Moran Sentenced to Life in Prison

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on April 17, 2018, Circuit Judge Brantley Clark sentenced Philip Moran to life imprisonment for Second Degree Murder with a Firearm in the death of his wife, Milissa Moran.  Moran was found guilty as charged after a jury trial on March 9, 2018, where the jury rejected his insanity defense.  Evidence presented at the trial established that Moran shot his wife in the head while she was sitting in bed on March 7, 2014, and dragged her body through the house to the back porch, where she was found next to her dog, which had been stabbed to death.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Bob Sombathy, Chief of Major Crimes, and Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Hawkins. It was investigated by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.

Sibeko Sentenced to Maximum for DUI with Serious Bodily Injury

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on April 5, 2018, Circuit Judge Allen Register sentenced Bhekiziziwe Jobber Sibeko to serve the maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and 60 days in the county jail for Driving Under the Influence Causing or Contributing to Serious Bodily Injury and Driving without a Driver’s License.  Sibeko had entered an open plea to the court to those charges on February 14, 2018.  The crime took place on July 11, 2017, when the Defendant drove his vehicle into the juvenile victim who was riding a scooter on Panama City Beach and dragged her body underneath his vehicle.  The Defendant’s blood alcohol was tested at .197 and .198, more than twice the legal limit.  Judge Register told the Defendant that remorse and regret do not immunize you from consequences.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant Attorney Larry Basford.

Timothy Abney Convicted of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on March 29, 2018, a Bay County jury found Timothy Kyle Abney, 47, guilty of two counts of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation of a Child Under the Age of 12.  During the trial, the two victims, who were sisters, and their mother testified that the Defendant, the former boyfriend of the mother, sexually molested the girls from 2011 until 2014.  The older sister had initially reported the abuse years ago but recanted during the investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services.  However, the two girls came forward in 2017 after the Defendant had moved out and could no longer abuse them.  The case was investigated by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the Springfield Police Department, and the Child Protection Team.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Peter Overstreet and Nicole Reed.  Abney is facing 25 years to life in prison on each count, with a mandatory lifetime sexual predator designation and lifetime probation to follow his prison sentence.  Sentencing is scheduled for May 14, 2018, before Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.

Reager Sentenced to Life in Prison

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on March 27, 2018, Circuit Judge Brantley Clark sentenced Samuel Reager to life in prison for the attempted first degree murder of Dave Brady, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.  Earlier this year, a jury found Reager guilty as charged of Attempted First Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer, Robbery with a Firearm and Armed Trespass.  The charges stemmed from Officer Brady stopping a sailboat in St. Andrew’s Bay on August 7, 2015 because of an earlier disturbance.  The evidence at trial established that while Officer Brady was attempting to verify the boat’s registration, Reager retrieved a 9mm handgun from the interior of the sailboat and shot Officer Brady twice.  Brady dove into the water, but Reager continued to shoot at him and attempted to run over Brady with the FWC patrol boat.  Officer Brady was able to return fire and wounded Reager in the left hand.   Reager then fled the scene in the FWC boat and was apprehended within two hours by officers from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Panama City Police Department while hiding in a garage in the Cove.  This case was prosecuted by Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford and Assistant State Attorney Peter Overstreet.  Basford requested a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the attempted murder of Officer Brady and 25 years to life for the robbery with a firearm.

Basford credited the successful prosecution to the cooperation and hard work of the men and women of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Panama City Police Department, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Panama City Beach Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Springfield Police Department, and the Lynn Haven Police Department.  Judge Clark’s ultimate sentence will require Reager to serve life in prison without being eligible for release, followed by a consecutive 40 year mandatory sentence, followed by another 5 years.

Over 326 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty since 2015, and over 128 officers have been killed by gunfire.  We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve and protect us all.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.

Liffick Convicted of Lewd or Lascivious Battery and Attempted Lewd or Lascivious Molestation

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on March 14, 2018, a Calhoun County jury found Jeremy Ryan Liffick guilty as charged of Lewd or Lascivious Battery and guilty of Attempted Lewd or Lascivious Molestation, based on a continuous series of acts that occurred between 2006 and 2014, involving two child victims. Over the course of two days, the Court heard testimony from several witnesses regarding the defendant’s crimes and after approximately 45 minutes of deliberation returned the guilty verdict.

This case was tried by Assistant State Attorneys Bill Wright and Shad Redmon. The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office conducted the criminal investigation. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered by Circuit Judge Shonna Gay and sentencing will be set in the near future.

If additional information is needed, contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.

Thank You for the Birthday Wishes

State Attorney Glenn Hess would like to thank everyone in the community who sent him well wishes on his 70th birthday yesterday.  He also sends a big thank you to his assistant, Jacqueline, and all of his staff for the surprise birthday breakfast they arranged for him.  Thank you to all!

Middleton Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison Followed By 15 Years on Probation

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Circuit Judge Michael C. Overstreet sentenced Darius Tyrell Middleton to 15 years in the Department of Corrections, followed by 15 years on probation.  A Bay County jury previously convicted Middleton of Robbery, Tampering with a Victim or Witness, and Assault on January 19, 2018.  Middleton was sentenced as a Prison Releasee Reoffender on the Robbery charge, making his prison term a minimum mandatory sentence, and was sentenced as a Habitual Felony Offender on the Tampering charge.

At trial, the State established that in the early morning hours between April 30, 2017, and May 1, 2017, Middleton robbed one victim of approximately $400.00 and assaulted a second victim, in the area of Maple Avenue and 9th Street in Panama City, Florida.  After the Middleton’s arrest, Detective Donald Knorr with Panama City Police Department retrieved a jail call recording in which Middleton asked another person to offer to pay one of the victims in exchange for dropping all charges.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Barbara Beasley and Nichole Pieper.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant Attorney Larry Basford at 850-819-6985.

Shirah Convicted of Multiple Charges in Deaths of Softball Players; Sentenced to 60 Years

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on February 22, 2018, a Bay County jury found Cody Austin Shirah guilty as charged of 4 counts of DUI Manslaughter, 4 counts of Vehicular Homicide, DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage.  Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet then sentenced Shirah to a total of 60 years of imprisonment.  The case was investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.  At trial, Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford and Assistant State Attorney Mark Graham proved to the jury that on September 16, 2016, Shirah sideswiped one vehicle on Highway 231.  Shirah then fled onto Pinetree Road at an excessive speed and ran the stop sign at Pinetree Road and John Pitts Road, colliding with a separate vehicle, a van carrying a team of five softball players from Ohio.  Four of the occupants of the van were killed, and one was seriously injured. Testimony revealed that Shirah had 7.25 alcoholic drinks in his system at the time of the crash.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.

King Sentenced to 14 Years for Principal to Manslaughter, Aggravated Battery

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on February 23, 2018, Circuit Judge Brantley S. Clark, Jr. sentenced Mary King to 14 years in prison for Principal to Manslaughter and Aggravated Battery.  King had previously been found guilty as charged by a Bay County jury of those charges on January 12, 2017.  The charges stemmed from an October 2015 incident.  An anonymous tip was called into the Bay County Sheriff’s Department in reference to King, her co-defendant, Thomas Hutchinson, and the victim, Timothy Morrell, being on a boat that had capsized in North Bay.  Even after being rescued, King never mentioned Mr. Morrell.  After several interrogations, King finally admitted to battering Mr. Morrell and stabbing him multiple times, and then refusing to allow him back in the boat.  On October 15, 2015, Mr. Morrell’s body was recovered floating in the bay.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Bob Sombathy, Chief of Major Crimes.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant Attorney Larry Basford.