Habitual offender who pulled gun on officer sentenced to 90 years

Three prison sentences totaling 90 years were given Tuesday to a man found guilty last month of pulling a gun on a Panama City police officer, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Circuit Court Judge Dustin Stephenson sentenced Theodore Joseph Storey, 41, to 35 years in prison on a Violation of Probation charge, to be followed by 30 years for Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, and then a 25-year sentence for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Prosecutors Nicole Reed, standing, and Dustin Miller successfully argued the defendant should be sentenced as a Habitual Felony Offender and Prison Release Reoffender Tuesday.

A Bay County jury found the defendant guilty May 11 of the charges involving his assault on a Panama City police officer after a one-day trial. Judge Stephenson then found him guilty of the Violation of Probation charge.

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The judge agreed with Prosecutors Nicole Reed and Dustin Miller that the defendant’s criminal history qualified him for enhanced sentences as an Habitual Felony Offender and a Prison Release Reoffender. He was released from prison in August, 2019, after serving a 20-year sentence for Robbery with a Deadly Weapon.

Reed and Miller proved at trial the defendant was one of four men sitting in a car in a high-crime area July 30, 2020, when former Panama City Police Officer Jordan Hoffman encountered them.

Testimony and evidence showed that Hoffman smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle and when backup arrived he asked the defendant to step out. Instead, the defendant pulled a pistol from his waistband as the officer was assisting him out, leading to a struggle over the gun.

The defendant speaks with his attorney prior to his sentencing Tuesday.

Hoffman wrestled the defendant to the ground and held him until more backup arrived. The loaded pistol was found only feet away.

“The defendant made a choice that night to pull a weapon on a law enforcement officer,” Prosecutor Reed told jurors during closing arguments. “Instead of complying (like the other occupants of the vehicle), what did he do? He pulled a gun.”

“And that choice has consequences,” Reed continued. “He needs to be held accountable for what he did.”

Basford thanked the Panama City Police Department for its handling of the case and former officer Hoffman for his actions that night.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@14sa.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.