was consensual.
Lopez-Jaramillo’s tried to have the women’s testimony omitted from the state’s case. However, Circuit Judge James Fensom denied that motion Friday.
Lopez-Jaramillo faces one count of kidnapping and two counts of sexual battery. The trial date was set for March 27.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Panama City Beach businesses, community leaders and law enforcement officials will join forces at a workshop next week to help promote a safe and successful Spring Break season.
Hosted by Regulatory Compliance Services (RCS), a subsidiary of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the event will take place Feb. 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Boardwalk Beach Resort in Panama City Beach.
The workshop will offer free responsible vendor training from RCS, in coordination with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, to promote best practices for alcohol sales, raise staff awareness and educate business leaders about recent changes to local law.
Speakers for the event include Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst, Panama City Beach City Manager Mario Gisbert and Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman.