Craven guilty of murder in Lynn Haven stabbing

Prosecutor Peter Overstreet (left and center) led the case against Savien Craven (far right)

A 17-year-old found guilty Wednesday of chasing down and stabbing to death another teen after a drug deal turned violent is set for sentencing March 21, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

A jury took about 25 minutes to find Savien Thaniel Craven, of Panama City, guilty as charged of Second Degree Murder in the Dec. 5, 2021, stabbing death of Jacob Revis, 14, of Panama City. Circuit Court Judge Dustin Stephenson ordered a presentencing investigation.

Prosecutor Peter Overstreet called 16 witnesses during the two-day trial proving that Craven chased down and stabbed the victim to death after a small amount of marijuana was stolen from him during a drug deal at a Lynn Haven park.

In all, four juveniles were involved in the planned theft of the marijuana and the three survivors are awaiting trial for their roles. One of them also faces a murder charge under Florida’s Felony Murder Law because he helped plan and participated in the robbery that led to the victim’s death.

Prosecutor Peter Overstreet led the case against Savien Craven (far right)

“This case shows the abundant dangers involved in the use and purchase of any illegal narcotic,” Overstreet said after the verdict. “Five families’ lives are changed forever and one life was lost, which is why we continue to work with our law enforcement partners to remove illegal drugs from our streets, prosecute those who sell them, and keep them out of the hands of our children.”

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According to witnesses and the testimony Overstreet presented to the 6 jurors, the victim and three friends wanted some marijuana and decided to rob Craven. The defendant met with the victim and another juvenile in the restroom of a Lynn Haven park after they said they wanted to inspect the marijuana prior to buying it. Two female accomplices were waiting in a nearby vehicle.

Testimony showed a scuffle broke out during the robbery attempt and one juvenile, who survived, was stabbed multiple times by the defendant in the restroom. Revis ran away and made it about 110 yards with Craven chasing him before tripping and falling in a ditch.

Witnesses gave statements to police and testified to seeing the foot chase. One said he saw the defendant on top of the victim in the ditch, and then saw him get up with a knife, and believed the victim was stabbed in the ditch. Another saw the defendant on top of the victim making a stabbing motion before getting up with a knife. He died at the hospital.

Overstreet’s case was bolstered by video from nearby security cameras and Lynn Haven police body cameras

Basford thanked the Lynn Haven Police Department for its thorough investigation, and the witnesses who came forward to testify.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.

Man guilty of possessing drugs, leading high-speed chase

Prosecutor JP Ferreira, left, and defendant on right.

A Lynn Haven man who fled a traffic stop at speeds topping 120 mph was sentenced to 8 years in prison Thursday after being found guilty at trial, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

A jury deliberated just over 20 minutes Thursday before finding Lee Forzon Baker, 38, guilty as charged of Fleeing or Attempting to Elude (High Speed Reckless), Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Cocaine, and misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana.

Prosecutor JP Ferreira (left to right) addresses jurors, the defendant with his attorney and bailiff, Prosecutors Frank Sullivan and JP Ferreira, and the car the defendant wrecked while fleeing police.

Prosecutor JP Ferreira asked for prison time, telling Circuit Judge Brantley Clark that Baker endangered the public during the chase, and that pursuing officers showed great restraint at the end. He also provided evidence the defendant has 8 previous felony convictions.

“Actions speak louder than words. It was Mr. Baker’s actions that turned a traffic infraction into the criminal case that we are here for today,” Ferreira told jurors during his closing arguments. “The reason he was fleeing is he knew what he was carrying in the back of the car, he knew he had those drugs.”

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After announcing his sentence, Judge Clark addressed the officers – Springfield Police Officer Justin Elkins and Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputy Robert Hires – who took the defendant into custody after he wrecked. Testimony showed the officers had their weapons drawn and were ordering the defendant to remain on the ground, but he ignored them and climbed back into his vehicle. The officers were able to remove him from the vehicle without injury.

“I will say one thing,” Clark said after directing attention to the officers. “It would be a good thing if every law enforcement officer showed the restraint that these officers in this case showed. It could have ended differently.”

Ferreira and co-prosecutor Frank Sullivan called Elkins, Hires and a Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyst as witnesses. Ferreira also entered body cam and in-car video from police that proved the defendant was pulled over by Springfield Police Officer Justin Elkins on Oct. 7, 2023.

The evidence showed the defendant was driving a Dodge sedan out of a mobile home park on North Everitt Avenue when Elkins pulled him over for failing to stop at the stop sign. Fifty seconds later as Elkins was ordering the defendant out of the vehicle, he fled. The pursuit led across U.S. 231 at speeds topping 120 mph before the defendant crashed into a ditch, and then back onto the roadway missing a wheel. He came to a stop a short distance away.

Basford thanked the Springfield Police Department for its proactive actions, and Officer Elkins and Deputy Hires for their actions during the pursuit.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.

Fountain Sexual Predator given multiple Life sentences

A Fountain man already designated a sexual predator for an earlier conviction was found guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing a child over a period of years and was given multiple life
sentences, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Jeffrey Alan Kahm, 58, was found guilty Wednesday of three counts of Sexual Battery on a Person Less Than 12 Years of Age, and two counts of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation. Circuit
Court Judge Brantley Clark gave Kahm Life sentences on each of the three sexual battery charges, to run concurrent. He also sentenced the defendant to Life on each of the two
molestation charges and ordered them to run consecutive to the first sentences.

Kahn was sent to prison in 1997 and designated a Sexual Predator for a South Florida Lewd and Lascivious Indecent Assault on a Child Under the Age of 16. He committed the Bay County
crimes against a pre-teen girl between 2018 and 2020. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrested him in 2021 after the attacks were disclosed.

“He had been to prison before for sexually abusing a child,” Prosecutor Frank Sullivan said after sentencing. “When you commit a crime like that in Bay County, we are going to do our best to
make sure you never have a chance to victimize another child. This defendant will not.”

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Sullivan also said the case is an example that even when victims do not immediately disclose the crimes against them, law enforcement and child protection agencies can still take action and
prosecutors will pursue the cases in court.

The victim in this case, who was interviewed at the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center after disclosing the abuse, also testified at trial. The jury deliberated for just over an hour before
finding the defendant guilty as charged.

Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for its continued pursuit of sex offenders and the GCCAC for its work interviewing the victim and helping gather the information needed to
build a case.

For additional information contact Mike Cazalas at or (850) 381-7454.

McGill sentence reduction request denied in 1994 murder

A convicted killer who shot a fellow Mosley High student more than a dozen times in 1994 has lost his request for a reduced sentence, State Attorney Larry Basford announced Friday.

Circuit Court Judge Ana Maria Garcia ordered that Thomas Robert McGill, 46, will continue to serve a 50-year sentence from his 1996 conviction for Murder in the First Degree and Armed Robbery in the 1994 shooting death of Torrey King. The defendant planned to rob King of steroids and shot him at least 13 times with two different pistols after his truck became stuck in the mud.

The defendant hid the body in the woods, found friends to help get his truck freed, then later  returned and took the body to another location where he set it on fire. The defendant was 17 ½ at the time, King was 18.

“This was a brutal murder of a teenager, Torrey King, by his classmate in 1994,” Basford said. “Words cannot adequately describe the devastation it caused his family. I have spoken to them and they were relieved to learn that Judge Garcia refused to reduce the 50 year sentence that was previously imposed at the Defendant’s resentencing hearing in 2017. I pray this will bring them some peace.”

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The defendant was convicted of killing the victim in a wooded area off North Bear Creek Road the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, 1994. King was a passenger in the truck when it got stuck in the mud. The defendant, who had planned to rob King, shot him multiple times with a.22-caliber pistol after they exited the vehicle. When that weapon jammed, the defendant grabbed a .380-caliber pistol and continued shooting the victim.

The defendant was tried, found guilty and sentenced to Life in prison in 1996.

Later U.S. Supreme Court rulings changed the law on how offenders who commit capital or life felonies while they are juveniles should be sentenced. In 2014 Florida instituted a new sentencing framework for such cases. McGill appealed his life sentence based on that and in 2017 it was reduced to 50 years.

The same changes in Florida law state that a juvenile who commits a homicide and is convicted of murder is entitled to a review of his or her sentence after 25 years. The purpose is to determine if the juvenile offender “has been rehabilitated and is reasonably believed to be fit to reenter society.”

McGill’s Sentence Review Hearing was held Dec. 15, 2021, and he was seeking a reduction in sentence.

Judge Garcia, in rejecting that request, wrote, “The evidence in the present case suggests that Thomas McGill was not the juvenile offender the nation’s highest judicial officers had in mind when rendering their decisions” on sentencing juveniles.

Garcia noted the defendant was not influenced negatively by his surroundings or upbringing, did not commit the murder in an impulsive manner but rather did it in a “thoughtful, calculated and premeditated” manner, was not remorseful when caught, and was only 6 months from turning 18.

Garcia also had “significant concerns about the convenient timing of the Defendant’s demonstration of remorse.” McGill for decades maintained he acted in self-defense, only accepting responsibility shortly before his 2017 resentencing – 23 years after the murder.

“First, it remains unclear when – or, candidly, whether – the Defendant began to experience true remorse,” Garcia wrote, adding, “As the Court noted in its June 2017 sentencing order, the timing of the Defendant’s acknowledgement was – and remains – suspect.”

Basford thanked the victim’s parents and brother, who testified at the hearing, along with all involved with the lengthy process.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.

Guilty verdict, prison for Marianna man in drug case

MARIANNA – A jury took 15 minutes to find a Marianna man guilty of possession of methamphetamine Thursday and the judge imposed the maximum 5-year prison sentence, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Robert O’Neil Cloud, 49, was found guilty of Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at the end of a 1-day trial prosecuted by Lawrence Gill. At sentencing, Gill provided the court with records showing the defendant had previous convictions for a number of felonies ranging from being a felon in possession of a firearm to multiple cases of Aggravated Battery and Felony Battery.

Circuit Court Judge Ana Maria Garcia sentenced Cloud to 5 years in prison, the maximum for a third-degree felony.

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“The defendant’s actions once again caught up with him,” Gill said after the sentencing. “This case is evidence that bad decisions add up and can lead to the longer sentences. We will continue to fully prosecute these drug cases our law enforcement partners make, and seek appropriate sentences in an effort to keep our community safe.”

Gill, assisted by Prosecutor Kara Bremer, called three witnesses. They included the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office K9 handler whose dog alerted on the defendant’s car, and presented evidence showing the defendant was in possession of about 2.5 grams of methamphetamine on March 1, 2023.

The defendant had an active warrant out for his arrest when Sgt. J. Merrit spotted him in his vehicle in a parking lot near Highway 71. He was joined by Deputy J. Rafferty and his K9 Dutch, and they approached the vehicle.

The defendant was placed under arrest for the active warrant and Dutch conducted a “free air sniff” and “alerted” on the vehicle, indicating the odor or presence of narcotics. The ensuing search turned up methamphetamine inside different packages of cigarettes.

The “alert” and interactions were preserved on bodycam as well.

Basford thanked the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for its proactive efforts to locate the defendant for the warrant which led to the seizure of the methamphetamine.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.

Veteran prosecutor Jacob Cook rejoins SAO as Holmes Chief

BONIFAY – A familiar face is returning to the 14th Judicial Circuit to become the new face of its Bonifay office serving Holmes County residents, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Jacob “Jake” Cook, who previously worked in the Office of State Attorney, 14th Judicial Circuit’s main branch in Panama City, is now Chief Prosecutor in charge of the Holmes County office.

State Attorney Larry Basford, right, welcomes back prosecutor Jacob Cook, who is now Chief Prosecutor for the Holmes County office.

“It is an honor to be prosecuting again under Larry Basford,” Cook said. “I am fortunate to be able to work for an administration that values doing the right thing, whether that is seeking the maximum penalty under law for criminals who are true threats to the citizens of our circuit or giving that kid who made a mistake a chance to turn his life around.”

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During his earlier tenure with the SAO, Cook successfully handled thousands of cases ranging from homicide, sexual abuse, and contractor fraud in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, to a fentanyl trafficker with enough of the drug to kill 23,000 people (25 years in prison).

“Fentanyl is deadly in such small amounts that it has created an epidemic in terms of overdoses and deaths both locally, statewide and across our country,” Cook said at the time. “We want drug traffickers to know that if you bring fentanyl to Bay County that our office will do our very best to make sure they go to prison for a long, long time.”

Jacob Cook, shown here from successful drug trials, has returned to the State Attorney’s Office as Holmes County Chief Prosecutor.

It was the excitement of the courtroom and the chance to again put his energy into directly helping others by prosecuting those who victimize them, while helping keep the community safe that brought Cook back to prosecution.

“I am one of the lucky ones who gets to do a job they love, and make a positive impact on our community at the same time,” he said.

Cook grew up in Cedartown, GA, but he has lived in Florida for almost 20 years.

Cook graduated from the University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 2015, and his previous experience includes working in private practice at Dunlap & Shipman in Panama City. Cook, along with his wife and son, live in Southport.

For additional information contact Mike Cazalas at or (850) 381-7454.





Gulf man gets Life sentence for molesting child

PORT ST. JOE – A Gulf County man found guilty of sexually molesting a child under the age of 12 has been
sentenced to Life in prison.

Joseph Weldon Davis, 48, of Wewahitchka, was sentenced Friday after being found guilty Nov. 30 of Lewd or
Lascivious Molestation. Circuit Court Judge Devin Collier ordered the maximum sentence and designated the
defendant as a Sexual Predator.

“This sentence sends a strong message that crimes against children will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Gulf County Chief Prosecutor Tracy Smith.


Joseph Davis

Smith called witnesses and presented evidence proving the defendant sexually molested a child during a 5-
month period in 2020 and 2021. The investigation that led to the defendant’s arrest March 9, 2021, was
conducted by the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office.

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Smith called 10 witnesses to the stand, including the victim. Smith also successfully argued that jurors should
hear the testimony of two other females who said they were victims of similar acts by the defendant when they
were juveniles.

The six-person jury took about 90 minutes to find the defendant guilty of the Lewd and Lascivious Molestation charge. The verdict carried a minimum-mandatory 25-year sentence but the defendant received the maximum Life sentence.

Basford thanked the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office and the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center for their
work on the case and helping gathering the evidence needed for a conviction.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.

Martinez guilty of leaving scene of death


Prosecutor Peter Overstreet, left, cross-examines the defendant

A man found guilty Thursday of striking and killing a child with his truck in a Beach parking lot and fleeing the scene faces up to 30 years in prison at his February sentencing, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

A jury took 20 minutes to find Kenneth Ray Martinez, 64, of Panama City Beach, guilty of Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death after a 3-day trial. Circuit Court Judge Shonna Young Gay set sentencing for Feb. 18. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutor Peter Overstreet called about two dozen witnesses and presented evidence proving the defendant fled the scene knowing he had hit a child March 29, 2022, in the Publix parking lot on Panama City Beach Parkway. He was arrested later that day at his nearby apartment, the truck parked outside.

The 4-year-old victim was vacationing here with her family. She was killed instantly when the truck struck her, dragged her, and then ran over her.

“This was a 4-year-old little girl with her whole life ahead of her and it was taken away from her in an instant,” Overstreet told jurors in his closing argument. “We would not be here today if the defendant had simply stopped his truck. Whether driven by fear, cowardice, or an indifference to that child’s life, the defendant chose not to stop.

Florida law makes it a first-degree felony to leave the scene of an accident involving injury or death.

The three days of testimony included numerous witnesses who saw the truck strike the child and leave without slowing down. Numerous Panama City Beach Police Department officers and investigators testified about evidence they gathered from witnesses and data from the vehicle showing it was going about 18 mph while the defendant talked to a woman on the phone. Surveillance video showed the truck running stop signs in the parking lot before the crash.

The defendant fled to his nearby apartment and testified he drove straight to his parking spot. Overstreet produced data from the vehicle that showed it made a series of shifts from “Drive, neutral, reverse” after entering the apartment complex, evidence the defendant pulled into a spot set aside for washing vehicles to hose down his truck. Also, hard water spots and trace evidence of fibers that did not come from the victim were found. The medical Examiner testified the severity of the impact should have left evidence on the vehicle.

The woman on the phone with the defendant at the time of the crash testified he yelled, “Oh my God” repeatedly and said he had hit a dog.

On the stand, the defendant, who for over 30 minutes would not open his apartment door for the numerous officers gathered outside, testified he did not realize he had hit anything. He also said he didn’t notice the people trying to chase him down following the impact.

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Overstreet told jurors the defendant’s story simply did not make sense and defied logic.

“He would’ve felt it and heard that when he hit and dragged that child,” Overstreet said. “And he did, because he kept going on and on during the phone call, ‘Oh my God.’ He will lie about anything if it’s about him. This is not about him. It’s about this child because she lost her life.

“Nothing you can do today will bring her back,” he continued. “But what you will do today by your verdict is define what happened that day outside of Publix.”

Basford thanked the multiple agencies involved and the Panama City Beach Police Department for the tremendous amount of evidence it gathered during its investigation.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.

Hunt sentenced to death

State Attorney Larry Basford, right, speaks to family members of the victim.
Defendant Michael Hunt was sentenced to death.











The man who led the targeted attempt to kill a witness against him in a human trafficking case in an attack that left a teenager dead and three other people critically wounded was sentenced to death Friday, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Michael Harrison Hunt, 58, was found guilty of First-Degree Murder and three counts of Attempted First-Degree Murder on Sept. 13. The jury voted 10-2 for the Death Penalty. Friday, Circuit Court Judge Shonna Young Gay followed that recommendation and ordered Hunt incarcerated until the sentence can be carried out.

“Michael Hunt is very dangerous,” Basford said after the sentencing. “He was involved in the human trafficking of young women. The reason we are here today is because he attempted to kill one of the victims that was going to testify against him.

“In the process he ended up killing a totally different teenager who had nothing to do with the case, along with attempting to kill three other people in the home,” Basford continued. “We agree with the jury and the judge that in this case, the death penalty is appropriate.”

Hunt planned the break-in at a Cove home on April 4, 2019, where the victim in a human trafficking case who was going to testify against him was staying. The intended victim hid and escaped harm, but Alexandra “Lexie” Peck, 19, who resembled the victim, was shot to death. Her stepfather Danny Scoggins was shot in the throat but was able to crawl next door for help. He has endured more than 60 surgeries since. Two other people in the house were shot but survived.

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A collaborative investigation led by the Panama City Police Department with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney’s Office led to a manhunt for the defendant. He was arrested the following day.

Prosecutors Mark Graham and Peter Overstreet tried the case against Hunt and the jury reached a verdict in about an hour.

During sentencing, Judge Gay found that five aggravating factors had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and that they carried great weight. Gay found the defendant previously had been convicted of a crime involving violence, the murder occurred while committing a burglary, the murder was committed to disrupt or hinder a lawful investigation, the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, and that the murder was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.

Gulf County father, son sentenced to 10 years in houseboat burglary

PORT ST. JOE – A father and son who teamed up to burglarize a houseboat but were caught when their own boat had mechanical difficulties have been sentenced to 10 years each in prison, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Andy Hysmith, 63, and Anthony T. Hysmith, 41, who both listed Wewahitchka addresses, each pled guilty to Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Wearing a Mask While Committing a Burglary of a Dwelling, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Destruction or Tampering with Evidence.

Andy Hysmith
Anthony Hysmith


Gulf County Circuit Court Judge Devin Collier sentenced both men to 10 years in prison Friday. The first three years are a minimum/mandatory under Florida’s enhanced laws involving Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

The arrests and investigation were conducted by the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Chief Gulf County Prosecutor Tracy Smith was prepared to prove that on Jan. 31, 2023, the defendants broke into a houseboat near Bryant’s Landing and stole a number of items.

“Burglary is a serious crime and can be traumatic for the people whose private homes are violated,” Smith said. “We will continue to treat cases like this seriously, whether it’s a stand-alone home, a mobile home, or, as in this case, a houseboat.”

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The evidence would have shown the owners of the houseboat were out of town, but the vessel was equipped with surveillance equipment that alerted him there were people on his boat. They contacted a friend and sent him surveillance footage, and that friend contacted deputies.

A deputy went to Bryant’s landing and saw a boat approaching, but it left when it saw his vehicle. Other deputies and law enforcement officers joined the search. The vessel was again spotted on the Chipola River and fled until it encountered a mechanical issue.

Evidence showed Andy Hysmith was seen throwing a firearm into the water and that both he and his son were wearing the same clothes as the two men in the surveillance footage. They also had items from the houseboat that belonged to the victim, some of which they also threw overboard.

Basford thanked the investigating agencies for their coordinated work in apprehending the suspects and making the arrests.

For additional information contact Mike Cazalas at or (850) 381-7454.