Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sexting Trooper sentenced to 18 months in prison

If he had accepted the State's plea offer, James E. Gilbert could have walked away from Judge Lubet's courtroom a year ago with an 18-month sex offender probation sentence. And no jail time.

But he didn't think he should be labeled a sex offender, so he rejected the offer.

Two months ago, when confronted with going to trial, Gilbert pled no contest to ten counts of Solicitation of a Minor via Computer while he was employed by the Florida Highway Patrol as a State Trooper. For more background info on this case, see our earlier blogs.

Earlier this week, he was sentenced to 18 months in the Department of Corrections, 8 years sex offender probation, ordered to have no contact with the victim and her stepfather (his former supervisor at FHP), undergo mental health evaluation and treatment, and pay restitution.

Neal McShane, attorney for Mr. Gilbert, presented testimony from one psychologist, another psychologist's written report, and the defendant himself, in an effort to provide enough mitigation per Florida Statute 921.0026 as he requested a downward departure before Judge Lubet. Gilbert's 198 sentencing points equated to a lowest permissable sentence (by statute) of 127.5 months in the Department of Corrections.

Per Florida Statute, if the defendant requires specialized treatment for a mental disorder that is unrelated to substance abuse or addiction or for a physical disability, and the defendant is amenable to treatment, the judge may downward depart.
  • One psychologist's report diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and was submitted for consideration.
  • Dr. Robert Tango, LMHC, testified that the defendant's motivation wasn't sex but having fun/excitment (in large part because he was bored with his assignment at a Turnpike rest area). Dr. Tango found that Gilbert had bipolar disorder.
  • Dr. Tango's assertion that DOC was not equipped to provide the specialized treatment needed was not based on any discussions he had with officials at DOC, but upon the reports of other clients referred to him by DOC after their release.
  • Neither psychologist conducted a psychosexual exam.
Another mitigating factor occurs if the offense was committed in an unsophisticated manner and was an isolated incident for which the defendant has shown remorse.
  • Gilbert took the stand and testified that he had never before engaged in texting of a sexual nature.
  • The defendant explained that even though some people might think he's shown no remorse (because he hasn't broken down and cried) he felt bad for what he did.
  • Gilbert looked directly at the victim, apologized to her for causing stress, humiliation and family separation. He stressed the impact that this entire episode has had on the victim's family, and almost as an afterthought he added, "and of course, yourself."
  • He admitted he knew what he did was wrong and said he accepted responsibility for his actions, though he told the prosecutor under cross-examination "I don't think that what I've done rates me registering as a sex offender." And, "For the circumstances that are involved here, I don't think I should have to register as a sex offender." Ultimately, by pleading to the offenses, he has accepted legal responsibility for his behavior.
  • The defendant claimed there was never any intention to do anything with the victim or anybody else in her family.  It was all talk. It was all in fun.
Judge Lubet found that the offense was indeed unsophisticated in nature.  As for it being an "isolated incident," much discussion about whether the 10-17 days (no one was sure how many exact days were involved) over which the text messages occurred could be considered as "isolated."

The prosecutor questioned whether or not "great remorse" had been exhibited by the defendant. Case law indicates that when great remorse is evident immediately after an incident, it could be grounds for a downward departure.

The judge noted that Gilbert took 2 years to enter a plea to the offenses. He recognized how difficult it was for a law enforcement officer to admit that he had done something of this nature. Mr. McShane replied that even at the outset, everyone knew that this case would be a plea, but that there were several motions that needed to be filed. The defense complained about the State's handling of this case as well as the victim's mother's involvement in the case (she and the victim's father were conspicuously absent from the proceedings). Mr. McShane also emphasized that the sentencing hearing was his client's first opportunity to apologize to the victim and that all he wanted throughout the process was his day in court.

Mr. Williams reminded the Court that defendants typically have the opportunity at their arraignments (which occur approximately 5-6 weeks after arrest) to accept responsibility and move on. He questioned whether a defendant who hides behind numerous motions really was remorseful.

The disdain between the attorneys for one another was evident.

Mr. McShane asserted that the State Attorney's Office initial plea offer was unreasonable and that it was treating his client more harshly than it would anyone else because he was a law enforcement officer. The State responded that the defendant, by virtue of his job, was in a better position than most to know that his actions were illegal.

Other factors that Mr. McShane presented to the Court for consideration were a dozen letters from FHP personnel, at least one of which bashed the victim and her family and extolled Gilbert's career accomplishments. An additional factor that was presented for consideration was that the victim's mother did not want Gilbert prosecuted. The stepfather has maintained a neutral position about what should happen. The judge was reminded that the defendant had a squeaky clean record and it was argued that he does not pose a future threat to society.

Mr. McShane argued that if ANYONE deserves a significant downward departure, his client is the one.

The victim's attorney, William Jay, provided an impact statement on behalf of his client. He testified that the victim is very afraid of the defendant and wanted him to be incarcerated. She believed that he is not remorseful and seemed angry and resentful during his testimony. She is concerned about Dr. Ming's report which called the defendant a sadist.

She requested what the sentencing guidelines called for (127.5 months in DOC). Mr. McShane objected to the victim asserting that she was afraid of the defendant.

The judge found that Mr. Gilbert had a mental disorder and that he was amenable to treatment, but indicated there was no evidence presented that the Department of Corrections was unable to provide the necessary treatment. Judge Lubet also agreed that the offense was unsophisticated in its commission.

The judge's greatest concern related to the remorse that was, or was not, shown. He believed that it was possible that Mr. Gilbert's personality is that of a hard man who does not express emotion well. The judge was not 100% convinced of Gilbert's level of remorse, and therefore found that Mr. McShane had not proved his client was truly remorseful.

The Court took into consideration Gilbert's exemplary career, that neither parent requested incarceration, the victim (now 18 years old) did request incarceration, the defendant does not pose a future threat, and that he is amenable to treatment that is unrelated to substance abuse.

Judge Lubet found that while this was an extremely distasteful offense, he noted there was no physical abuse involved. The defendant was a friend of the family and violated the family's trust in a dramatic manner. Gilbert knew what he was doing was wrong.

The judge believed that 10 years in prison was too harsh, and sentenced him to 18 months + 8 years probation. He was adjudicated him guilty on all 10 counts, designated as a Sexual Offender, ordered mental health evaluation and treatment, and no contact with the victim or her stepfather. The judge noted that the mother might want to have contact with him.

A supersedeas bond in the amount of $7,500 was granted and he was remanded to custody.  In spite of assertions he had no money, he managed to post the 15% necessary to be out of jail the following day. Judge Lubet ordered GPS monitoring, waived the cost, and ordered him to relinquish his passport before being released.

Was this sentence in line with other cases in Orange County? More to follow in the next blog entry.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Equal Justice Under the Law, Part 2

On Wednesday, April 21st, the jury returned a guilty verdict to one cout of Sexual Battery with Physical Force [with a special finding of penetration] in the case of State of Florida v. Josh Bailey (2008-CF-018462-A-O). See earlier blog here

The lowest permissable sentence Baily could receive, due to his 211.4 sentencing points, was 137.55 months in the Department of Corrections. The maximum sentence would have been LIFE. 

During the 25 minute sentencing hearing, Judge A Thomas Mihok heard the victim, Tori Tyrelle, thank him for a fair trial and related that because of what happened to her, Orange County is making changes in the way transgender inmates are treated at the jail. She told him that she believed that Orange County Corrections Department bore responsibility for what happened to her. She also said that she didn't feel that the 20-yr old defendant should be incarcerated for the rest of his life.

Mr. Bailey's attorney, Tim Hartung, spoke on behalf of his client and told the Court that the defendant regretted what happened and that he was embarrassed by his role in the incident (Mr. Bailey is heterosexual and has children). He was having a difficult time accepting the fact that he was found guilty of sexual battery and being designated a sexual predator. Mr. Hartung felt that the defendant was no less a victim than Ms. Tyrelle because the jail put Ms. Tyrelle in the cell with Mr. Bailey.

Ryan Vescio, the prosecutor, responded that no one is ever put into a situation where they have to sexually assault on another person. Because both parties were in a 12x8 cell, the victim was confined and unable to escape. The defendant, as Mr. Vescio pointed out, is only a victim of his own actions, having shown no regard Ms. Tyrelle, nor has he shown remorse for his behavior.

Judge Mihok took note of the fact that in 2007 the defendant was convicted of burglary, theft and subsequently violated his probation in that case. He also had a juvenile record that included battery and robbery. The judge sentenced Bailey to serve 25 years in prison, ordered no contact between the parties, and designated Bailey to be a sexual predator.

I also learned that the jail was quite uncooperative in the prosecution of this case. Witnesses failed to appear for depositions. The note that Ms. Tyrelle passed to a corrections officer, in which she asked for help, mysteriously "disappeared." It seems to CourtWatch that the jail needs to investigate its handling of this situation and hold their own people accountable.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Equal Justice Under the Law

Above every judge's head in Orange County, one is reminded that "Equal Justice Under the Law" is what the judicial system strives to provide.

Everyone should expect to be treated fairly, whether they're a victim, defendant, witness, or any one of a number of other players that step into a courtroom on any given day.

CourtWatch monitored a case the past two days wherein one inmate was accused of sexually assaulting another inmate in the Orange County jail on December 8, 2008. 

The defendant, Josh Bailey (left), is currently 20 years old and is on track to spend a significant amount of his life behind bars.

The victim, Tori Tyrelle (right), is currently 39 years old and has accumulated over a dozen felony convictions. The victim was diagnosed at age 12 with gender identity disorder and has undergone several surgeries to be reassigned from male to female, including removal of the testicles and augmentation of the breasts.

The victim alleged that after spending 3 days in a 2-person cell with the defendant, he battered her and sexually assaulted her both orally and anally. At the time, he denied any sexual contact with the victim, but the DNA evidence confirmed the presence of his semen anally. There were also several large, fresh bruises noted by the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner a few hours after the incident.

Once Corrections Officers were apprised of the situation, the victim told the defendant that she was HIV positive, and one of Bailey's first requests after allegations were made was to be tested.  Bailey subsequently admitted to consensual contact the previous day and claimed he initially lied because he was ashamed.

Assistant State's Attorney Ryan Vescio treated everyone in the courtroom with respect and dignity. It was evident that Ms. Tyrelle deserved his best effort as a prosecutor.

The same could be said of Judge A. Thomas Mihok as he presided over the case.

However, Defense Counsel Tim Hartung's disdain for the victim was clearly evident. Judge Mihok once admonished him to stop laughing (a mocking sort of laugh) when cross-examining the victim. Mr. Hartung had trouble referring to the victim as a female throughout the entire trial, frequently saying "he or she" "Mr or Ms - whatever." A cynical smile was frequently pasted to his face and his rolling eyes were observed on several occasions as he walked back to his table while his back was turned to the judge and jury.

The defense contended that Ms. Tyrelle concocted a scheme to make $100,000 at the expense of the Orange County taxpayers by seducing his client and then alleging rape. Ms. Tyrelle is suing Orange County for alleged inadequacies in how transgendered inmates are taken care of at the jail (including, but not limited to this incident), although I have been unable to locate the case on the Orange County Clerk of Courts website.

In his closing argument, Mr. Hartung questioned how the victim managed to pay for all her surgeries thus far. Mr. Vescio, unfortunately, did not elicit any testimony from her on that matter (though I subsequently learned that she financed them herself). Mr. Vescio emphasized that in spite of the victim's crass language and alternative lifestyle, no one deserves to be a victim of sexual assault.

And that everyone should expect equal justice under the law.

4/21/10: The jury came back with a guilty verdict on one count of sexual battery w/physical force and a special finding of penetration.  Defendant is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, 4/23 at 9:00am in Courtroom 18D. The sentencing range is 137 months to LIFE.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Everyone is a victim here

So said Judge C. Jeffrey Arnold when sentencing Erik Mota today.

After rejecting the State's plea offer (2nd degree murder) of 35 years with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence, Erik Mota went to trial last month for the murder of his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend, Hector Maldonado (age 21) and the aggravated battery of his ex, with whom he has a son.

He was found guilty by a jury of first degree murder, aggravated battery, false imprisonment and shooting/throwing a missile into a dwelling/structure/vehicle.

His ex-girlfriend was reticent about testifying against Mota during the trial, but was compelled to do so by the prosecution. Judge Arnold took considerable time to explain to the defendant and everyone else present that she was not responsible for deciding whether or not charges would be pursued. It was abundantly clear that the State Attorney is the only person who decides what charges will be filed. The judge elaborated further, explaining that if a material witness fails to appear when subpoenaed, he may issue a warrant for their arrest and they may be held in custody up to 179 days.

In today's sentencing hearing, the defendant and several of his family members addressed the Court. It sounded as if Mota had led a rather squeaky clean life until that fateful night when he hunted down his victims. He was described as being a good person, honest, willing to help others, generous, and having found God while in jail.

Judge Arnold expressed hope that Mr. Mota is the changed man that he and his family members asserted he is, but that there are consequences to one's actions. He then sentenced the defendant to LIFE in the Department of Corrections + 30 years (to be served consecutively) + 15 years (to be served concurrently) + 5 more (concurrent).

The judge also assessed court costs and restitution (totaling $833) to be collected. He further explained that as the collections judge, he has the power to collect from an inmate's canteen account while they are incarcerated. Judge Arnold mentioned that he has obtained several thousands of dollars in this manner and advised Mr. Mota to come up with the money in order to avoid a similar fate.

Judge Arnold was respectful to all parties in the courtroom, answered several questions from the defendant, explained his appeal rights in greater detail than I've witnessed before, and expressed his greatest concern for Mota's son, who will grow up without having his father be a part of his daily life. 

As the judge so eloquently stated, "Everyone is a victim here."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Whatever Happened to . . . ? #15

Back in November, the Orange County Clerk's office underwent a conversion to improve the availability of information in its computer system. As with any computer conversion, the road gets a bit bumpy at times. One enhancement is the ability to view document images as pdf files without having to pull the actual hard copies.

Unfortunately, however, important information on the myclerk public access is currently limited. Sentencing information is not as readily available as it once was.

CourtWatch has had to rely upon the efforts of staff members at the Clerk's office to aid us in obtaining this valuable information. Our deepest appreciation goes out to all those who've assisted us.

Randall Spencer
Defendant pled in November, 2009 to the charges highlighted in red below:
  • 2008-CF-005570-A-O (offense 9/20/08)
    Burglary of dwelling w/assault or battery; Burglary; Sexual Battery WDW/Physical force; Agg Assault WDW; False Imprisonment
  • 2008-CF-016163-A-O (offense 9/24/08)
    Sexual Battery; Burglary
  • 2008-CF-016419-A-O (offense 10/14/08)
    Kidnap w/Intent to Inflict Harm/Terror w/Weapon (2cts); Home Invasion Robbery (2cts); Att Sexual Battery w/Deadly Weapon/Force; Sexual Battery w/Deadly Weapon/Force (2cts); Kidnap w/Intent to Commit Felony (2cts); False Imprisonment (3cts); Possess Firearm by Convicted Felon
  • 2008-CF-005571-A-O (offense 10/23/08)
    Burglary; Sexual Battery WDW/Physical Force; False Imprisonment
Sentencing was once cancelled because defendant was on suicide watch. After graphic testimony from several victims, the sentencing was continued to enable defense witnesses to testify. On 2/25/10, Spencer was sentenced to 2 LIFE sentences + 30 years + 15 years, to be served consecutively. Kudos to Assistant State's Attorney Ryan Vescio and to Judge Tim Shea for putting Spencer away for good.

Christopher Brannon
Burglary w/Assault or Battery
We previously blogged about Brannon here
On March 12, 2010 he pled no contest to Trespass to an Occupied Structure, adjudication was withheld. He was sentenced to 12 days jail with credit for 12 days time served, 353 days probation, no contact with the victim, no return to scene of offense, pay restitution, and to complete the 26 week Batterer's Intervention Program.

Myrlaine Goudou
1st Degree Murder
Defendant pled to killing her boyfriend, Quisnel Moise. She was sentenced to 30 years in the Department of Corrections.
Marcal Graham
1st Degree Murder
Defendant was allegedly hired by Jessica Schambron to kill her boyfriend (robbery was allegedly the motive).
Graham was found not guilty by a jury on 4/13/10.
Charges were subsequently dropped against Schambron on 4/16/10.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thank God no one was killed

Wade Edwards
Charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon, Attempted Manslaughter

In Judge Tim Shea's court yesterday, a nearly 4-hour Motion to Determine Immunity from Prosecution was heard. Defense Counsel Peter Zies asserted that his client's use of deadly force was acceptable as per the "Stand Your Ground" law that permits an individual to use force to defend their home or those within (see Florida Statute 776.013 and 776.031).

Zies claimed that Mr. Edwards was in fear for his safety when his daughter's boyfriend, a taller & broader young man, charged him in an effort to escape after Mr. Edwards walked in on them having sex in her bedroom.  Assistant State Attorney Nicole Pegues asserted that Mr. Edwards shot the victim out of anger, and not out of fear for his or his daughter's safety.

I am in complete agreement that a citizen has a right to protect their home, and the people within that home (under statutory guidelines), using deadly force if necessary.

I was very conflicted after hearing the testimony. Obviously I cannot include every tidbit I heard here, but here are what seem to be the most pertinent items:
  • Daughter typically comes home from school and goes to her bedroom to do homework or take a nap. The home has an alarm system. On this particular day, her boyfriend (someone that her parents had never met, but knew about and had forbidden contact with) comes over. The rules of the house prohibited her from having anyone over without parental permission.
  • Daughter and her boyfriend engage in sex in her bedroom.
  • Dad has a concealed weapons permit and regularly carries a .45 Glock pistol. He typically checks the house when he gets home. On this particular day, the house was in order when the defendant got home and there were no signs of forced entry. The defendant heard noises coming from his daughter's bedroom and went to investigate.
  • Dad finds the couple "in the act" with daughter on top of the boyfriend (it's at this point I think Defense was disingenious by saying the dad was in fear that his daughter was being sexually assaulted - she was on top).
  • Dad shuts the door and retrieves his weapon from downstairs, claiming that he believed he and/or his daughter were in imminent danger.
  • Dad returns to his daughter's room (the teens are scrambling to get dressed) with a gun, opens the door, and the boyfriend (with hands raised & asking the father to not shoot) charges towards him in an effort to escape. Dad fires 4 shots, simultaneously telling the boyfriend to get out of his house, and hits the victim in the legs and buttocks while still inside the house.
  • Victim escapes and gets assistance from a construction worker 3-4 houses down and across the street.
There were several inconsistent statements by both the father and daughter as it related to the chain of events, many of which could be explained by the fact that everything happened in a matter of a few seconds, the scene was loud and confusing, and emotions were understandably high.

As one who has survived the teen years (both as a teen and as a parent), it's not surprising when a teen defies the house rules. It is generally expected that they will.

Given the fact that there was no testimony that the daughter was being assaulted against her will, I think Mr. Edwards overreacted to the situation in his use of deadly force. The girl showed no signs of distress when dad walked in on her. She was not crying, asking for help, or being restrained against her will. Remember, she was on top of her boyfriend.

I don't know how I would react given the same set of circumstances. Much would depend on the parent-child relationship. As a teen, I would be scared out of my wits about getting caught. As a parent, I would probably be shocked and angry at my child's conduct. I would most likely yell at the boyfriend to get out of my house. But I would not point a gun at him.

As the State argued, the danger has to be so real that a reasonable, cautious and prudent person needs to ascertain whether the "intruder" was a friend of the daughter before using deadly force. From the testimony I heard, the "intruder" and the defendant's daughter were definately friends.

The judge asked whether exigent circumstances such as this would truncate the period of time during which the homeowner can be expected to be prudent or cautious. The State answered that when children live in the home, a reasonable and cautious individual would attempt to determine the identity of a stranger, particularly when they're the same age as any children living in the home, before using deadly force.

CourtWatch empathizes strongly with Mr. Edwards' plight as he encountered this unsavory scene. But we still believe that a reasonable and prudent person would not shoot first and ask questions later, as was the situation in this case.

Nevertheless, Judge Shea granted the defendant's motion for immunity from criminal prosecution and from civil litigation as a result of this incident.

I do concur with the judge on one thing, however. His comment, "Thank God no one was killed."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Whatever Happened to . . . ? #14

Thomas Vennel
2008-CF-011597-A-O (Orange)
1st Degree Murder
Defendant allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend at a homeless camp in east Orange County
Jury adjudicated defendant guilty as charged. Judge Marc Lubet sentenced him to LIFE in the Department of Corrections.

Duston Hobbs
2009-CF-014829-A-O (Orange)
Burglary of Dwelling; Criminal Mischief; Cruelty to Animals (2 counts)
Defendant pled guilty and was sentenced to 51 weeks to be served in the work release program and ordered to attend Lakeside Alternative Psychosocial Rehabilitation Group while in work release; 30 months probation; restitution; no contact with victim; take prescribed medications

Vincent Michael Marchese
2009-CF-016698-A-O (Orange)
Attempted Burglary Occupied Dwelling (2cts); Petit Theft
Defendant allegedly abducted a friend's 3-yr old while she was receiving medical care at Altamonte Hospital - a 5 hour search resulted in his apprehension in Maitland. Seminole case 2009-CF-005396-A is pending.
Defendant pled no contest and was sentenced to 46 months Department of Corrections

Shawn E Hammonds
2008-CF-015541-A-O (Orange)
Sexual Battery Vic<12 (2cts); Lewd/Lascivious Molestation vic <12 (4cts); Lewd/Lascivious exhibition by person >18
The State offered 15 years in a plea deal which the defendant rejected (defendant passed a voice stress analysis test).
Defendant was found guilty by a jury of all counts and was sentenced by Judge Marc Lubet to LIFE in the Department of Corrections and was designated a sexual predator.

Arkeisha Perez
2009-MM-013037-A-O (Orange)
False Info to LEO re: Missing Person or Felony; Perjury When Not in an Official Proceeding
Defendant's boyfriend, Somele Jean Calixte allegedly accidentally shot her child. Defendant claimed her 4-yr was the accidental shooter after Calixte fled.
Defendant pled no contest and was sentenced to complete a parenting class and 6 months probation. Probation to be served concurrently with her sentence in drug case 2009-CF-011932-A-O wherein she will serve 2 years probation and 75 hours community service.

William Harris
2009-CF-000659-A (Seminole)
Possess Material Depicting Sexual Performance by Child (21 counts)
Defendant pled no contest to all counts and was sentenced to 4 years Department of Corrections + 5 years sex offender probation. Defendant's motion for supersedeas bond was granted by Judge Debra Nelson. Defendant was released on $2500 bond pending his appeal. He was ordered to be monitored by GPS (at no cost to him) while his case is on appeal. He is to have no contact with children pending his appeal.
It seems to CourtWatch that a defendant who pled no contest in a plea agreement (where he agreed to 4 years DOC) should be in prison while his appeal progresses, not living with his mother in Longwood, as was ordered by the Court.

Bobby Palmer
2008-CF-006442-A (Seminole)
Lewd/Lascivious Molestation (2 counts)
Defendant pled no contest and was sentenced to 7 years DOC + 15 years sex offender probation.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Animal Abuse Cases in Court

Laszlo Arsenio Horvath
Cruelty to Animals
Defendant allegedly sexually assaulted his dog, which had to euthanized.
Defendant pled March 24, 2010 and was sentenced to 3 years probation. Adjudication of guilt was withheld!

Darin Thomas Christopher
Cruelty to Animals; Battery on Person 65+ yrs old; Battery DV; ROWOV (2cts)
Defendant allegedly hit victim's dog several times in head & jaw, told her he would rip its ear off & make her eat it, and then threatened to kill her. Dog's jaw was broken & 2 teeth knocked out.
Trial scheduled for June 28, 2010.

Michael Joseph Potter
Cause Cruel Death/Pain/Suffering (animal abuse)
Defendant allegedly bludgeoned his neighbor's puppy with a hammer (the dog had to be euthanized)
Arrested 3/22/10 - no court dates yet.

John Patrick Crimins, Jr.
Attempted 1st Degree Murder; Aggravated Battery GBH (2cts); Trespass; Cruelty to Animals
Defendant allegedly slashed his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend (who lost 5 fingers) with a knife. The couple's 4-yr old child witnessed the attack. We are uncertain as to the nature of the animal abuse charge.
Trial scheduled for June 1, 2010.

Frank L Nibbs
Cruelty to Animals
Defendant allegedly entered victim's property and used a pipe to beat her 7-mo old puppy in front of her & her son - the dog sustained a broken jaw, chin, and lost an eye.
Trial scheduled for April 19, 2010.

Emmanuel Lara
Aggravated Battery Pregnant Person; Cruelty to Animals (9cts); Cause Cruel Death/Pain/Suffering
Details not known.
Defendant pled December 2009 and was sentenced to 15 years Department of Corrections and ordered to have a psych evaluation.

Christopher M Comins
Cruelty to Animals (2cts)
Defendant was videotaped as he shot 2 siberian huskies (w/the property owner's permission) that were allegedly attacking a baby calf near Lake Nona - video was posted on youtube. The dog owner lived several miles away and allegedly left the animals free to roam. At the status hearing on 4/14, defendant rejected the opportunity to plead to two misdemeanors. Trial is scheduled for 8/16/10.

Click here to view the other animal cruelty felony cases we're following.