Christopher Minor Sentenced to 160 Months for Armed Robbery with a Deadly Weapon

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on Friday, June 23, 2017, Bay County Circuit Judge Hentz McClellan sentenced Christopher Minor to 160 months of imprisonment.  Minor had been found guilty by a jury of Armed Robbery with a Deadly Weapon on June 6, 2017.  Assistant State Attorneys Peter Overstreet and Cord Grimes presented the testimony of 4 witnesses to prove that on October 23, 2016 while at the Exxon gas station located on Jenks Avenue in Panama City, Minor robbed Everett Bronson of his bicycle.  During the course of the robbery Minor displayed a knife and attempted to cut and stab Mr. Bronson.  Mr. Bronson was able to resist Minor and fend him off before calling 911.  Patrolmen Wray and Creamer of the Panama City Police Department responded to the scene and were able to detain Minor who was attempting to flee in a taxi cab.  The jury deliberated less than 20 minutes before returning a guilty as charged verdict.

Please contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

Wesley McHenry Sentenced to 15 Years for DUI Manslaughter and DUI with Serious Bodily Injury

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Calhoun County, Circuit Judge Shonna Gay sentenced Wesley McHenry to 10 years in prison for Driving Under the Influence Manslaughter and 5 years in prison for Driving Under the Influence with Serious Bodily Injury, to run consecutive for a total of 15 years in prison.  McHenry had alcohol and marijuana in his system on August 22, 2015, when his car collided Mark and Candi Laramore’s vehicle.  McHenry was traveling 80-81 miles per hour when he ran the stop sign at the intersection of Highways 275 and 20.  Ms. Laramore was pronounced dead at the scene, and Mr. Laramore suffered serious injuries.  Calhoun County Chief Assistant State Attorney Shad Redmon prosecuted the case.

Please contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

Randy Terrell Grimsley Found Guilty of Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on June 8, 2017, after deliberating approximately eleven minutes, a six-member jury found Randy Terrell Grimsley guilty of Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor. Assistant State Attorneys Brittany Forester and Megan Ford presented evidence that some time between April and May of 2015, the Defendant had sexual intercourse with the then 16 year old victim while she was spending the night at a friend’s home. At the time, the Defendant was 33 years old. Nine months later, the victim gave birth to a child that DNA evidence confirmed was the child of the Defendant. Circuit Judge Hentz McClellan scheduled a sentencing hearing on June 23, 2017. The Defendant could face up to fifteen years in prison for this crime.

Please contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

Christopher Minor Found Guilty of Armed Robbery with a Deadly Weapon

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that a Bay County Circuit Court jury convicted Christopher Minor of Armed Robbery with a Deadly Weapon on June 6, 2017. Assistant State Attorneys Peter Overstreet and Cord Grimes presented the testimony of 4 witnesses to prove that on October 23, 2016 while at the Exxon gas station located on Jenks Avenue in Panama City, Minor robbed Everett Bronson of his bicycle. During the course of the robbery Minor displayed a knife and attempted to cut and stab Mr. Bronson. Mr. Bronson was able to resist Minor and fend him off before calling 911. Patrolmen Wray and Creamer of the Panama City Police Department responded to the scene and were able to detain Minor who was attempting to flee in a taxi cab. The jury deliberated less than 20 minutes before returning a guilty as charged verdict. The defendant’s sentence may be enhanced to life in prison because of his prior convictions from Tennessee for aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. Sentencing is scheduled on June 23, 2017 before Judge Hentz McClellan.

Please contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

Robert Vaughan Convicted of First Degree Murder

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess releases the following information:

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, a 12-person Bay County jury found Robert Vaughan guilty of first degree murder and robbery for the brutal stabbing of 68 year old Patricia Pedraza of Panama City Beach.  Assistant State Attorney Bob Sombathy proved to jurors that on February 10, 2016, Vaughan attacked Mrs. Pedraza in her home and killed her by stabbing her multiple times in her chest, neck, and back.  Vaughan then stole money and prescription medication from the house.  Mr. Pedraza came home from work that evening to find his wife laying on the floor lifeless and covered in blood. Vaughan left his EBT card beneath Mrs. Pedraza’s body which helped the Bay County Sheriff’s Office quickly identify Vaughan as a suspect.  After the murder, Vaughan discarded his bloody shoes, washed his clothes, and went home and showered in an effort to destroy any physical evidence tying him to the crime. Lead investigator Stephen Jencks and Major Jimmy Stanford interviewed Vaughan after he was found at his job site.  Vaughan admitted to attacking Mrs. Pedraza, and his information lead investigators to the murder weapon which was still in Vaughan’s car.  The defense at trial centered around Vaughan’s claim that he was legally insane.  Vaughan testified that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a 20 year old incident.  He claimed that the 68 year old female victim turned into a man named “Patrick” and claimed he killed Patrick in self defense.  Dr. Gregory Prichard testified for the state as an expert witness in the field of forensic psychology.  Dr. Prichard testified that the defendant did not have PTSD, but instead suffered from chronic substance abuse and illustrated the many inconsistencies in Vaughan’s story.  After the jury found Vaughan guilty as charged, Judge Michael Overstreet sentenced Vaughan to Life in prison.  Bob Sombathy was assisted by his co-counsel Devin Collier and the Major Crimes Prosecution team of Stephanie Glidden, Shannon Mitchell and Dan Bates.

Please contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

Emmanuel Lockhart Found Guilty of Attempted Murder

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess releases the following information:

On May 24, 2017, a Circuit Court jury in Chipley Florida deliberated approximately 3 hours before convicting Emmanuel Forrest Lockhart of Attempt to Commit First Degree Murder with a Firearm, Attempt to Commit Robbery with a Firearm and Burglary of a Structure with a Firearm.  The jury also made the necessary findings under the 10/20/Life law that requires a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years to life on each crime because Lockhart carried and discharged a firearm that caused great bodily harm during the commission of the crimes.  Assistant State Attorney Shalla Jefcoat called 20 witnesses to the stand to prove on the afternoon of July 10, 2016, Lockhart repeatedly shot Jody Rhoda as she left her place of business, the Colonial Restaurant.  The case was investigated by the Chipley Police Department and with the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Lockhart was arrested within an hour of committing the crime.  Judge Timothy Register scheduled a sentencing date for June 15, 2017.

Please contact Chief Assistant Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

Michelle Daffin Returns to the State Attorney’s Office

State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on May 1, 2017, Michelle Daffin returned to the office as the Chief Assistant State Attorney in Jackson County.  In addition to her 5 years as an Assistant State Attorney in Bay County, Ms. Daffin has been an Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting cases in federal court, as well as the Branch Chief of the Federal Defender’s Panama City Division.  We are glad to have Ms. Daffin on the team.  Welcome Back!

Orlando Thompson Sentenced to Life in Prison

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announced that on Thursday, May 4, 2017, Judge Michael C. Overstreet conducted a sentencing hearing in the matter of the State of Florida vs. Orlando Thompson, who was convicted in April of this year for Second Degree Murder. Judge Overstreet considered the testimony from the defendant’s family and the defense attorney requesting him to impose a sentence below the guidelines. However, Assistant State Attorney Bob Sombathy presented testimony from the Halley family about the character of the victim and how this murder has affected their lives forever. Sombathy argued that “the defendant had committed murder and did not deserve leniency” and strongly recommended that the judge impose a sentence that would do justice in this case. Judge Overstreet reminded everyone that the purpose of the criminal justice system in Florida is to punish the offender and thereafter proceeded to impose a sentence of life in prison.  

Please contact Chief Assistant Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

 

Willie Moore Found Guilty of Fleeing to Elude

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on May 2, 2017, a six-member jury found Willie Moore guilty as charged of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer Siren and Lights Activated.  On January 22, 2016, Investigator Jacob McGowin with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office was working routine patrol in the area of Cherry Street and Highway 22A.  Investigator McGowin observed a car driven by the Defendant, Willie Moore, tailgating other vehicles on the road and driving over the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour.  Investigator McGowin, in an attempt to stop the vehicle, activated his blue lights and siren, but the Defendant failed to stop.  It took the jury 6 minutes to convict the Defendant of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Siren and Lights Activated.  Judge Brantley Clark, Jr. sentenced the Defendant to 30 months in the Department of Corrections.  The State’s case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Alyssa Yarbrough and Jennifer Hawkins.

Please contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.

Jonathan Corey Stiles Found Guilty

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on Monday, May 1, 2017, after deliberating approximately thirty-five minutes, a Bay County jury returned a verdict of guilty as charged of Resisting Officer With Violence, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Paraphernalia against Jonathan Corey Stiles.  Assistant State Attorneys Brittany Forester and Peter Overstreet presented evidence that on October 25, 2016, Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call of a suspicious person near the area of South Berthe Avenue and Lake Drive, and eventually came into contact with Stiles.  Deputies testified that Stiles was belligerent, and when prevented from fleeing the scene, Stiles tackled one deputy to the ground.  After Stiles was placed under arrest, deputies also located methamphetamine and syringes in his backpack.  The Defendant has several prior felonies convictions, including multiple burglaries and grand thefts.  Circuit Judge Hentz McClellan scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 16, 2017, where the State will seek a Habitual Felony Offender sentence.

Please contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985 with any questions.