Office of the State Attorney

Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida

 
 
 

 

In The News 2010


Updated: 04/02/2014 07:00 AM

Our Assistant State Attorneys are in court every working day doing their best to keep all of our citizens safe and to maintain the quality of life that makes Southwest Florida so special to all of us.  Although the local media highlights some of the cases that we successfully prosecute, there are a great many of them that never get mentioned.  What follows is a sampling of some of the convictions that our trial teams of prosecutors, investigators, and clerical staff, all working closely with law enforcement, have obtained this year.


 

Animal Cruelty Sentencing

defendant Defendant Robert Tracey, of Fort Myers, was sentenced to 4 years of probation for an animal cruelty case that stems from a 2008 arrest. Tracey’s home was found in deplorable condition with feces covering much of the floor throughout the home. Dogs, some in very poor condition, were removed from the home by Lee County Domestic Animal Services.

Tracey plead guilty to 4 counts of Animal Cruelty. His probation will be handled through mental health court. He also had to provide a DNA sample since he is now a convicted felon.

As part of his probation, he is also not allowed to own animals, live with anyone who has animals or be involved in the adoption of animals. Tracey was also required to pay more than $1500 in court costs and a fine. Assistant State Attorneys Stephanie Russell and Bryan Kaufman handled the case.

Crimes Against Children

defendant Stephan Olive, of Fort Myers, was sentenced to 3 years of probation for 3 counts of Contributing to the Deliquency of a Minor. The charges stem from a sexually explicit letter and emails sent to a teenager. The 58-year-old also is not allowed to contact the victim, have any unsupervised contact with children and must have an evaluation to see if he needs to undergo sexually deviant counseling. Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock, of our Special Victims Unit, handled the case.

Child Molester Sentenced

defendant Everton Hinds was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by sexual offender probation for as long he lives after being found guilty of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation on a Child Under 12. Hinds was inappropriately touching a young girl in Lee County on days when she was home sick from school. Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock, of our Special Victims Unit, handled the case.

Sexual Battery

Willie Gavin was found guilty of Sexual Battery following a two day trial in Fort Myers. The defendant qualifies as a prison release reoffender which mean he qualifies to be sentenced to a 15 year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock of our Special Victims Unit handled the case.

Child Molestation Cases

John Dragovich was found guilty of Lewd Molestation in a Collier County trial. The child victim and a child witness both testified at trial. The defendant has a prior sex conviction from 1988 and served 25 years in prison. The State Attorney’s Office prosecuted him as a prison releasee reoffender in this recent case. Sentencing is scheduled for October 21st. Assistant State Attorneys Steven Maresca and Deborah Cunningham handled this case.

In LaBelle, defendant Anthony Steele was found guilty of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation, charged as a Life Felony. He was accused of molesting a girl under 12 years old. The child victim took the stand against her accuser. The jury came back with a guilty verdict in just over an hour. Assistant State Attorney Jill Cabai handled the case.

Speeding Case

Steven Garvey was convicted of Willful Wanton Reckless Driving after a jury trial in Naples recently. Garvey had been arrested after driving at 109 MPH through downtown Naples. It should be noted that this is not the Steve Garvey who played first base for the Dodgers and the Padres and was a ten-time All Star. However, the Johnny Bench who served on the jury WAS the Hall of Fame catcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds! Garvey was sentenced to 30 days in jail and lost his license for six months. State Attorneys Juan Escobar and Timothy Altieri were the battery for the state.

Battery Charges

A juvenile trial in LaBelle ended in a guilty verdict against Janisha Gordan. She was found guilty of Aggravated Battery Upon a Pregnant School Employee, Battery on a School Employee and Affray. It centered on a fight at Moore Haven Middle School. Sanctions were placed on the teenager by the Department of Juvenile Justice for her actions. Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Martin handled the case.

Robbery Charges

The 2009 armed robbery of a popular convenience store in Naples has led to one man in prison and another awaiting sentencing.
Peter Alexander was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by 10 years probation for Robbery with a Firearm, Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle and Grand Theft.
Co-defendant Kenneth Frazier plead straight to the court on the same charges. He will be sentenced on November 15th. Frazier qualifies as a Habitual Felony Offender.
Assistant State Attorneys Lisa Mead and Mara Marzano handled the cases.
Sex Offender
Lee County resident Duane Tarket was found guilty of Failure to Register as a Sexual Offender. He did not get a valid Florida driver’s license or ID card. There was no evidence presented at trial as to why he didn’t fulfill his requirements. Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock handled the case.

Murder Sentencings

Jennifer Glothin was found guilty of First Degree Felony Murder and Robbery with a Firearm for the murder of Ernesto Rolin in Lee County. Glothin was sentenced to life in prison. Assistant State Attorney Bob Lee of our Homicide Unit handled the case.

Fort Myers resident Anibal Mayor was sentenced to life in prison for the 2008 murder of 60-year-old Dean Blietz. Mayor was found guilty of First Degree Murder and Robbery with a Firearm. Assistant State Attorney Bob Lee handled the case.

Javier Torres will spend the next 15 years in prison after being convicted of Manslaughter for strangling a woman in 2009 in Lee County. Assistant State Attorney Marie Doerr of our Homicide Unit handled the case.

Elkins Sentenced

 defendant Richard Elkins was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of First Degree Murder for the murder of Obed Flores. Flores was beaten to death by Elkins behind a Bonita Springs strip mall.

Elkins was also found guilty of Simple Battery and given an additional 364 days for that charge. Assistant State Attorney Bob Lee of our Homicide Unit handled the case.

Sentencings in Triple Murder Case

Two more people have been sentenced for their roles in the murders of three Bonita Springs men who were found shot to death in a car in Lehigh Acres in 2007.
Peter Belvilus and Georgie Guerrier, both 22 years old, were sentenced to 8 years in prison each, followed by two years of probation for the charge of Accessory after the Fact. Both men testified at trial against their co-defendant Lubert Jules, who has already been sentenced to three life sentences for the murders.
One more defendant, Isaac Wesnel, is still being sought. Assistant State Attorney Marie Doerr of our Homicide Unit handled the cases.

Murder Sentencing

Victor Jauregui-Borrero was sentenced to 25 years in prison for Second Degree Murder and 5 years in prison for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
46-year-old Jauregui-Borrero shot his son to death in 2009 in Lehigh Acres. Assistant State Attorney Bob Lee of our Homicide Unit handled the case.

Manslaughter Sentencing

Daniel Gillihan, 29, was sentenced to 7 years in prison followed by 5 years probation for Manslaughter for the stabbing of transient, David Wells, in San Carlos Park in 2009. Assistant State Attorney Tyler Lovejoy handled the case.

SaintLot Sentenced

Roland SaintLot was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being found guilty of Attempted Second Degree murder by a Charlotte County jury. Assistant State Attorneys Martin Stark and Jennifer Garczewski handled the case.
Saintlot also faces charges in another case; Attempted Felony Murder and Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon for another 2009 incident. Assistant State Attorney Martin Stark is also handling that case.

Witness Tampering

Defendant James Mathis was found guilty of Tampering with a witness, Victim or Informant. This stemmed from a 2002 Attempted Second Degree Murder case in Lee County in which a witness did not appear for trial.
A sentencing date for Mathis has not yet been set. Mathis faces a maximum punishment of life in prison. Assistant State Attorney David Maijala handled the case.

Life in Prison

 defendant John Phillip Dragovich was sentenced to life in prison for Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Victim Under 12 Years of Age, after his most recent crime of pinching a 6 year-old girl on the buttocks at the Super Target in Naples in 2008.
Assistant State Attorneys Steve Maresca and Deborah Cunningham filed on Dragovich as a prison release-reoffender allowing the judge to increase the potential sentence to life. This is due to Dragovich’s criminal past of sexual acts against young children.

Maximum Sentence

Ahmad Hayward was sentenced to the maximum of 15 years in prison for Second Degree Lewd Battery for crimes against a young girl in 2009.  Assistant State Attorney Denise Kiser handled the case.

Guilty of Murder

Cesar Contreras was found guilty as charged of First Degree Murder, Arson (of a vehicle) and Kidnapping for the attack on Adam Cortes. Cortes was beaten, kicked,
tied-up, suffocated and shot before his body was loaded into his vehicle and burned in Lehigh Acres. The state called 23 witnesses during the 4 day trial.

Contreras is scheduled to be sentenced in June and faces life in prison. Two co-defendants have already been sentenced to life in prison. Assistant State Attorney Dan Feinberg of our Homicide Unit handled this case with co-counsel from Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Gutmore.

Habitual Felony Offender

Kevin Palmer of Fort Myers was sentenced to 7 years in prison for a high-speed chase through Collier County during which he hit a Florida Highway Patrol car. Palmer has a history of trouble with the law, he has been sentenced in the past for a variety of crimes. Palmer will also be on probation for two years following his release from prison. Assistant State Attorney Chris Klink handled the case.  

Crimes Against Children

Heidi Wunsch was found guilty of Child Abuse, Aggravated Child Neglect following a 3 day trial in Charlotte County. A young boy, only 3 years old, was found by police after an anonymous phone call, with black eyes, numerous bruises and a bite mark on his leg.

Cape Coral Double Murder Case Over

  defendants

The last of the defendants in the so called “Cash Feenz” case has been sentenced. The case involved 10 defendants who were accused of being involved with the torture and killing of Cape Coral teenagers Jeffrey and Alexis Sosa. The two were killed in 2006 after stopping by a birthday party.
Three defendants were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison; Kemar Johnston, Roderick Washington and Ashley Toye. The other defendants were sentenced as follows; Kenneth Lopez was sentenced to 50 years in prison, Paul Nunes to 40 years in prison, Alexis Fernandex to 26 years in prison, Iriana Santos to 25 years in prison, Melissa Rivera to 20 years in prison, Michael Balint to 14 years and Cody Roux to 14 years.    
Assistant State Attorneys Marie Doerr and Bob Lee of our Homicide Unit handled all of the cases. They worked closely with the Cape Coral Police Department to put this complex case together.
Murder Sentencing

    Sheddrick Frazier

Fort Myers resident, 25-year-old Sheddrick Frazier, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Freddie Johnson Jr. in 2008. Johnson was killed when Frazier walked up to a crime scene of another unrelated shooting and fired into the crowd of spectators. Assistant State Attorney Dan Feinberg of our Homicide Unit handled the case.
Murder Conviction

 Anibal Mayor

Anibal Mayor was convicted of First-Degree Murder for the stabbing death of Dan Blietz in Fort Myers in 2008. He was also convicted of Robbery with a Deadly Weapon.
28-year-old Mayor had gotten out of prison just about a month prior to the murder after serving time for grand theft and burglary. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. He faces life in prison. Assistant State Attorney Bob Lee of our Homicide Unit handled the case with Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock as co-counsel. 

Conviction Stands

Ashley Toye

Ashley Toye, the 21-year-old sentenced to life in prison has had her conviction upheld. She had appealed for a new trial alleging her defense attorney was ineffective. Assistant State Attorney Cynthia Ross, the head of our Post-Conviction Unit handled the appeal.
Toye was convicted in 2008 of two counts each of First-Degree Murder, Kidnapping and Aggravated Battery and one count of Tampering with Evidence. It was for the deaths of Jeffrey and Alexis Sosa that was part of the so-called “Cash Feenz” trials.

Charlotte Murder Sentencing

Defendant Robert Joseph Garcia, Jr. of Charlotte County was sentenced to 40 years in prison for Armed Home-Invasion Robbery, Second Degree Felony Murder, Aggravated Battery while Possessing a Firearm, and Burglary with a Battery and Actual Possession of a Firearm. 
In this case, Garcia broke into a home along with  co-defendant, A.J. Mayo who accidentally shot and killed himself. Garcia was charged with Mayo’s death along with the other charges under Florida’s felony murder law. Assistant State Attorneys John Burns and Scott Patterson handled the case.

Fatal DUI Crash Sentencing

A Port Charlotte man, Ronald Smith, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for driving under the influence and crashing into another vehicle in February 2009, killing a 7-year-old girl. The crash also injured her 10-year-old sister and their father. In addition to the prison sentence, Smith’s license was also permanently revoked. Assistant State Attorney Ron Smith, no relation to the defendant, handled the case.

Career Criminal

Assistant State Attorney’s Lisa Mead and Mara Marzano in our Collier County office got a guilty verdict against defendant Sean Andre Singleton. He was found guilty of Burglary of a Dwelling and Grand Theft. 
Singleton is a  career criminal in both Collier and Lee Counties and qualifies as a Habitual Felony Offender. In this recent case, Collie County Sheriff’s Deputies recovered a “smoking cigar” at the scene. DNA on the cigar came back to Singleton.

Attempted Murder Sentencing

Defendant Halden Casey was sentenced to 40 years in prison for Attempted First Degree Murder with a Weapon. The 29-year-old had viciously attacked his then-girlfriend. Assistant State Attorneys Lisa Mead and Mara Marzano with our Collier County office handled the case.

Sex Offender Sentencing

A 31-year-old Port Charlotte man was sentenced to 7 years in prison for the lewd or lascivious molestation of a 14-year-old girl. Rasheem Stewart will also be registered as a sex offender and will be on 8 years of sex offender probation when he is released.  Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Garczewski handled the case.

Shook Sentenced

Joseph Shook was sentenced to two life sentences for the murder of his wife Melissa Shook. She vanished in mid 2007 from her Lee County home and was found 5 days after being reported missing, buried in a shallow grave near her house.

Melissa, the mother of three, and her husband were in the process of divorcing when she disappeared. Shook received a life sentence for each count he was convicted of; Second-Degree Murder and Kidnapping. The case was handled by Assistant State Attorneys Bob Lee and Francine Donnorummo.

Schack Sentenced

Mark Schack was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of Second Degree Murder for the murder of his girlfriend 32-year-old Amy Boscarino. She was shot in the neck in the couple’s San Carlos park home. Schack claimed he was cleaning his gun around  2AM when he dropped the gun and it went off, killing Amy. Prosecutors Dan Feinberg and Andrew Marcus used a lot of forensic evidence to prove Schack’s story was not true. It took a jury less than an hour to find Schack guilty.

Brewington Sentenced

Nicole Brewington of Fort Myers was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child in the death of her son, Zahid Jones Jr. Zahid died in 2007 after being beaten by Brewington’s boyfriend, Kashon Scott. Scott was previously sentenced to 60 years in prison for the crime. Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock handled the case.

Gayle Sentenced

Phillipe Gayle of Cape Coral was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for Aggravated Manslaughter for the death of his 6-year-old stepson, Joshua Jenkins. The little boy had multiple bruises, severe trauma to his body internally and externally, as well as bite marks. He died at a local hospital in 2008. Assistant State Attorney Francine Donnorummo handled the case. 

Ortega Sentenced

Octavio Torres Ortega was sentenced to life in prison immediately after a Lee County jury found him guilty of Sexual Battery Upon a Child Less Than 12 Years of Age. The jury came back with the guilty verdict just before 7 p.m. on January 21st. Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock handled the case. Ortega has other similar charges pending. 

Benavides Sentenced

Abenamar Benavides was sentenced to two life sentences after being convicted of the First Degree Murder and Kidnapping of Fort Myers resident Adam Cortes. Assistant State Attorneys Dan Feinberg and Marie Doerr of our Homicide Unit handled the case. Co-defendant Cesar Contreras is still awaiting trial.

Mitchell Sentenced

Kenneth Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison for the Second Degree Murder of a North Fort Myers man in 2008. Mitchell had a 10-20-Life firearm enhancement on his murder charge since a firearm was used in the crime. Assistant State Attorney Bob Lee handled the case.

Battery on a Pregnant Woman

Emanuel Leshawn Ross was sentenced to 15 years in prison for Aggravated Battery Upon a Pregnant Victim and 5 years in prison for False Imprisonment, which was the maximum sentence.

Ross beat up his ex-girlfriend who was pregnant with his baby. The mother and baby survived the attack. Ross was sentenced as a prison release re-offender. Assistant State Attorney Sara Mabrey handled the case.

Home Invasion Sentence

Christopher Shanks Jr. was sentenced to 14 years in prison for a 2008 home invasion in Port Charlotte. He is one of three people charged in the crime. The fourth suspect was killed.

The 27-year-old plead guilty to Home Invasion with a  Firearm and Aggravated Battery with a Firearm.  Assistant State Attorney John Burns handled the case. The other two defendants, Robert Garcia Jr. and Anthony Johnson still have cases pending.

Rapist Sentenced

Bernald Ramos-Vasquez was sentenced to life in prison as a prison release reoffender. He was found guilty of beaking into the trailer of a Hendry County woman, raping her, and then stealing her money. Assistant State Attorneys Jill Cabai and Hamid Hunter handled the case.

Life in Prison

Joe Nathan Willingham, who is already serving a 25 year sentence for Robbery with a Mask was convicted by a Hendry County jury of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm and Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle. He was involved in an altercation with the victim when he drew a 40-caliber firearm and fired more than ten rounds at the victim who was standing near a crowd of people. The victim was hit once and survived.
Willingham was sentenced to life in prison consecutive to the previous 25 years due to the 10-20-life law since a firearm was used. Assistant State Attorney Hamid Hunter handled the case.

Mendez Found guilty

Juan Mendez Jr. was found guilty of two counts of Second-Degree Murder for the 2006 murders of Whitney Mendez and Lorena Stone. Whitney was his estranged wife and Lorena was her mother.

Together, the women had been stabbed a total of 47 times in their Lehigh Acres home. Javon, the son of Whitney and Juan, just two years old, was found alive outside in a highchair when the bodies were discovered.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours before coming back with a guilty verdict on both counts. The trial lasted 7 days and was handled by Chief Assistant State Attorney Randall McGruther and Assistant State Attorney Cynthia Ross.

The trial made national news as it was carried live on the TruTV cable network for the In Session program.

Mendez will be sentenced on February 22nd. He faces two life prison terms.

Habitual Violent Felony Offender

Jean Jean Baptiste was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences as an habitual violent felony offender in Naples court.  Baptiste was convicted in three separate cases that were consolidated for trial.

He was found guilty of First Degree Burglary while Armed, Aggravated Battery with a Firearm, 2 counts of First Degree Burglary with Assault or Battery, Burglary of a Dwelling, and 2 counts of Battery on a Person Aged 65 or Older.  Baptiste burglarized neighbors’ homes. Assistant State Attorneys Lisa Mead and Mara Marzano handled the case.

Rape Sentence

A Naples man was sentenced to 9 ½ years in prison as an habitual felony offender for raping a woman. The woman was sleeping on a friend’s couch when Jaime Acosta approached her. Assistant State Attorney Deborah Cunningham handled the case.

Embezzlement Sentencing

A Collier County woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by 10 years probation for embezzling more than $200,000 from a former employer. 60-year old Mary Jo Clark stole from John Rice Plumbing. Assistant State Attorney James Molenaar handled the case.

Career Criminal Sentenced

Carl Lloyd James was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a charge of Robbery with a Firearm. He was sentenced as a habitual felony offender. James will have to serve 100% of the first 10 years of his sentence under Florida’s 10-20-Life law. The crime dealt with a 28-year-old James robbing another man at gunpoint in Immokalee.
His co-defendant, 23-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez was also convicted of Robbery with a Firearm. Rodriguez was also sentenced to 20 years in prison. Assistant State Atttorney Mara Marzano in our Collier County office handled the cases.

Felony Animal Cruelty

Hendry County resident Willie Parker was found guilty of Felony Animal Cruelty with enhancement for beating his dog to death with a garden hose. He was found guilty and given a suspended sentence of 24 months in prison as part of a 36 month probation sentence. 
Since the jury found him guilty of the enhancement he is also mandated to pay $2,500 and has to undergo a psychological evaluation, along with any treatment recommended. He is also no longer allowed to have any contact with animals. Assistant State Attorney Jill Cabai handled the case.    

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