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CHIPLEY – A man with a six previous convictions for violent crimes in Washington County was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for being a felon in possession of a firearm, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Stacy Tyrone Blackmon, 38, of Chipley, was found guilty of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm Oct. 12 after Washington County Chief Prosecutor Megan Ford presented the evidence against him. Jurors took about 30 minutes to return the verdict.
“Violent career criminals have no business having guns and the laws in Florida make the penalties stiff if they are caught possessing them. Our office will seek these enhancements to enforce the law and protect the community.”
The charge is a 2nd Degree Felony, normally punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Ford successfully argued that the defendant’s six previous convictions for crimes ranging from Felony Battery and Aggravated Assault, to Resisting Arrest With Violence and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, qualified him as a Violent Career Criminal.
Under that Florida Statute, the possible sentence ranged from a minimum/mandatory 30 years and up to 40. The defendant also was designated as a Prison Release Reoffender because this crime was committed only months after his release from prison. Circuit Court Judge Christopher Patterson, who presided over the trial, levied the 30-year minimum/mandatory sentence.
Ford called two witnesses and presented evidence that the defendant was in possession of a firearm when he was arrested by Chipley Police Oct. 1, 2020.
Ford proved police had the defendant under surveillance that day when he met with another man and gave him a bag containing a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol in exchange for $275.
Basford thanked the Chipley Police Department for its work on making the arrest and putting the case together.
A Southport man who pled guilty to committing sexual acts on a young teen was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Joseph Allen Kasprzyk, 45, was set to go to trial Monday. Friday, he pled guilty to Lewd and Lascivious Battery, Lewd and Lascivious Molestation, and two counts of Possession of Child Pornography. Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark sentenced the defendant to 40 years in prison as a Sexual Predator.
Prosecutor Frank Sullivan was prepared to present witnesses and evidence from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office that the defendant developed a sexual relationship with a girl in her early teens that came to the attention of investigators.
The defendant fled to Georgia, where he was later apprehended. A search warrant on his cell phone revealed videos that showed him having sex with the victim, as well as additional child pornography images.
Under Florida’s statutes involving sexual crimes against children, the defendant is not eligible to receive any gain time for the first 30 years of his sentence.
Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for its work in putting together the case and locating the defendant in Georgia.
A Tallahassee man found guilty of trying to bribe a deputy who took him into custody, and then threatening to kill him and his family when that failed has been sentenced to 4 years in prison, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
A Bay County jury deliberated about an hour Wednesday before finding Marcus Anthony Campbell, 39, guilty as charged of Bribery of a Public Servant and Corruption by Threat Against a Public Official. Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark sentenced the defendant to 48 months in prison.
Prosecutor Josh James called one witness – the victim, Bay County Sheriff’s Office Dep. Jacob Navarro – to prove his case.
Navarro’s testimony and the evidence showed the deputy was called to a beach bar on Dec. 27, 2022, around 2:30 a.m. in reference to a disturbance. As a result, the defendant was taken into custody and placed in the back of Navarro’s patrol car.
On the ride to jail, the defendant offered Navarro $10,000 to let him go. When that was ignored, the defendant offered $20,000, then $50,000, to Navarro.
When Navarro refused the bribes, the defendant then began threatening him. Eventually the defendant said that since the deputy refused the bribe, he was going to find him and his family and shoot all of them together. “I guarantee … y’all gonna die,” he told Navarro.
The defendant was on probation at the time for False Imprisonment and Felony Battery.
Basford thanked the Sheriff’s Office for its work on the case. He said it is an example of what law enforcement officers endure on the job that will not be tolerated.
A Bay County jury took less than an hour to find a habitual felon guilty as charged for shooting a clerk during the attempted robbery of a convenience store, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Kedrick Jamal McNeil, 27, was found guilty of Attempted Robbery with Discharge of a Firearm Causing Great Bodily Harm, and Aggravated Battery with a Firearm Causing Great Bodily Harm. After that finding, jurors heard evidence on a third charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and took only 2 minutes to return another guilty verdict. Circuit Court Judge Timothy Register set sentencing for Nov. 13.
Prosecutor Peter Overstreet successfully argued McNeil qualified as both a Habitual Violent Felony Offender and a Prison Release Reoffender for sentencing. The defendant was released from prison Feb. 27, 2021, less than 7 months before the attempted robbery.
Overstreet called seven witnesses, including the victim who was shot in the thigh during the attempted robbery, and presented evidence gathered by Bay County Sheriff’s Office investigators to prove the defendant attempted to rob the Beeline Convenience store in Callaway on Sept. 9, 2021.
Testimony showed the victim, a clerk at the store, and three others were standing outside in the early morning hours when they saw a man wearing a dress come around the corner of the building, before disappearing back into the shadows.
The clerk testified that a short time later she was alone in the store restocking. The defendant, still wearing a dress, came into the store. She said he was pointing a gun at her chest and holding out a fuzzy pink backpack, ordering her to “fill it up.”
The clerk said she refused and the man shot her once in the thigh before fleeing. Security video shows the man in the dress approaching the victim with the gun and firing within a 16-second span.
Bay County Sheriff’s Office investigators recovered the spent bullet from a wall. They also asked the public for help and released images from the video. A tip came in that led investigators to friends and family of the defendant and he was identified out of a photo lineup by both a witness and the victim.
Basford thanked the Sheriff’s Office for its work in identifying the defendant and solving the case.
A Panama City man arrested by Bay County sheriff’s deputies who found nearly 29 grams of heroin during a search of his home has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading no contest just before a jury was picked to hear the case, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Zavon “Nay-Nay” Palmore, 30, was arrested March 23, 2021 and charged with Trafficking in Heroin (More than 28 grams). Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark accepted the no contest plea, adjudicated the defendant guilty, and sentenced him to a minimum-mandatory 25 years under Florida’s enhanced drug trafficking laws. The defendant was also fined $500,000.
Prosecutor Frank Sullivan was prepared to present witnesses and evidence proving that sheriff’s investigators served a search warrant on Palmore’s home March 23, 2021, as part of a narcotics investigation.
“Fentanyl gets a lot of the attention lately, and rightly so, but heroin is also an extremely dangerous drug,” Sullivan said. “We cannot, and will not, tolerate it being distributed in our community.”
Deputies found an open shoe box on the restroom floor containing paraphernalia and almost 29 grams of heroin. A gram of the drug can be sold as 10 separate .1 gram doses.
Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for the work on its case that led to the search warrant and recovery of the potentially fatal drugs.
MARIANNA – A Jackson County jury Thursday found a man guilty of shooting his nephew in the leg outside a family member’s home in 2021, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Anthony Tyrone Simmons, 52, of Marianna, was found guilty of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm (Great Bodily Harm) after the jury deliberated for about 1 hour and 45 minutes following the two-day trial prosecuted by Lawrence Gill. Circuit Court Judge Ana Maria Garcia sentenced the defendant to 30 years in prison under Florida’s 10-20-Life law.
Gill called about a dozen witnesses and put on evidence that proved on Oct. 5, 2021, the victim was visiting his grandmother. The defendant, his uncle, lived next door and there had been family issues between the two.
The victim testified he was sitting in his car outside his grandmother’s house checking social media on his phone with the door cracked open when he heard the defendant’s voice. That got his attention.
“That’s when he sees Anthony Simmons coming from his residence walking towards him with a long gun,” Gill said. “He gets all the way up to the victim’s vehicle, opens the cracked door, takes a step back, and in that blink of an eye fires a round striking the victim in his left leg right above his ankle.”
The shot caused major damage to the victim’s leg. The defendant then threw a beer can at the victim in his car before the victim managed to drive away and get help.
The can was from a special edition beer and another one like it was found during a search of the defendant’s home. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office investigators also recovered the spent shotgun shell at the scene and found another just like it inside the defendant’s home.
Deputies also seized about 8 Blink cameras from the defendant’s home. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and sheriff’s investigators were able to determine that footage/video was deleted from the cameras the same night as the shooting. But they also seized the defendant’s wife’s phone. On there they found a video showing the defendant wielding a shotgun outside near the side of his residence in that same timeframe.
Basford thanked the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and FDLE for their work on the case and retrieving key evidence like the video.
Defendant was in jail for trafficking when deputies tracked down large amount of Fentanyl, Methamphetamine hidden at other residences
A Panama City man found guilty of trafficking in large amounts of Fentanyl and Methamphetamine last month was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Graylin Joseph Patterson, 31, was found guilty Sept. 8 of Trafficking in Fentanyl (more than 14 grams but less than 28 grams), Trafficking in Methamphetamine (more than 28 grams but less than 200 grams), and Unlawful Use of a Communications Device.
Prosecutor Frank Sullivan presented the case Sept. 8 and it took jurors less than an hour to find the defendant guilty as charged.
Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark Tuesday sentenced the defendant to 30 years in prison – 15 years of which is minimum-mandatory based on Florida’s enhanced drug trafficking penalties. Clark also fined the defendant a combined $200,000.
Sullivan called three witnesses at trial and presented evidence proving the defendant was in the Bay County Jail June 13, 2022, after Bay County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Phillip Hill charged him with trafficking in Fentanyl.
The evidence showed that Hill, continuing his investigation, learned that the defendant was making contact with others as he continued to attempt to coordinate collection and distribution of the drugs from two separate residences.
Search warrants served at the two residences turned up a total of 248 grams of Methamphetamine and about 53 grams of Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a potent opiate responsible for overdoses across the country because 2 milligrams can be fatal. Because it is made in clandestine labs, the strength often varies and is unpredictable. The 53 grams belonging to the defendant could cause more than 26,000 overdoses.
Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and investigators Phillip Hill and Doug Cummings for their thorough work and follow up on the case.
Nadia DeAbreu has known since she was 9 years old she wanted to be an attorney, and she’s now the newest prosecutor for the 14th Judicial Circuit, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Real-life experiences cut the path that led her to join the State Attorney’s Office, with perspectives from different angles.
“I knew, really, around 9 years old that I wanted to be an attorney because of everything I’d seen on TV,” DeAbreu said. “As a victim of a violent crime, I can sympathize with victims and their families. I remember feeling as though my case was mishandled, it is this experience that has made me passionate about serving my community by seeking resolutions that are equitable and fair.”
DeAbreu graduated from the University of South Florida before heading to law school. She interned with criminal defense attorneys performing work for the indigent. She learned things there that she said will make her a better prosecutor.
“It really gave me some insight on the system and what can go wrong on the prosecutorial side, and what to look out for, what works best,” she said.
DeAbreu, who has family ties in the area, said seeking a job here was not a difficult choice. Attending Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in Orlando and having family in this circuit gave her a taste of the different paces of life in Florida.
“I knew this was a better fit for what I wanted,” she said. “I like the people of Bay County, my husband is from neighboring Calhoun County, this is where I want to be.”
Three Bay County residents convicted of trafficking in large amounts of drugs in unrelated cases were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15-25 years under Florida’s enhanced drug laws, State Attorney Larry Basford announced. Two were on the verge of trial before entering pleas today, while the third was found guilty by a jury.
Friday, as her trial was set to begin, Jessica Ann Heath, 37, of Panama City Beach, entered an open plea of guilty to Trafficking in Amphetamine (200 grams or more), Transporting a Controlled Substance into the State, and two misdemeanors. An open plea means the sentence was left to Circuit Court Judge Dustin Stephenson. Judge Stephenson sentenced her to 17.5 years in prison with a 15-year minimum/mandatory.
Also Friday, Todd Ware, 49, of Panama City, pled no contest to Trafficking in Fentanyl, Possession of Amphetamine, Resisting Arrest with Violence, and Possession of Paraphernalia. His trial was scheduled to begin Monday. He was adjudicated guilty by Circuit Court Judge Shonna Gay, designated a Habitual Felony Offender, and sentenced to a minimum/mandatory 15 years in prison under Florida’s enhanced drug trafficking laws.
On Wednesday, a jury took only 30 minutes to find Loviko Howard Jr., 30, of Panama City, guilty as charged of Trafficking in Fentany (14 grams or more but less than 28 grams). Judge Stephenson sentenced the defendant to 25 years in prison with a 7-year minimum/mandatory.
Prosecutor Dustin Miller presented the case against Howard and was set for Heath’s trial Friday before her last-minute plea.
“Our office has stated that we are committed to keeping Bay County citizens safe from these drugs and drug traffickers, and we mean it,” Miller said of the two cases. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute these crimes.”
All three cases involved arrests by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
In Heath’s case, Miller was prepared to call witnesses and present evidence that Sheriff’s Office investigators battling drug importation developed information that the defendant would be traveling out of state and returning with a large amount of methamphetamine on Feb. 4, 2023. The defendant did not have a valid driver’s license and her vehicle was stopped as it returned to Bay County.
Sheriff’s Office K-9 Fila alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle and the defendant admitted deputies would find some marijuana.
But a thorough search also turned up a large package that was hidden in the rim of the spare tire, which was attached to the bottom of the defendant’s van. It contained about 224 grams of methamphetamine.
In Ware’s case, set for trial Monday, Prosecutor Zach VanDyke was prepared to prove that Sheriff’s Office Inv. Phillip Hill knew the defendant had a warrant out for his arrest and spotted him walking toward his residence Jan. 21, 2021.
The defendant ignored commands to stop and during the struggle that ensued with Hill, four baggies containing a powder substance flew out of the defendant’s jacket. Four other investigators joined the struggle and were able to handcuff the defendant. The four baggies were found to contain about 24 grams of Fentanyl. A baggie found during a search of the defendant held 7 grams of methamphetamine.
In Howard’s case, Prosecutor Miller presented evidence that Sheriff’s Office deputy Thomas Young was responding to a call when he found Howard and a co-defendant passed out in a vehicle in the parking lot of a local business.
Young was able to awaken the defendant after knocking on the window. A probable cause search of the vehicle turned up a number of illicit items, including an open safe in the back seat that held multiple packages of fentanyl and ID cards in the defendant’s name.
The defendant was placed in a patrol vehicle, where in-car cameras captured him trying to hide baggies with blue, brown and black substances in them. The substances tested positive for fentanyl.
Basford thanked the Sheriff’s Office for its work in intercepting the drugs before they were available on the streets. Miller said their work helped lead to pleas.
“They put together (Heath and Howard) those cases in a manner that made our work easy,” Miller said. “They are consummate professionals.”
A Bay County jury took less than 30 minutes this week to find Sean Michael O’Connor guilty of Trafficking in Hydrocodone, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
After Prosecutor Josh James presented the state’s case, the jury deliberated about 25 minutes before finding O’Connor, 45, guilty as charged on the trafficking charge, Unlawful Use of a Communication Device, and Driving While License Suspended/Revoked.
Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark set sentencing for Nov. 20.
James called three witnesses, including case agent Inv. Philip Hill of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.