15-year prison sentence in stolen property case

A man charged with pawning a piece of equipment stolen from a boat at a family member’s business where he worked is serving a 15-year sentence after he was found guilty as charged.

David Wesley Underwood, 44, was charged with Dealing in Stolen Property, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Circuit Court Judge Timothy Register imposed the maximum sentence following the jury’s verdict, which took less than 15 minutes.

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David Underwood

At the March 29 trial,  Prosecutors Jae Hee Kim and Josh James proved that Underwood had possession of a Garmin GPSmap,valued at about $2,300, and went with a co-defendant to sell it at a local pawn shop.

The prosecution showed that Bay County Sheriff’s Office investigators located the invoice for the item at the pawn shop. Information on the invoice matched the device to the one missing from the business where Underwood had worked.

Also, a co-defendant testified that the defendant called her and asked for a ride to the pawn shop. She testified he lied to her about the item and asked to use her identification to pawn it.

Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for its handling of the case and the evidence they gathered, as well as Kim and James for their presentation of the case that resulted in a quick verdict.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.

Convicted murderer gets Life, plus 80 years in prison

MARIANNA – On Tuesday, the man convicted of killing Blake Allen Cain and shooting at a dozen others in a hail of gunfire two years ago was sentenced to life in prison, plus 80 years, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Circuit Court Judge Ana Maria Garcia granted prosecutor Shalla Jefcoat’s request to sentence Steven Mantecon, 23, to Life in prison with a minimum-mandatory 25 years under Florida’s 10-20-Life law. Garcia then sentenced the defendant to 15 years each on two counts of Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle, and ordered both of those to be served consecutive to each other and the first sentence.

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The victim’s grandfather, right, standing beside Prosecutor Shalla Jefcoat, addresses the judge during sentencing.Garcia followed by adding 5 years in prison for each of the 10 Aggravated Assault with a Firearm charges, and ordered that each one of them be served consecutive to the others. That means each sentence will be served individually, one after the other.

At a three-day trial in February, Jefcoat and co-prosecutor Lawrence Gill proved that the defendant and Cain had agreed to a fight the night of the shooting to settle a dispute over a ring Cain had given his former girlfriend – the defendant’s sister.

Evidence showed the defendant drove to a park where Cain and others were gathered, argued with the victim, and without getting out of his truck opened fire from about 10 yards away with a semi-automatic AK47-style rifle.

Three shots hit the victim, killing him almost instantly. Other bullets hit vehicles driven by Cain’s friends. Every bullet fired hit either the victim or a vehicle.

Cain’s grandfather spoke at Tuesday’s sentencing, telling Judge Garcia that the family’s loss is unimaginable.

“He took a lot away from me, but he took a lot away from  a lot of  other people too,” he said. “It was a $40 ring I gave to him … this was all over a stupid ring. But you have no regard for life if you do what (the defendant) did.

“I just thank god Blake was the only one killed,” he added, “even though I lost my grandson. And you don’t have any idea how bad that feels. They say it gets easier over time, but that’s a lie. It doesn’t get easier, it gets worse.”

In asking for the maximum sentence, Jefcoat told Judge Garcia that many lives were changed forever that day and that was evident in the surviving victims’ testimony during trial.

“Mistakes were made that day,” Jefcoat said. “But Mr. Mantecon made choices that ended in his taking a life.”

Basford again thanked the Jackson County Sheriff’s office and its deputies and investigators for the tremendous amount of work both the night of the shooting and in the following weeks, as well as the Florida Highway Patrol, which helped serve a search warrant on the home where the murder weapon was recovered.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454

 

Man guilty in Holmes shooting, beating death, sentenced to life in prison

BONIFAY – The third defendant in the 2020 shooting death of Raul Ambriz Guillen has been found guilty as charged Tuesday and sentenced to life in prison.

William Shane Parker, 36, was found guilty of Second Degree Murder, and Destruction of, Tampering with, or Fabricating Physical Evidence. The jury took less than hour to reach its verdict after two days of testimony.

 

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Chief Circuit Court Judge Chris Patterson ordered Parker to serve life in prison on the first charge, and 5 years in prison on the second.

Parker was the final of three defendants in the case, and the one accused of pointing a gun at the back of Guillen’s head and pulling the trigger as they watched fireworks July 4, 2020.

Prosecutor Peter Overstreet addresses jurors.
Murder defendant glances at family during a break.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremie Odell Peters is serving a 20-year sentence after he was found guilty of Accessory after the Fact to Second Degree Murder with a Firearm, and Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Tampering with a Witness. Lauren Wambles pled no contest to Accessory After the Fact to Second Degree murder with a Firearm and is serving a 10-year sentence, to be followed by 5 years felony probation. As part of her plea, she agreed to testify truthfully against Parker and Peters.

Prosecutors Peter Overstreet and Ben Keown presented evidence and witness testimony Monday and Tuesday proving that Parker intended to kill Guillen that day at co-defendant Peters’ residence.

“For 50 long days and nights Raul Guillen’s body lay in the ground,” Overstreet told jurors. “Raul Guillen’s body, wrapped in black tarp and blankets, covered in barrels, and put in the ground. In a grave dug by two men – William Shane Parker and Jeremie Peters.”

Co-defendant Lauren Wambles testifies against her former boyfriend under questioning from Prosecutor Peter Overstreet, left, and Ben Keown, right.

Evidence showed that while fireworks were set off to cover the noise, the defendant shot Guillen in the back of the head and he fell to the ground but was not dead. Wambles testified the victim was making a “snoring” noise and that the defendant first shoved dirt into the victim’s mouth and nose, then beat him with a shovel as he was dragged to the woods.

His body, wrapped in a black plastic tarp, was relocated and buried the next morning by Parker and Peters.

“The defendant hoped that no one would come looking for Raul Guillen, that he would never be found, that he would never be held accountable for what he had done,” Overstreet said. “They were never going to find him where he was buried.”

However, Guillen’s daughter testified she communicated with her dad almost daily. When she couldn’t get in touch with him following July 4, 2020, she soon reported him missing to several agencies.

On Aug. 24, a man contacted authorities saying Peters told him that Parker had killed Guillen after Wambles “lured” him out of the house. He said Peters admitted to helping Parker bury the victim.

Within a day authorities found the body and began questioning suspects, with all three implicating themselves.

 

Wambles testified she was Parker’s girlfriend at the time and pregnant with his child. She said after he shot Guillen, she did what he told her to do because she was afraid he would kill her, too.

State Attorney Larry Basford thanked the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Houston County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the other agencies involved for their collaboration and work on the lengthy investigation.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.

Armed robbery, Attempted Manslaughter net man 20 years under 10-20-Life

A judge sentenced one of three men arrested in the 2020 robbery and shooting of a Springfield man to 20 years in prison Thursday, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

On Jan. 27, a jury found Mark Salmon, 22, guilty of Robbery with a Firearm and Attempted Manslaughter.

Prosecutor Frank Sullivan, left, with co-counsel Jae Hee Kim (seated), addresses the court during sentencing. The defendant and his attorney are center photo, facing the judge.

Thursday, Prosecutor Frank Sullivan noted Salmon faced at least 10 years in prison for one of the crimes under Florida’s 10-20-Life law. He asked for a total sentence of 20 years. Circuit Court Judge Timothy Register ordered a 20-year sentence, with the first 10 years being served day-for-day with no gain time.

The case

At trial, Sullivan and co-prosecutor Jae Hee Kim proved that while Salmon did not pull the trigger or commit the robbery, he was armed and drove two co-defendants to the victim’s home knowing a robbery was planned. Anyone who participates in a crime is culpable for what happens under Florida law.

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The defendant is one of three men charged in the case, and the first to go to trial. One co-defendant is accused of shooting Sessions during the Feb. 22, 2020, incident. The other is accused of physically taking about $2,000 from him. Salmon was also there, armed with a pistol, according to testimony.

The defendant, center, testified at his trial.

“If you find Mark Salmon participated in any way, he is just as guilty,” Sullivan said to jurors during his closing statements. “He is a principal to it and he’s just as guilty as the person who took the money.”

 

The victim, who Sullivan said was lucky to survive, testified at trial and said there were three men involved – the one who shot him, the one who robbed him, and Salmon.

 

“They started asking, ‘Where the money at, where the money at? We know you got money,’” the victim testified.

Sessions said he was trying to get it out of his pocket when the man with the rifle shot him, the bullet passing through his chin/lower lip and he was forced to the ground.

“That’s when I spit the teeth out and spit the bullet out,” he told jurors. Police recovered the bullet.

Basford thanked Springfield police, who investigated the shooting, interviewed the suspect, and testified at trial, for their work.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.

25-year sentence for Attempted Murder

A Bay County man was given two 25-year prison sentences Tuesday for forcing his way into a home, shooting at one of the residents, then firing multiple shots at the house as he fled, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

A jury found Adriane Joseph Melanson, 22, guilty March 1 of Attempted Felony Murder, Burglary with Discharge of a Firearm, and Shooting into a Building after a one-day trial.

Prosecutor Frank Sullivan, right, shows a court document to the defendant, left, and his attorney during sentencing Tuesday. Right photo, the defendant reacts to the jury’s verdict in court March 1.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Timothy Register sentenced the defendant to 25 years each on the first two charges – both first-degree felonies. Under Florida’s “10-20-Life” law, the defendant will serve the first 20 years “day-for-day” with no gain time. Register added 5 years for the third charge, with all three sentences running concurrently (at the same time).

Prosecutors Frank Sullivan and Jae Hee Kim proved that the defendant secured a firearm and drove to the victim’s residence on April 18, 2020, because he believed the victim had “ripped him off.”

However, Sullivan told jurors during his closing statements that even if they believed the defendant’s story, it had nothing to do with the subsequent shooting.

“That does not give the defendant the right to administer street justice and go over there and take matters into his own hands,” Sullivan told jurors. “Our society can’t allow it, our justice system doesn’t allow it, and I ask you to find the defendant guilty.”

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The jury took less than an hour to reach its verdict.

The shooting was investigated by the Panama City Police Department.

The state’s evidence established that after knocking on the victim’s door and being greeted by a child, the defendant forced his way into the home and fired a shot that missed the victim.

Video from a home security camera showed the defendant firing multiple shots toward the home while fleeing the scene. Some of the shots hit near or on the door, which had been thrown shut by those inside.

In an interview with Panama City Police Detectives Kristian Shaw and Cameron Quinn, the defendant initially denied much of what happened, but ultimately admitted he was the only person with a gun that day.

Basford thanked the Panama City Police Department for its efforts, and Prosecutors Sullivan and Kim for their presentation of the case.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.

 

 

Double Murder: 4 life sentences for defendant

A man convicted of a double homicide for killing two men during a burglary in 2021 received four life sentences Tuesday.

Circuit Court Judge Shonna Young Gay agreed with State Attorney Larry Basford’s request not only for a life sentence on each charge, but that they be served consecutively, not concurrently.

State Attorney Larry Basford, far right, looks on as Ruez Hicks, center in BCSO Inmate shirt, is sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Shonna Young Gay.

Ruez Hicks was found guilty as charged by a jury Jan. 20 of two counts of Second Degree Murder, and one count each of Robbery with a Firearm and Burglary with a Firearm. The jury took less than an hour to find the defendant guilty.

“I believe the jury’s verdict and Judge Gay’s sentence in this case sends a strong message that this type of violence cannot and will not be tolerated in this community,” Basford said.

 

Basford and Assistant State Attorney Jacob Cook presented evidence and witnesses during the two-day trial that one victim, Robert Fowler, owned the Delmar Drive home and the other, Robert Gilmore, was assisting him in restoring it on Jan. 26, 2021.

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The evidence showed the defendant, armed with a pistol, went in the home while the victims were not there to burglarize it, and was surprised when they returned and confronted him. In the following minutes, the defendant shot and killed both men, and robbed one of his wallet.

Bay County Sheriff’s Office investigators spent the night and following days gathering evidence trying to develop a suspect, while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement took evidence collected at the scene – like spent bullets – for laboratory analysis.

State Attorney Larry Basford, center, leaning in, along with Jacob Cook, left, talks to members of one of the victim’s families prior to sentencing Tuesday.

The break in the case was the discovery by Sheriff’s Office investigators that someone had used a Cash App card belonging to one of the victims after his death. With that information, Hicks was developed as a suspect, spent shell casings were found near where he was staying, and the murder weapon was recovered. The FDLE analysis tied the gun to the murders, and DNA testing showed the victim’s blood on clothing recovered from the defendant.

Also key to the case were statements the defendant made while being questioned by Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jason Daffin, who along with Inv. Patrick Crawford drove him to the Sheriff’s Office for a formal interview after he was identified as a suspect.

For more information contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov or 850-381-7454.

Orme, for third time, sentenced to death

Thirty years to the day after murdering Lisa Diane Redd, the man who killed her was sentenced to death for the third time.

Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark imposed the death penalty upon Roderick Orme for the March 3, 1992, murder, sexual battery, and robbery of his former girlfriend after calling her for help while on a drug and alcohol binge.

State Attorney Larry Basford, right, speaks with the victim’s sister before sentencing.
Roderick Orme’s Department of Corrections mugshot.

It is the third time Orme has been sentenced to death for the crime. He was convicted in 1993 and sentenced to death after a 7-5 jury vote. That was sent back for a new sentencing hearing in 2007, and a different jury recommended death by an 11-1 vote.

 

That was sent back in 2017 for a third sentencing hearing based on a Supreme Court decision calling for 12-0 jury votes for death.

“The defendant does have a date with destiny, we all do,” State Attorney Larry Basford said. “And in this case, I would submit that justice and his date with destiny has been delayed way, way too long.

“We asked Judge Clark to help him meet his maker sooner rather than later, and another step in that direction was taken today.”

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Through the years of new sentencing trials and court dates, Redd’s family has been steadfast in seeing the case through, appearing for hearings and sentencings, and testifying about how the loss of Redd has devastated the family.

“This is truly a case where there was violence, pain, a merciless killing of Lisa Redd,” Basford said. “And she was not just Lisa Redd, she was a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a nurse, and she was trying to do the best that she could to make a living for her and her son.”

Roderick Orme enters court for sentencing by Circuit Judge Brantley Clark.

Redd’s sister, Carol Atwell, testified before the sentence was imposed, asking Judge Clark to end this for the family.

“Thirty years ago today, my sister was murdered by this defendant,” Atwell said, noting that Redd had done nothing wrong and was trying to help the defendant. “I think that today should be the last time we have to come before anyone, any judge, and have to fight this battle for my sister.”

Lisa Redd was 34 years old and working as a nurse when the defendant, who had been smoking crack cocaine and drinking, called her from a hotel room asking for help. After she arrived, evidence showed, the defendant became enraged, sexually battered and beat her, and then strangled her.

In 2020, as the resentencing neared, Orme filed a motion to waive his right to a jury for resentencing, and his right to present mitigating evidence to the court.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.

 

Guilty as charged: Attempted Felony Murder

A Bay County jury took 42 minutes Tuesday to find a man guilty of bursting into a home, firing a shot at an occupant, and then firing four more at the home as he fled, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Adriane Joseph Melanson, 22, was found guilty as charged of Attempted Felony Murder, Burglary with Discharge of a Firearm, and Shooting into a Building. Circuit Court Judge Tim Register ordered a presentencing investigation and set sentencing for March 15.

Left Photo: Prosecutors Frank Sullivan and Jae Hee Kim prepare with Panama City Police Department Cpl. Kristian Shaw on the stand. Right Photo: Prosecutor Frank Sullivan addresses the jury.

 

 

 

 

Prosecutors Frank Sullivan and Jae Hee Kim presented witnesses and evidence proving that the defendant armed himself and drove to the victim’s residence on April 18, 2020, because he believed the victim had ripped him off.

“I submit to you, there’s no evidence that ever happened,” Sullivan told jurors in his closing statement.

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But, he added, even if jurors believed the defendant’s story that the victim robbed him of an ounce of marijuana earlier that day, it had nothing to do with the shooting that happened later.

“That does not give the defendant the right to administer street justice and go over there and take matters into his own hands,” Sullivan told jurors. “Our society can’t allow it, our justice system doesn’t allow it, and I ask you to find the defendant guilty.”

The State called three witnesses: the victim, and the two men who conducted a key interview of the defendant: Panama City Police Cpl. Kristian Shaw and Det. Cameron Quinn.

The victim testified he was living with extended family, including his 10-year-old nephew and 14-year-old niece. He said he was sleeping on the couch that day when someone knocked. He said his 10-year-old nephew answered the door and the defendant, holding a gun, “rushed into the house and pushed my nephew out of the way and said to come on out of the house.”

The victim said he later learned the defendant believed he had ripped him off, but it was a case of mistaken identity. That day, he didn’t know what was happening, he said, and he rushed Melanson to protect his niece and nephew.

He said they were “tussling,” and, “I pushed him up off me and he shot. He shot the gun at me and then he left out the house.”

That shot put a bullet hole in the TV and left a shell casing on the floor. A home security camera captured video showing the defendant approaching the door, and also showed him fleeing along with the sounds of four shots being fired back toward the house. They struck the door, which the victim had shut, and the front of the house.

The defendant watches a video showing him fleeing the scene of a shooting.
The defendant with his attorneys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jurors heard a 45-minute taped interview with Detectives Shaw and Quinn, in which the defendant gave numerous versions of the events.

At first he said he was unarmed and the victim had a gun, that it just “went off” while they struggled, and that he ended up with it after it fell to the floor. Confronted with inconsistencies by the officers, he admitted that he arrived with a gun, but did not pull it until the victim grabbed a gun from the couch, and that he ended up with both guns during the struggle.

Having already admitted he only had one gun when he left the home, he could not explain what happened to the second gun.

“Well, that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Det. Quinn said at one point near the end.

The defendant then apologized “for not being truthful,” and admitted he was the only person with a gun.

Basford thanked the Panama City Police Department for its efforts, and Prosecutors Sullivan and Kim for their presentation of the case.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.

 

 

 

10-year prison term for man on weapons charges

A Bay County man convicted of possessing a short-barreled shotgun and improper exhibition of a firearm in December was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

William Walter Cambley, III, 29, had been out of prison less than 2 months when deputies were called to a disturbance involving him and a shotgun at his grandmother’s house in Fountain.

  ID Photo Defendant William Cambley

Friday, Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark sentenced him to 10 years in prison for illegally possessing a short-barreled shotgun, and 723 days for improper display of a firearm. The defendant also was sentenced to 7 years in prison on a negotiated plea for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The sentences run concurrently.

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The defendant had been released from prison, where he was serving time for being a felon in possession of a firearm, 44 days before his arrest March 20, 2020, at his grandmother’s residence.

Prosecutors Lynelle Dowe and Jacob Cook presented evidence and witnesses at his December trial that he had been living with his grandmother after his release from prison. Testimony showed that during an argument he became angry, grabbed a shotgun, “cocked” it, then pointed it in his grandmother’s direction.

A witness testified the defendant said there were 3 shells in the gun – one for her, one for the dog, and one for his mother. Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a Department of Fish and Wildlife officer responded, a K-9 found the shotgun nearby, and the defendant was arrested. The K-9 found the shotgun in a nearby field.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.

 

Grand Ridge man guilty of murder, multiple assaults

MARIANNA – A jury took just over two hours Friday to find Steven A. Mantecon guilty as charged of Second Degree Murder and a dozen counts of shooting at witnesses or into their vehicles in the Aug. 8, 2020, homicide of Blake Allen Cain at a public park, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Altogether, the jury found the defendant, now 23, guilty of Second Degree Murder with a Firearm, two counts of Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle, and 10 counts of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. Circuit Court Judge Ana Maria Garcia set sentencing for April 5.

Lead Prosecutor Shalla Jefcoat questions the defendant, with second-chair Lawrence Gill, left.

Lead Prosecutor Shalla Jefcoat discounted the defendant’s claim that he fired 14 rounds from a semi-automatic AK-47 type rifle in self-defense that night at Thomas Porter Park in Grand Ridge. A group had gathered there in anticipation of a fistfight between the defendant and Cain over a dispute between the two families involving a ring.

Jefcoat and second-chair Lawrence Gill presented testimony and evidence that the defendant showed up at the park, exchanged words with Cain, but left without getting out of his truck. He returned about 15 minutes later, stayed in his truck while arguing with Cain, then opened fire on Cain from about 50 feet away. The evidence showed Cain was unarmed and three shots hit him – including two in the back – while the other 11 bullets hit the other victims’ vehicles.

“The fact of the matter is you heard from 12 eyewitnesses, and yes, they varied, but not a single one of them testified to anything that would’ve provided any justification whatsoever for Steven Mantecon’s actions,” Jefcoat told jurors in her closing statement. “Remember, he is the one with the most to lose today, the only with anything to lose today, really, and he has told you something that is impossible” during his testimony.

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“Because the fact of the matter is that this defendant, even when I suggested they had called him a wuss or worse … he did not like having his manhood questioned for not getting out and meeting Blake Cain fist-to-fist,” Jefcoat continued. “I’m not saying he should have, but his manhood and pride being wounded, or his sister being insulted, does not justify his actions on the night of Aug. 8.

“He killed a man and he was covering up by attempting to kill witnesses.”

Prosecutor Shalla Jefcoat addresses the jury.

The State called 20 witnesses during the three-day trial. The majority of them, many of them victims of the aggravated assaults, were in their teens at the time of the shooting.

Everyone agreed there had been an ongoing dispute over a ring Cain had given to his former girlfriend – the defendant’s sister.

It came to a head Aug. 8, 2020, as the argument escalated across Snapchat, a social media app, between those involved, according to testimony. Mantecon testified he wasn’t involved in the argument until that day, when he became upset because he claimed the victim was harassing his sister and mother.

Witnesses and the defendant agreed in their testimony that Mantecon and Cain had agreed to a fistfight that night at 9 p.m. at Porter Park and a number of people had gathered. Witnesses also agreed that Cain was known to carry a pistol, and Mantecon testified he kept his assault-style rifle behind the front seats of his truck.

And everyone agreed that the defendant showed up at the park, left, and returned a short time later before he started shooting.

The defendant testified Cain was at his own truck and walked to the front of it, threw his hands into the air with a pistol in his right hand, and then pointed it at him while saying he was going to shoot him. He said he was still sitting in his truck and grabbed his rifle from behind his seat and fired in self-defense.

The defendant, left, with his attorney.

But all the State’s witnesses who saw the encounter said Cain was unarmed; those who saw Cain’s pistol said he had put it on the back of his truck’s tool box before walking to the front of his truck. One testified Cain put his hands in the air to show he was unarmed before the defendant began firing. The pistol was recovered from the back of the truck’s toolbox.

The defendant testified he was shooting as fast as he could, not aiming at anything or anyone other than Cain, to save his own life, and that he stopped when Cain fell.

It was one of many statements by the defendant that Jefcoat questioned on her cross-examination.

“So you’re just an amazingly lucky shot to kill Blake Cain and hit every vehicle where people were or where you would expect them to be?” Jefcoat asked the defendant, noting that there were 14 shell casings recovered and 14 bullets hit either Cain or vehicles.

Jurors were presented with a large amount of evidence and testimony, and before they were sent to deliberate Jefcoat summed up the testimony from the young witnesses, saying they were recounting a traumatic experience for which they had no training or life experience.

“It’s like these are little pieces of a puzzle, and when you’re putting together a case like this, every witness has a little piece of the puzzle,” Jefcoat told jurors. “And you never get 100 percent of the picture, but you can tell what your picture’s going to be, you can fill in the gaps, you can see what it is.

“But what the defendant is saying is from a whole other puzzle, it just doesn’t fit.”

Basford thanked the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and its deputies and investigators for the tremendous amount of work they put into the case, taking over a dozen statements that night and teaming with the Florida Highway Patrol to serve a search warrant on the defendant’s home, where they recovered the rifle.

For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.