Paul Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Fatal Crash

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on Friday, August 10, 2018, Circuit Judge Michael C. Overstreet sentenced Dijivis Paul to serve 10 years in the Department of Corrections, with the first 4 years as a mandatory minimum sentence, followed by 10 years probation.  The Defendant had entered an open plea to the court on June 8, 2018, to the crime of Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death.

On September 28, 2017, Trindi Coalson, age 35, was walking on the sidewalk in the 900 block of East Avenue when the Defendant struck her with his vehicle.  The Defendant failed to stop and render aid and fled the scene at a high rate of speed and running stop signs, until two citizens stopped him and held him until police arrived.  Ms. Coalson was pronounced dead at the hospital. The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Barbara Beasley.

For additional information, contact Chief Assistant Attorney Larry Basford.

Holland Convicted of Possession of Methamphetamine and DWLSR

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on August 8, 2018, a six-member Bay County jury found Russell Holland guilty as charged of Possession of Methamphetamine and Driving While License Suspended, Cancelled, or Revoked.

On March 14, 2018, Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Simonson conducted a traffic stop on Holland.  The Deputy knew Holland’s license was suspended from a previous interaction with him earlier in the year.  During a search incident to arrest, Deputy Simonson found methamphetamine in Holland’s pocket.

The jury deliberated for about 45 minutes before returning a verdict of guilty as charged for Possession of Methamphetamine and Driving While License Suspended, Cancelled, or Revoked.  The Defendant had three prior convictions for drug offenses.  Senior Circuit Judge Allen Register sentenced Holland to 24 months in the Department of Corrections.  Assistant State Attorneys Cord Grimes and Rob Gunn prosecuted the case with the help of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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

Jury Finds Hayes Guilty As Charged on All Counts

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on August 3, 2018, a six-member Bay County jury found Arthur Hayes guilty as charged of Burglary of a Conveyance, Escape, Grand Theft Auto, and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer.

On December 5, 2016, the Panama City Beach Police Department investigated a string of car burglaries that occurred at the Edgewater Condominiums and the Grand Panama Condominiums.  The PCBPD received a description of the involved vehicle, its occupants, and a partial license plate.  Early in the morning, a Beach Police Officer noticed a car with a license plate that matched the description of the one involved in the burglaries.

After approaching the car, the police officer detained the individuals, and identified one of them as the Defendant, Arthur Hayes.  Arthur Hayes was placed in the back of the patrol car after it was learned he had active warrants for his arrest.  Items from the burglarized vehicles were located in the car.  Additionally, the Defendant had in his possession a prescription medication that was taken from one of the cars at the Grand Panama.

The Defendant attempted to escape that officer’s patrol car, but was prevented from doing so.  Later while in transport to the jail, the Defendant kicked out the back window of another officer’s car and fled on foot before stealing a Jeep Wrangler from a parking lot.

The Panama City Police Department spotted the Defendant and when the officers attempted to arrest him, he kicked one of the officers in the chest and, again, fled on foot.  Ultimately, the Panama City Police Department caught the Defendant hiding in an apartment building.

The jury deliberated for about thirty minutes before returning a verdict of Guilty as Charged on all counts.  Circuit Judge Brantley Clark, Jr. sentenced the Defendant to ten years in the Department of Corrections.  Assistant State Attorney Cord Grimes prosecuted the case with the help of the Panama City Beach Police Department and the Panama City Police Department.

For additional information contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.

Judge Register Sentences Pace to Life in Prison

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on August 7, 2018, Circuit Judge Allen Register sentenced Andrew Allen Pace to life in prison, with an additional 20 years, to run concurrent.  He was designated a Sexual Predator.  Pace was previously convicted by a Bay County jury on July 11, 2018, of Sexual Battery Under Specified Circumstances, Sexual Battery with Certain Minors, and False Imprisonment.

Evidence presented at trial showed that on May 20, 2016, Andrew Allan Pace invited the victim, a 16-year-old boy, to lunch before providing him with a shot of alcohol that left the victim incapacitated to resist Pace’s advances.  The victim regained consciousness around 7:30 p.m. Pace had tied him to his bed and was raping him.  The victim was able to break free from the restraints and fled Pace’s home into the arms of neighbors who called 9-1-1.

Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene and immediately began an investigation that led to the arrest of Pace on May 21, 2016.  Neighbors testified the victim came running from Pace’s house, naked, terrified and in pain, begging for them to hide him from the man in the white Lincoln. DNA evidence corroborated the victim’s testimony.

The jury deliberated for a little over two hours before returning a verdict of guilty as charged on all counts.  Assistant State Attorneys Jennifer Hawkins and Alyssa Yarbrough prosecuted the case with the help of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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

Chambers Convicted of Vehicular Homicide

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on August 1, 2018, a six-member Bay County jury found Christopher Steven Chambers guilty as charged of Vehicular Homicide.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that on April 8, 2016, the Defendant was in a hurry to get to a house on Sherman Avenue to retrieve belongings that his passenger, Barbie Wright, had given away earlier while he was incarcerated in jail.  The Defendant was driving 79 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour residential area on a Friday afternoon.  He passed cars that were stopped for a school bus and then ran off the road onto the shoulder, striking a utility pole with the passenger side of his Nissan Versa before coming to a stop on the roof of the car.

A resident from the neighborhood was the first scene.  She testified that she saw the Defendant’s car pass her house going between 60-70 miles per hour before she heard the crash and ran outside to assist.  Firefighters and Paramedics used the jaws of life to get the Defendant out of the vehicle.  When they were finally able to access the passenger, she was deceased.

The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene and worked the crash and death investigation.  As the investigation unfolded, the Florida Highway Patrol learned from the Defendant that he was driving the car that day, that his brakes were working, and that he was in a hurry to get to a residence on Sherman Avenue before the occupant left the area.  The investigation revealed that, based on the crush damage to the car and the indication of braking on the shoulder of the road, the Defendant was traveling at 79 miles per hour when he ran off the road and crashed his car into a utility pole, killing his passenger, Barbie Wright.

The jury deliberated for a little over an hour before returning a verdict of guilty as charged.  Circuit Judge Brantley Clark, Jr., will sentence the Defendant on August 21, 2018.  The Defendant is facing up to 30 years in prison if Judge Clark determines he should be sentenced as a Habitual Felony Offender because of his prior felony convictions.  Assistant State Attorneys Alyssa Yarbrough and Jennifer Hawkins prosecuted the case with the help of the Florida Highway Patrol.

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

Employment Opportunity: Entry-Level Attorney

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces the following job opportunity.  Copy and paste the link below into your browser.

Entry-Level Assistant State Attorney:

https://jobs.myflorida.com/job/PANAMA-CITY-STATE-ATTORNEY'S-OFFICE%2C-14TH-CIRCUIT-ASSISTANT-STATE-ATTORNEY-21013642-FL-32402/494378600/

Please follow the directions in the job posting to apply.  Applications are not accepted through the PeopleFirst electronic system and will not be considered unless submitted as directed.

Naugle Convicted of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on July 31, 2018, Jonathon Murray Naugle was found guilty as charged by a Bay County jury of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation.  Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that on July 2, 2017, the Defendant swam up to a young girl in a hot tub at the Majestic Resort in Panama City Beach.  The young girl testified that the Defendant swam up to her under the water and intentionally touched her in her private area.  The incident was also captured on video surveillance.  The Defendant faces up to 15 years in prison.  Sentencing is set for September 13, 2018, before Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Peter Overstreet.

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

Callejas-Vazquez Convicted of Multiple Sex Crimes Against a Minor

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on July 25, 2018, Oscar Callejas-Vazquez was found guilty as charged by a Bay County jury of Sexual Battery on a Person Less Than 12 Years of Age (two counts), Attempted Sexual Battery on a Person Less Than 12 Years of Age, Lewd or Lascivious Molestation, Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition, Tampering with a Victim, and Resisting an Officer without Violence.  The jury deliberated for less than 2 hours.  The 11-year old victim testified that from age 6 until age 9, the Defendant would sexually abuse her, until his arrest in February of 2016.  The case was investigated by Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Children and Families, and the Child Protection Team.  The Defendant faces a mandatory life sentence.  Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet set sentencing for August 17, 2018.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Peter Overstreet.

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

Cotton Pleads Guilty to Scheme to Defraud and Falsifying Public Records

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on July 17, 2018, Roberta Cotton pleaded guilty to one count of Scheme to Defraud the State of Florida and 41 counts of Falsifying Public Records.  Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson accepted her plea and sentenced her to 4 years in the Department of Corrections followed by 5 years of probation.  She is required to pay fines and costs in the amount of $1,065.00.  She is also liable for restitution in an amount to be determined within 30 days.

Cotton immediately paid $6,676.94 in restitution and has forfeited the remainder of her retirement.  She is expected to testify in the trial of her co-defendant, Genene Hill Hall, in September.  The case was prosecuted by State Attorney Glenn Hess and was investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Allen Sentenced to Three Life Terms Plus 700 Years

Press Release

The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on July 17, 2018, Circuit Judge Brantley Clark sentenced Scott E. Allen to three consecutive life sentences, plus 700 years of imprisonment.  Allen was designated a Sexual Predator.  The case originated when Allen was arrested for Video Voyeurism by the Lynn Haven Police Department.

On July 3, 2018, a Bay County jury found Allen guilty as charged of 127 counts, including one count of Sexual Battery on a Child Less than 12 Years of Age, two counts of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation, one count of Video Voyeurism on Certain Minors, one count of Video Voyeurism, seven counts of Producing Child Pornography, and 115 counts of Possessing Child Pornography.

Assistant State Attorneys Jennifer Hawkins and Alyssa Yarbrough prosecuted the case with the help of the Lynn Haven Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Special Agent Brian Livesay, and Chris Wilkinson with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

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