Monday, December 17, 2012


As you may know, the herniated disc I suffered last fall has taken its toll on my ability to participate in courtwatching, as well as other CourtWatch-related activities.  At June's board meeting we decided that we would try to find funding that would enable us to hire an executive director who would take on the day-to-day responsibilities of administering the program as well as raising money to pay his/her salary.

If you've ever searched for grants, you know that everyone who is giving away money wants to see a return for their money (rightfully so!). Given the nature of our mission, and the fact that we don't serve clients the same way that other nonprofits do, it has been difficult to find grant funding.  We don't have the "deliverables" that funders are looking for.  Yet I've been told by many that our presence in the courtroom makes a difference and that what we do is valuable. Unfortunately, it's hard to quantify and therefore it's hard to fund.

We, regrettably, have not had success with finding the funding. It is with much sadness that the Board voted at our December meeting to dissolve CourtWatch. 

I will continue to be involved with a new organization, Abuse Intervention Monitoring (AIM) that is currently awaiting its 501(c)(3) approval. AIM's mission is to monitor the Batterers' Intervention Programs (BIPs) to make sure they comply with the regulations set forth by the State of Florida.  Effective 7/1/12, BIPs have no government oversight due to funding issues. The Orange County DV Task Force recognized that this would allow untrained and uncertified individuals to offer BIP counseling without proper oversight.

As a result of AIM's presence, both the Ninth (Orange-Osceola) and Eighteenth (Seminole-Brevard) Circuit Chief Judges have issued Administrative Orders allowing only BIP providers that were certified as of 6/30/12 to operate in their jurisdictions. Much work is ahead of us, but this is a crucial step in assuring the Courts and victims that batterers are properly counseled once they've been ordered to complete the program.

As supporters of CourtWatch's mission, I want to thank you for the interest and support you've shown over the past five years.  The thousands of volunteer hours, the financial resources, and the words of encouragement have been crucial to helping us in our efforts to hold the justice system accountable.  Words are inadequate to express how truly grateful I am for your help.

This blog will remain online to serve as a light for others who seek to create a courtwatch program.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Justice will only be achieved when those who have not been injured by crime feel as indignant as those who have.
King Solomon

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Whatever happened to . . . ? #41

Here are some Seminole County cases that were resolved within the past few months:

Kent, Jerel
2010 CF 003649A
Kidnapping; Att Sexual Battery
Defendant was apprehended by several patrons at Shakers Loungs in Casselberry after he allegedly attempted to rape a woman
Defendant was found guilty by a jury; 40 years DOC

Myers, Scott
2010 CF 003262A
2nd Deg Murder; Grand Theft Motor Vehicle
Defendant allegedly murdered his girlfriend of 2 months in her home after she attempted to end the relationship
Defendant pled no contest and was sentenced to 35 years DOC + 15 years probation.

Boone, Kimberly
2009 CF 002127A
Att 1st Degree Murder (2cts); Arson
Defendant allegedly set her home on fire in an attempt to kill her husband who had threatened to leave her if she embezzled from her employer.
Defendant was convicted by a jury of attempted 2nd degree murder and arson.  She was sentenced to a total of 35 years DOC, 10 years probation, and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Thomas, Jeff
2009 CF 003965A
1st Degree murder w/firearm
Defendant was a corrections officer who was seen allegedly shooting his girlfriend, another corrections officer, on SR46 in Geneva; Defendant was shot by a deputy
Defendant pled to 2nd Degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years DOC.

Woller, Joseph
2011 CF 001144A
Sexual Battery Vic>12 (3cts); Travel to Meet Minor for Sex; Use Computer to Solicit/Lure Minor; Infect Person w/HIV w/o Informed Consent
Defendant allegedly met a 13 yr old boy on craigslist and assaulted him at Secret Lake Park in Casselberry
Defendant pled no contest and was sentenced to 10 years DOC.

Wilson, Earl
2010 CF 003123A
Arson of Dwelling (2cts); Att 2nd Deg Murder (4cts)
Defendant allegedly set fire to his girlfriend’s home, which burned to the ground, after threatening her & another man with a machete when he discovered another man there.
Defendant pled to arson and the attempted murder charges were dropped.  He was sentenced to 3 yrs DOC; 10 yrs prob; ordered to write an apology letter; consume no drugs; have no contact with the victims and undergo a substance abuse evaluation.

Glenn, Quinten
2011 CF 001216A
Cruelty Toward Child; Agg Battery on Child
Defendant allegedly beat his girlfriend's 2-yr old son, causing a laceration on his liver, fractured arm, broken rib & multiple abrasions
Defendant pled no contest to aggravated child abuse and was sentenced to 3 years DOC, 10 years probation, anger management class, mental health evaluation, no contact with victims and have no unsupervised contact with children.  This was a downward departure sentence.

Dauphinais, Marc
2010 MM 009121A
Defendant (a Lake Mary HS teacher) allegedly grabbed a 17-yr old female student's buttocks in his classroom
Defendant pled no contest and was sentenced to 12 months probation, complete a victim awareness class, have no contact with the victim; relinquish teaching certificate; refrain from entering any educational facility; have no unsupv contact w/ children<18 yrs old; and to submit DNA.

Fahr, Gene
2011 CF 004148A
Agg Battery Person 65+ old (DV); Att Murder DV; Shoot Missile Into Dwelling; Tamper/Intimidate/Threaten Victim; Use Firearm Under Influence of Alcohol
Defendant, age 51, allegedly sprayed pepper spray into his ailing mother's room, took her phone, and shot the
Defendant pled no contest to Shooting into Bldg/Vehicle & Using Firearm under the influence.  He was sentenced to 3 years probation and ordered to undergo substance abuse evaluation/treatment; have no violent contact w/victim; and forfeit firearm.

Cooper, James
2011 CF 004415A
Neglect of Child Cause Great Harm
A 3-mo old child that defendant was babysitting was allegedly submerged and nearly drowned. Defendant appeared to be drunk when the mother went to pick the baby up.
Defendant pled no contest & adjudication was withheld.  He was sentenced to 5 years probation; ordered to complete a 6-week parenting class, drug screening, and to have no unsupervised contact with children<10 yrs old.

Tomasello, Eric
2011 CF 002964A
Unauthorized Access to Computer/Network; Stalking
Defendant is a Casselberry police officer who allegedly stalked his ex-girlfriend & her new boyfriend by using his police credentials to research info on computer reserved for police business. He rec'd pretrial diversion for a 2009 DV assault in Orange Co.
Case was nolle prossed.

The following cases had “no information filed,” meaning the State chose not to pursue prosecution:

Hamilton, Luther
2012 CF 000050A
Sexual Assault Vic<12
Defendant allegedly had sexual contact with a child while her mother was in the next room of the home

Spector, Joel
2011 MM 009220A & 2011 MM 009434A
Battery DV & Violation of Pretrial Release Conditions on DV case
Defendant was terminated as a PE assistant at Wilson Elementary after he allegedly grabbed his 18-yr old daughter's arm during an argument

Chase, Rebecca
2011 CF 005352A
Agg Assault WDW
Defendant, an exceptional-ed teacher at LMHS, allegedly pointed a .44 caliber gun at her boyfriend in their home

Shambaugh, Michael
2011 MM 012217A
Battery DV
Defendant, an OCSO deputy, allegedly assaulted his wife at their Lake Mary home

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Whatever happened to. . . ? #40

The following Orange County cases had “no information filed,” which means that the State chose not to pursue a prosecution.

Santos, Jonathan
Att 2nd Deg Murder
Defendant allegedly tried to throw his wife off the balcony during an argument

Luckey, Kevin
Agg Battery Pregnant Person
Defendant allegedly burned his pregnant girlfriend with a  cigarette to her face because she talked to another man

Jones, Jennifer
Neglect of Child
Defendant was arrested after she left her 14-mo old son for 6 hours to pay off a drug deal

Castell, Bertram
Cruelty Toward Child
Defendant allegedly beat his 13-yr old son over bad grades, leaving him with 2 black eyes and a knot on the back of his head

Pascual, Gisela Aimee
Agg Child Abuse
Defendant allegedly beat her 10-yr old on the legs, rear & back for not doing homework

Frano, Felix
Child Neglect (5cts)
Frano, Blake
Child Neglect (3cts)
Frano, Kelly
Child Neglect (2cts)

Code Enforcement condemned the trailer where co-defendants and 13 other people, 10 of which were children, were living in squalor

Beeston, Jermaine A
Armed Kidnapping; Agg Assault w/Firearm (2cts); Tampering w/Witness; Battery (DV)
Defendant allegedly abducted his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint and took her to his home where they were awakened by SWAT. Defendant has numerous previous DV-related felony arrests, w/no convictions.

Donberg, Jonathan Leslie
Burglary of Dwelling w/Assault; Sexual Battery
Defendant allegedly forced his way into his ex-girlfriend's home & raped her

Smith, Rayshell Lavone
Written Threat to Kill/Injure
Defendant allegedly sent death threats to an 8th grader, a classmate of her daughter, via Facebook

Mosley, Octavius Varian
Sexual Battery; Att Unlicensed Practice of Health Care Professional
Defendant, while employed at Planet Beach, allegedly inappropriately touched two customers during a massage

Jordan, Willie
Agg Assault WDW; Battery
Defendant allegedly threatened his brother with a rifle after which he surrendered peacefully to hostage negotiators

Sidders, Danny
Defendant, an OPD officer, is charged with beating his girlfriend & locking her out of their home

Allen, Kameron Jerome
Cause Bodily Harm
Defendant was allegedly shot during a domestic dispute with Tiffany McKnight on Valentine's Day (2012MM000074AE)

McNight, Tiffany
Cause Bodily Harm
Defendant allegedly shot Kameron Allen during a domestic dispute on Valentine's Day (2012MM000075AE)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Whatever happened to . . . ? #39

You may be wondering "whatever happened to Laura & the blog?"

I've been contending with a back injury dating back to November from which I'm still trying to recover. Hence the infrequent posts and even less frequent trips to the courthouse. Those benches are not very kind to a bad back you know :)

Nevertheless, here are dispositions from the last couple of months of some Orange County media cases:

Isalgue, Eligio
1st Degree Murder w/Firearm (2cts); Burg of Dwelling w/Assault or Battery
Defendant allegedly shot his estranged wife of 20 yrs & her new boyfriend while their 13-yr old daughter & a friend of hers were in the apartment.
Defendant was found guilty by jury and sentenced to 2 consecutive LIFE sentences.

Bradley, Roosevelt II
1st Deg Murder, Agg Child Abuse
Defendant's 8-mo son died after unsupervised visit with defendant - the child's twin sister was unharmed. Trial in Dec 2010 resulted in mistrial due to hung jury.
Defendant was found guilty by jury and sentenced to LIFE in the Department of Corrections.

Pappas, Joel
Sexual Battery WDW (2cts); Burglary of Dwelling w/Assault or Battery; Robbery
Defendant was arrested in Seminole Co in connection with several rapes near UCF.
Defendant was found guilty by jury and sentenced to LIFE in the Department of Corrections.

Smzuc, Lori
L/L Battery (3cts); L/L Molestation (3cts); L/L Conduct; Use of Child Sex Perf
Defendant (age 43) allegedly raped a 13-yr old boy at her house, asked him to pretend to be her boyfriend, and made numerous demands upon him
Defendant was sentenced to 4y DOC, 10y sex offender probation; and ordered to have no contact with the victim.  Another case (2011-CF-015175-A-O) wherein Smzuc is charged with Aggravated Stalking of a Minor, is pending.

Rains, Paul David
Possess Child Pornography (10cts)
Defendant is a former TSA employee at OIA who confessed to downloading images of children 5-11 years old.
Defendant pled no contest to 7 counts and was sentenced to 51 weeks jail, 4 yrs probation; 200 hours community service, and ordered to not interact w/children<18.

Hoffman, Rick Lenn
Agg Stalking of Minor<16 (6cts); Follow/Harrass/Cyberstalk; Fail to Leave Property Upon Order by Owner (2cts); Battery
Defendant was apprehended by citizens & a child's mother outside the Russian Academy of Ballet when they noticed him watching & taking pictures of girls at the school
Defendant pled no contest to Battery, Trespass (2cts) & Disorderly Conduct and was sentenced to 180 days jail.

Simons, Shannon Ronell
Kidnap w/Intent to Inflict Harm/Terror w/Weapon; Agg Battery GBH
Defendant allegedly kidnapped his girlfriend & beat her with a rake
Defendant pled to Aggravated Battery Great Bodily Harm and was sentenced to 102 days jail w/credit 102 days time served; 5 years probation.

Fowlkes, Guy Swindell
Battery DV
Defendant was initially found not competent for allegedly igniting some explosives at a fireworks tent as part of an altercation with his pregnant girlfriend in 2011CF8389
He pled no contest and was sentenced to 53 days jail w/credit 53 days time served; 312 days probation; BIP; and to have no contact with victim.

Leonard, Kendra R
Neglect of child
Defendant allegedly left her 14-mo old daughter alone in her crib for 7 hours while she went to Universal Orlando. Defendant was put on 2-yrs probation 10/08 for child neglect, admitted to violating probation 3/09 and had her probation reinstated.
Defendant pled no contest in this case and was sentenced to 1 week jail, 6 months community control, 24 months probation, 50 hours community service; and to attend drug/alcohol school.

Thomas, Leslie Ann
Battery; Contrib to Delinq/Depend of Minor (2cts); Trespass on School Grounds; Interfere w/School Admin Functions
Defendant allegedly assaulted a child that was bullying her child at Lockhart Middle School.
Defendant pled guilty to Counts 1-4 and was sentenced to 1 day jail & 360 days probation.

Laster, Delores Richardson
1st Degree Murder
Defendant allegedly shot her husband in 1988 & was arrested 3/09
Defendant was acquitted by jury

Henry, John Peter
L/L Battery
Defendant is one of 12 who allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-yr old runaway and forced another 15-yr old to prostitution.
Defendant was acquitted by jury

Burns, Allen Robert Jr
2010-CF-008584-A-O & 2010-CF-000853-A-O
Sexual Battery (3cts); Kidnap w/Intent to Commit Felony
Defendant is a bondsman who allegedly threatened to revoke a client's bond unless she had sex with him
Defendant was acquitted by jury

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to re-victimize a victim, Part 1

Last month, the mother of a 15-yr old girl filed a petition for injunction for protection against sexual violence on behalf of her daughter. The respondent was their 16-yr old next door neighbor and his father, appearing on his son's behalf. The teens had never dated. They do not go to the same school. She is home schooled because of physical and mental issues.

After reviewing the explicit allegations in the petition, Judge Keith White granted a hearing which was held earlier this month. So far, so good.

As you might imagine, anyone who has been forcibly raped - orally, vaginally and anally -  would be terrified to be in the same room with their perpetrator. To force a teenager (or anyone for that matter) to testify for over an hour about the ordeal because your mother cannot corroborate the actual incident (having not witnessed the crime personally) goes beyond the scope of what is necessary for a civil injunction. Judge White required this girl to go into excruciating detail in spite of the comprehensiveness of the allegations that were in the written petition (caution: graphic language).

Remember, the burden of proof in civil cases is a "preponderance of the evidence," and not "beyond a reasonable doubt," as is the requirement for criminal cases.

To make matters worse, the Respondent's father & the perpetrator laughed at the victim's allegations and claimed that the sex was consensual (not at all uncommon in these cases).  The victim denied consent.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge White told the Petitioner that the her job was to meet the burden of proof necessary for him to be able to grant an injunction.  You could almost see her holding her breath in anticipation of being denied the order for protection that she so desperately sought.

Judge White, however, did grant an injunction to the girl.

A six month, "no hostile contact" injunction.

So this perpetrator is currently not in violation of the court order if he chooses to contact her, as long as he's "not hostile" towards her.

For six whole months.

After that, the injunction expires. Unless of course she wants to go back before the same judge and request an extension.  How likely do you think she'll be to do that?

Judge White failed this girl. And he failed to do much to hold the perpetrator accountable for his actions.

Let's hope that law enforcement and the State Attorney's Office are able to prosecute this sex offender to the fullest extent possible.

We have more to report about Judge White in upcoming days.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hero in Seminole County

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work done by Seminole County Sheriff's Sgt. Mark Conway for his role in the Macchione case, about which I last blogged. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that his actions and astute police work prevented Macchione's victim from a kidnapping, torturous sexual assault, and probable death.

On the evening of 9/19/09, Sgt. Conway was working an off-duty detail at one of UCF's student housing complexes.  He noticed the defendant, dressed in black, carrying a black backpack, and riding a bicycle aimlessly through the complex.  He stopped the suspect for questioning. After ascertaining that he was not a resident, nor visiting anyone in particular, Sgt. Conway arrested the defendant for loitering/prowling. 

He subsequently searched the backpack. In addition to the condoms, pornographic materials and other sexual paraphernalia, he found a video camera.

Upon reviewing the videos, Sgt. Conway became alarmed at their content. He described them as "chilling." They depicted the defendant in various locations addressing a young lady who was not present in the video. In one recording, Conway testified that the defendant said:
"What I like about you is that you're smart, you're prepared for a tragedy, and if something were to ever go horribly wrong, which could happen, you have a settled enough brain to deal with it.
"If you listen to me, you'd shed your Outback clothes for good. [the victim worked at an Outback Restaurant]
Suspecting that he was stalking a young lady, Sgt. Conway set out to identify and warn her of the situation.

He managed to identify and locate the victim, who must have been both relieved that law enforcement had taken notice and terrified that Macchione was still attempting to locate her.  He was surprised to learn that the extent of the relationship between the parties was merely one of a brief acquaintance.

Once he located her, she advised him of the YouTube videos that had been posted. She had been trying to bring a case against him (having received an injunction against him two months earlier), but had thus far been unsuccessful.

He testified that he believed that the video described in my last post, wherein Macchione "shot" the viewer and then himself with an imaginary gun, was depicting an event that could really occur.

Sgt. Conway contacted the Seminole State's Attorney Office to view the videos and potentially have the $300 bond for the loitering arrest increased. On 10/1/09, the defendant's bond was increased to $500 and modified to include GPS monitoring, and no contact with the victim.  Judge Mark Herr also prohibited him from UCF's campus and the victim's place of employment. Macchione subsequently pled guilty to the loitering charge and received a "time served" sentence of 41 days in jail. At this point, GPS monitoring and any restrictions put upon him by the Seminole Court were over.

As the case progressed, Sgt. Conway aided Orange County's prosecution by downloading the YouTube videos for their use and attended every hearing without requiring a subpoena.

Stalking Awareness Month
As one who has spoken with many victims attempting to deal with the terror that a stalker inflicts upon them, and law enforcement's all-too-frequent inability (perhaps unwillingness?) to investigate and build these difficult cases for prosecution, Sgt Conway's actions were extraordinary.

Although public awareness is greater than it once was and stalking laws have improved, most victims are often told "there's nothing we can do" when they call for help.

Kudos to Sgt. Conway. Words are inadequate to express our appreciation for the work you did in this case.

More: Fox-35 Report

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Judge Michael Murphy: "If I was the victim, I would not be happy"

"If I was the victim, I would not be happy," said Judge Michael Murphy as he pronounced the sentence at the conclusion of Patrick Macchione's 3+ hour sentencing hearing yesterday.

Macchione pled in December, 2011 to the following charges:
  • (1) count of written threats to kill or do bodily harm; 
  • (1) count of aggravated stalking after injunction; and
  • (17) counts of violation of injunction.

Macchione's victim's nightmare began in the spring of 2009 when she accepted a facebook "friend" request from the defendant after having briefly met him at UCF.  When the tone of his messages became increasingly sexual, she "unfriended" him. He then began his relentless pursuit of her with hundreds of emails and phone calls - directly and indirectly.

She asked him to stop, but the harassment continued.  Law enforcement told her they could not do anything because they didn't know where he was.

The victim filed for an injunction for protection in June, 2009 and was granted one for 10 years the following month.

Shortly after the imposition of the injunction, the defendant posted numerous YouTube videos of an angry, threatening, sometimes sexual, nature and sent the links to her friends (whose contact info he presumably collected while he and the victim were facebook friends), asking them to watch them.  Those friends, in turn, contacted her to advise her of their existence.

The videos that were played in court would leave anyone terrified for their safety. In them he is obviously delusional and mentally ill. He insults and degrades her, insists that he will make her happy, and repeatedly demands that she meet with him and look him in the eye. They progress to tell her it's up to her to meet with him in order to save her own life.

The victim testified about one video which was produced outside the restaurant where she worked. While he was filming that video, he saw her car drive by and he ran after her. No doubt, a terrifying thing to watch.

The last video, which he sent directly to the victim, had no words. Simply gestures of him pointing at the camera (i.e., the victim), pulling the trigger of an imaginary gun twice at the viewer, putting the same "gun" to his head and pulling the trigger again.

Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Latham then read a dozen or more profanity-laced and sexually explicit YouTube messages into the record. These detailed his intent to follow her home, imprison, sexually assault and torture the victim and his desire to make her his. Additional threats of self-mutilation and suicide were made.

Note: these videos and messages have been removed from youtube.

As if that weren't enough, he used Twitter to further terrorize her (@kaypee). Twitter messages are still online (warning: graphic language).

History of Prosecution
In March, 2010 Macchione's case went to trial before Judge Bob LeBlanc but was declared a mistrial after the defendant became extremely agitated and somewhat disruptive during the victim's testimony. The Sheriff's deputies and the public defenders who represented him at the time were concerned that he might harm himself with writing utensils that were on their table. The defendant attempted to plead to the bench during the middle of his trial. He was then committed to DCF to undergo mental health treatment.

After competency had been restored, he pled guilty to all charges before Judge Murphy in December, 2011.

Sentencing Hearing
Dr. Jeffrey Danziger testified that the defendant was psychotic when he was admitted to the hospital. Macchione was diagnosed with schizophrenia and medications were prescribed that restored his competency last year. His mother testified that prior to his having been sent to the hospital, she felt that her son had been lost to her. She detailed numerous pre-diagnosis behaviors that Dr. Jeffrey Danziger described as precursors of schizophrenia.

His mother told the Court that there was a history of mental illness, drug use, retreat from society, eruptions of anger that escalated (dating back to age 7 when he chased an older brother through the house with a kitchen knife), and verbal abuse.  Her son also suffered from a serious auto accident at age 17 wherein spinal injuries paralyzed him for several months. For a short while, he did well as a student at USF, but after transferring to UF he dropped out of school, gave away his belongings and became homeless. She testified that after he received the proper medications at the hospital, she began to see a dramatic improvement in his condition and she had hope for the first time in many years. She told the judge that it has been comforting to know that he's safe in jail and offered a heartfelt apology to the victim and her family for the hell that they've endured.

Macchione's attorney, Michael DiCembre, did an effective job of showing the judge that, in the words of Dr. Danziger "this was mental illness, not evil doing." He also provided witnesses to testify to post-incarceration treatment programs that would be suitable for his client.

The State provided documentation to the judge that DOC is equally capable of providing the treatment that the defendant so desperately needed.

The Sentence
The State's original plea offer in this case was 5 years DOC + 10 years probation (this was prior to adding the most egregious charge while he was hospitalized - Written Threats to Kill, which carries a 15 year sentence). The maximum possible sentence for the charges to which he pled would have exceeded 35 years if all counts ran consecutively to one another.

The defendant, at time of sentencing, had already spent over 2 years in custody.

The judge, having found that the mitigating factor of mental illness allowed a downward departure from the sentencing scoresheet's recommended sentence, ordered:
  • 48 months DOC with credit for the 2 years 78 days time served
  • followed by (1) year of Community Control Level 2 (the most restrictive type that includes GPS monitoring)
  • followed by (2) years of Community Control Level 1
  • followed by (13) years of County Probation
  • no contact with the victim
  • comply with the injunction
  • no use of computer with internet except under supervision while in DOC, allowing him to communicate only with his family
In addition to the standard conditions of Community Control and Probation, the defendant was ordered to:
  • a residential treatment program as long as medically required or until further order of the court
  • comply with medical/drug regimen prescribed
  • random drug testing to assure compliance
When the judge asked Ms. Latham if there were any other conditions of release that ought to be included, knowing that she wanted more DOC time, she pointedly asked him to state the reason for the downward departure (of about 2 months). She pressed further and asked, "you find under the totality of the circumstances that you should do so?" 

He replied yes.

Judge Murphy noted that under the circumstances the sentence is appropriate for the duration of the time that the offenses occurred. That it was a first offense - albeit a serious one. He then admitted that "If I was the victim, I would certainly not be happy." 

He stated that the defendant satisfied the legal requirements for this sentence and that without the mental illness factor, Macchione would have likely been sentenced to 15 years or more in DOC for this case. He noted that even though many people in prison have psychological issues, that's not where they all belong, and that the defendant had responded to treatment in a positive manner.

Judge Murphy further noted that once he is released, he will be on the most restrictive level of Community Control. The judge commented that if Macchione is going to violate the terms of his release, it would most likely be during that first year when he's on GPS. The State could then prosecute him for Violation of Community Control and he would have the 15 year DOC sentence hanging over his head. He said:
"There is no possible way that the victim will be in harm's way during that period of time because they [Community Control] will let her know. Once she knows where he'll be residing she can make sure to make all efforts that she's nowhere around.  Or if she decides to be in the same general vicinity she'll be sure to be in constant contact with Community Control.  If there's any action by Macchione she will contact Community Control. 
"There's no way she's really at risk during that time.
No possible way that the victim will be in harm's way? No way she's really at risk during that time?

Two observations:
  1. The victim must assume the burden of monitoring her perpetrator's actions, thus having to continue looking over her shoulder - probably for the rest of her life.
  2. In spite of the extra precautions of GPS monitoring and the very restrictive conditions placed upon the defendant, nobody can guarantee this woman's safety. She could relocate and perhaps be physically safe from him. But what about the psychological reign of cyber-terror that she endured for several months? He very well could find her on the internet - living in the same zip code, living across the country or around the world.
I just hope that Mr. Macchione complies with every restriction that is placed upon him.

And I pray that Judge Murphy won't have to eat his words.

See report on CF News 13 for more
See report on WFTV-9 here
There's a hero in this story too. He undoubtedly saved this woman's life.
I'll write more about him in my next posting.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Whatever happened to . . . ? #38

Today we're featuring Orange County domestic violence & child abuse/neglect cases that were featured in the media:

Ward, James Robert ("Bob")
2nd Degree Murder w/Firearm
Defendant was convicted by a jury of killing his wife in their Isleworth home
Defendant was sentenced to 30 years DOC (25 years minimum mandatory) with crecit for 102 days time served.  Click here for previous blog about the first bond hearing in this case.

Stewart, Justin Lee
1st Deg Murder; LSOA w/Injury
Defendant allegedly ran over and killed a woman in a hit-and-run road-rage incident after an argument at a nightclub. Defendant's mother Randi Joy Abrams, pled no contest to attempting to cover up evidence relating to the vehicle (2009-CF-013322-B-O). Not sure if this case was DV related.
Pled no contest to Attempted Manslaughter w/ Weapon & Leaving Scene of Accident w/Death, and sentenced to 15 years DOC w/credit 2 yrs 84 days time served.

Freeman, Keira
2nd Degree Murder
Defendant allgedly stabbed her fiance to death
Pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years DOC w/credit 1 year 9 days time served.

Gibson, Louis Jean
Arson of Structure Known/Believed to be Occupied 
Defendant allegedly set a mattress on fire in his family's apartment because he was upset at a guest living in the apartment.
Pled to Attempted Arson and sentenced to 180 days jail w/credit 40 days time served; 29 years & 6 months probation.

Whitted, Benjamin
Defendant was shot by a deputy when he allegedly refused to stop strangling his girlfriend. Defendant's injuries were not life threatening.
Defendant was acquitted by a jury

Donaldson, Jahlea L
Burglary of Dwelling w/Aggravated Assault WDW; Intro Contraband into Correctional Facility
Defendant, her sister & a friend allegedly assaulted her sister's ex-boyfriend inside his apartment w/a broken bottle of hot sauce
Case nolle prossed

Malofsky, Louis
Robbery w/Firearm; Agg Assault WDW; Battery
Defendant, an off-duty OCSO deputy, allegedly beat a man who had a relationship with his adult daughter
No information notice filed – case dropped

Thornton, Stanley
Home Invasion Robbery w/mask; Battery; False Imprisonment
Defendant allegedly pretended to be a flower delivery person & assaulted the victim in this 2004 Windermere case. Former Police Chief Daniel Saylor never investigated the FDLE DNA hit in 2007.
No information notice filed – case dropped

Lewis, Jessica M
Cruelty Toward Child Abuse w/o Great Harm
Defendant allegedly beat her 22-mo old child at the Magic Kingdom because he would not walk properly
Pled no contest, adjudication was withheld.  Defendant was sentenced to 1 day jail with credit 1 day time served, 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service.

Garcia, Elvin
Agg Child Neglect
Defendant's 18-mo old child was spotted drinking beer in the front yard while defendant was allegedly passed out
No information notice filed – case dropped

Tato, Elizabeth
Neglect of Child
Defendant's 11-yr old son was allegedly left inside her car for more than an hour as it was repossessed while she was gambling at a strip mall
No information notice filed – case dropped

Thomas, Ashley
Neglect of Child
Defendant's 3-yr old son was found wandering the hallway of a motel while she allegedly went to a liquor store for at least 2 hrs.
No information notice filed – case dropped