Man from Bell suspected
of Dixie County burglary

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 31, 2015
     DIXIE COUNTY -- A view of the three sets of arrests in Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties shows the suspected criminals are not confined to allegedly working within the geographical boundaries where they reside.

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     A case in point happened in the early morning of Sunday (March 29), when a man from Bell is suspected to have burglarized an occupied dwelling in Old Town, according to a Tuesday (March 31) press release from Dixie County Sheriff's Office spokesman Maj. Scott Harden.

Benny Battle of Bell

     In the early morning hours of March 29, the DCSO was called to respond to a residence in Old Town in reference to someone breaking into a home occupied by two females, Harden said.
     When the responding deputy arrived, he was met by two females who told him that a male by the name of Benny Battle, was in their home and had gained entry into the home by forcing his way through a sliding glass door while they were sleeping.
     The victims told the deputy that Battle had lived in the home prior to their moving in approximately two years ago, Harden said.  
     Battle, 36, from Bell, was arrested and charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling. He was booked into the Dixie County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of a $10,000 bond, Harden said.

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Suicide investigation
uncovers true identity

Published March 31, 2015
     OCALA -- A man who deserted the United States Marine Corps used a false identity up until he committed suicide, according to Ocala Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Angy Scroble
AdOPDlogo032315     On March 24 at approximately 4:40 p.m., officers with the Ocala Police Department responded to 2104 S.E. Third Ave. in reference to a report of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
     Upon arrival, officers found that a subject, identified on the scene as Edgar Curtis Phillips Jr., 41, had shot himself in the head.      He had done this in front of his girlfriend inside of a house he leased, Scroble said.
     On the previous date, Phillips had been arrested on a domestic battery charge by OPD officers. He had returned to the residence upon his release and had taken his own life, Scroble said.
     While there, officers noticed drug related items in plain view, along with the weapon Phillips had used to shoot himself. Upon conducting a protective sweep of the residence, what appeared to be a clandestine methamphetamine lab was located in the basement. Officers backed out, secured the scene and contacted UDEST (Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team) to respond. Agents from this unit obtained a search warrant for the residence and further investigation revealed that this was not a methamphetamine lab, but that MDMA was being produced in the form commonly referred to as “Molly,”Scroble said.
     Agents were assisted by Ocala Fire Rescue and the Marion County Fire Rescue HAZMAT Team. In addition to the items located to produce the drug, there were packaging items and other weapons found. All were seized by UDEST Agents.
As OPD Det. Mark Fisher continued his investigation into the death of Phillips, information concerning his identity came to light. Det. Fisher was informed that the deceased person was not actually Edgar Phillips; that he was Edgar’s younger brother John Phillips.
     Det. Fisher then began to research if the deceased was in fact John Thomas Phillips, 37. He found that Edgar Phillips had died in a boating accident in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland in 1993. A criminal history check revealed that John Phillips had an active warrant for his arrest for Desertion by the U.S. Marine Corps that had been issued in 1998.
     With the help of the FBI in providing the on file prints of John Phillips for comparison with those of the deceased, OPD Latent Fingerprint Examiner Richard Pickell was able to positively identify the person who shot himself as John Thomas Phillips, DOB 37; he was definitely not Edgar Curtis Phillips Jr., 41. He assumed his brother’s identity and has been living under his name for approximately 17 years.
     The investigation into the death is now closed, as the Medical Examiner’s Office completed their autopsy that confirms death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound and his actual identity has been confirmed.


DCSO seeks graveyard vandals
Published March 30, 2015 @ 11:17 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY – The Dixie County Sheriff’s Office is searching for one or more vandals who desecrated a Confederate Army veteran’s marker, and then dug up a casket and caused damage to it, according to a Monday afternoon (March 28) press release from Dixie County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. Scott Harden.
     Late Sunday afternoon on (March 22), the DCSO received a complaint regarding the desecration of graves at the Sand Hill Cemetery located off of Southeast 351st Highway, Harden said.
      Upon the deputy’s arrival, it was discovered that two graves and been dug up. Those two graves consisted of a Confederate War veteran that passed away in 1904 and another Dixie County resident who died in 2011.
     The Confederate Army veteran’s grave appeared to never have had anyone interred in it, and it was merely marked with a headstone, Harden said.
     The other grave had extensive damage to the vault lid, Harden said, and the lid to the casket and was partially opened.
      Deputies began retrieving items of evidence that was left on the scene and made contact with DCSO supervisors.  It was decided at that point that due to darkness, the Sheriff’s Office would have volunteers with the Citizens On Patrol maintain scene security for the night.
     Sheriff’s officials made contact with Dr. Michael Warren of the C.A. Pound Institute at the University of Florida. Dr. Warren then traveled to Dixie County and met with Sheriff’s officials who, along with representatives from Rick Gooding Funeral Home, returned to Sand Hill Cemetery.
      Funeral home staff then removed what was left of the vault lid to allow Dr. Warren to inspect the remains to verify that all of the remains were there and had not been removed from the location, Harden said.  Once Dr. Warren completed his examination, the funeral home staff replaced the broken vault lid to protect the grave from the elements until family members could be notified and make a decision as to whether or not they wished to replace the damaged casket.
     The Sheriff’s Office utilized deputies from the jail and members from the Citizens on Patrol last week to check the remaining thirty-five cemeteries in the county to make sure that none of them have experienced any similar acts of vandalism or desecration.  If anyone saw any suspicious activity around the Sand Hill Cemetery during the weekend of the March 21-22, please call the Sheriff’s Office at 352-498-1245.


Woman injured in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 30, 2015 @ 10:47 p.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY  -- A 29-year-old woman suffered minor injuries in a crash in Gilchrist County on Friday afternoon, according to a Monday night press release from Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Marlin Kennard.
     Jillian Akins, 29, of Trenton was driving a 2006 Honda CRV was traveling south on Southeast 70th Avenue, south of State Road 26 at 3:05 p.m. on Friday, the FHP said. She was wearing a seat belt and was the only occupant in the vehicle, the FHP said.

     Gary Jones, 40, was driving a 2011 Nissan Quest north on Southeast 70th Avenue, the FHP said. His passengers were Brittany Jones, 26, and Landon Jones, 3. They are all of Trenton and were all wearing seat belts or child restraints, the FHP said.
     The vehicle that Akins was driving drifted into Jones' lane, the FHP said.
     The front left of Honda struck the front left of Nissan, the FHP said. After impact Nissan
came to rest on the East grass shoulder of Southeast 70th Avenue, and the Honda traveled off the east grass shoulder, where it struck a wire fence and came to final rest, the FHP said.
     Akins was the only person who suffered minor injuries and was taken to North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, the FHP said.
     Charges are pending, the FHP said.


Man hurt in crash
Published March 28, 2015 @ 12:07 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY -- A 68-year-old Ocklawaha man was seriously injured early Friday morning (March 27) in a single-car crash, according to a press release from Florida Highway Patrol Lt. P.V. Riordan, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Kristine Schultz.
     John Carl Blanchard was driving a 1997 Ford Crown Victoria south on Marion County Road 314A at 5:55 a.m. on Friday, the FHP said.
     For unknown reasons the vehicle veered off the roadway, and traveled on the west grass shoulder where it struck several large trees, the FHP said. After striking the trees the Crown Victoria was redirected back onto the southbound lane of CR-314A, where it came to final rest, the FHP said.
     Blanchard was wearing a seat belt, and alcohol was not a factor in the crash, the FHP said. The victim was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center, the FHP said.


LCSO searches for missing man
Published March 27, 2015 @ 9:07 a.m.
     BRONSON -- The Levy County Sheriff’s Office is seeking any information the public may have concerning the whereabouts of Michael Wayne Floyd, 27).


MissingLCSO032715     Floyd left his home located on Highway 40 West in Inglis on (Monday) March 23, 2015 at approximately 12 p.m. to run an errand for his family. His destination was in Clearwater. He never arrived at his destination, LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond said.
     Credit card records indicate Floyd stopped at the BP gas station located at 662 U.S. Highway 19 N.E. in Crystal River shortly after noon on Monday. He purchased gasoline and video surveillance shows an unknown individual was with Floyd at this location, Tummond said.
     On Wednesday (March 25), a parking lot attendant located Floyd’s in an open parking lot in Chicago. The vehicle is a silver-colored 2006 Honda Accord fiour-door with Florida tag DIHW19. Floyd was not with the vehicle. The vehicle keys, his cell phone and other personal items were found inside the car, Tummond said.
     The LCSO has not confirmed if there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Any person who could assist in locating Michael Wayne Floyd is asked to contact the Levy County Sheriff’s Office at 352-486-5111 or anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-349-8477.
Stores pass undercover test
Published March 27, 2015
     WILLISTON -- On Wednesday (March 25), 2015 agents from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco working in conjunction with the Williston Police Department conducted an undercover operation inside the city limits of Williston in an effort to ensure that the area convenience stores were compiling with the Florida laws and not selling alcoholic beverages to underage persons, WPD Chief Dennis Strow.
     As a result of the operation it was determined that all of the stores in Williston comply with the laws and would not sell alcoholic beverages to the underage person, Strow said.
     "Operations such as this one are an ongoing cooperative effort between the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco and the Williston Police Department to reduce the availability of alcoholic beverages to our children," Strow added.

Chiefland Rotary hears
about school resource officers

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 26, 2015 @ 8:47 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND -- The Chiefland Rotary Club heard about the duties of School Resource Officers as Levy County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Max Long was a guest speaker on Tuesday (March 25).
     Levy County Superintendent of Schools Robert Hastings said the SRO program is strong in Levy County. He spoke a time when some young thugs threatened him. Hastings took precautions after that, with help from Long.

RotChf032515A     Each school in the county has procedures in place, Hastings said, in the event of various emergency situations. These include everything from a lock-down to an evacuation of the school.

Chiefland Rotary Club President Rob Alexander gives a pen to Levy County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Max Long as a gift from the club to the sergeant for his service as a guest speaker.

     Sgt. Long said the LCSO tests each school by going to the school, unannounced, and giving the administration a piece of paper with a scenario on it. Then, the officers work with the school to determine if they are following the plans.
     After the exercise, the actions and reactions are reviewed, he said.
     Long said he and other SROs are often called upon to counsel and mentor children. When a child comes off a bus, Long can sometimes tell that boy or girl is not feeling happy, or they are angry or sad, and he works to help them.
     From the ranks of the various SROs, Deputy Grant Sandlin is known to be the top officer for school safety. He is invited to other school districts to help them improve their safety programs, Long said of Sandlin.
     The guest speaker also shared information about the LCSO Citizen On Patrol volunteers, Seniors Versus Crime, and the summer Teen Driver Improvement program

Trustee returned to
Alachua County Jail

Published March 26, 2015 @ 11:17 a.m.
Updated March 26, 2015 @ 3:57 a.m.
     ALACHUA COUNTY -- An inmate who walked away from the Alachua County Jail was returned, Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Arthur Forgey said.
      The inmate had walked away from an outside work detail on the grounds of the Alachua County Jail, located at 3333 N.E. 39th Ave., according to a press release from ACSO .


ACSOescape032615     Terrance L. Johnson, 31, reported for his work assignment at 7:36 a.m. this morning (March 26). His assignment was on a cleaning crew responsible for cleaning public areas both inside and outside of the jail, Forgey said.

Terrance Johnson

     Johnson had worked this detail several times within the last month. At the time of his disappearance, Johnson was wearing orange pants and an orange shirt, Forgey said.
     Johnson was serving a 364-day sentence for a probation violation on original charges of fraud and grand theft.
     The trustee was returned to the jail early in the afternoon, Forgey said.

Inglis man involved in
Marion County school bus crash

School bus driver cited
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 26, 2015 @ 10:37 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY -- A pickup truck hit a school bus in Marion County on Thursday morning (March 26), resulting in minor injuries to the school bus driver, according to a press release from Florida Highway Patrol Lt. J.L. Strickland based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper J. Hilliard.
     There were no passengers in the school bus, the FHP said, and the pickup truck driver did not suffer any injuries.

     Mary White, 57, of Ocala was driving a 2009 ICRP Marion County public school bus as it exited the Diamond Oil gas station located at Northeast 36th Avenue and 35th Street, the FHP said, as she had planned to proceed southbound on Northeast 36th Avenue.
     Clinton Smith, 41, of Inglis was driving a 2008 Ford F450 northbound on Northeast 36th Avenue at 7:11 a.m., the FHP said.
     The school bus entered Northeast 36th Avenue, driving into the path of the Ford pickup truck, resulting in a violation of right-of-way, the FHP said.
    The left front of the bus struck the right rear side of the Ford, the FHP said.
     Both vehicles were driven from the roadway, the FHP said. White suffered minor injuries and was transported via ambulance to Munroe Regional Medical Center, the FHP said.
     White was cited for violation of right-of-way, the FHP said.

adLCSOStar1LCSO arrests
to March 29

     Publisher’s note: The following information was provided by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office in regard to people arrested. These defendants were arrested by the LCSO and other agencies. Every person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until he or she is proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


DWLSR– Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
Poss. – Possession
DUI – Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol or other drugs
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
RWOV– Resisting Arrest Without Violence

Published March 30, 2015 @ 2:57 p.m.

MARCH 23
     Benny Jay Battle, 36, of Bell was arrested for DUI – alcohol or drugs, failure to register motor vehicle, DWLSR – third or subsequent offense. Bond $20,500.
     Shawn Grieves, 45, of Chiefland was arrested for battery – touch or strike. Bond $25,000.
     John Allen Orenchak, 43, of Trenton was arrested for DUI – alcohol or drugs. Bond $2,500.
     Derek Welsh, 33, of Otter Creek was arrested for two counts of non-support of children or spouse. Bond $600.
MARCH 24
     Scott Stephen Shackleton, 45, of Archer was arrested for DUI – alcohol or drugs. Bond $2,500.
MARCH 25
     James Dale Bryant, 44, of Old Town was arrested for larceny grand theft - $300 to less than $5,000. Bond $75,000.
     Kirsten Michelle Moore, 18, of Old Town was arrested for larceny grand theft - $300 to less than $5,000. Bond $50,000.
MARCH 26
     Steven James Anderson, 21, of Chiefland was arrested for carrying concealed weapon/ firearm; marijuana – poss. not more than 20 grams, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $21,000.
     Kenneth Wade Carpenter, 32, of Williston was arrested for battery – commit felony battery, kidnap- false imprisonment – adult, damage property – criminal mischief – $200 to under $1,000, hinder- delay- prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge. Bond $410,000.
     Eric Charles Kempf, 53, of Citra was arrested for non-support of children or spouse. Bond $150.
     Patrick Shon Murphy, 21, of Chiefland was arrested for poss. of weapon or ammo by convicted Florida felon. Bond $10,000.
MARCH 27
     Kayla Arlene Bova Broyles, 24, of Archer was arrested for dealing in stolen property. ROR.
     Angel Galicia Saucedo, 19, of Fanning Springs was arrested for operating a motor vehicle without valid driver license, poss. of cocaine, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $5,000.
     Howard Israel Gumpricht, 68, of Palm Harbor was arrested for poss. controlled substance without prescription, poss. marijuana over 20 grams, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $2,000.
     Joseph William Lovetro, 36, of Williston was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. No bond amount was given.
MARCH 28
     Milagros Garcia, 32, of Miramar was arrested for DWLSR. Bond $2,500.
     Christopher Lee Holder, 32, of Bronson was arrested for domestic battery – touch or strike, cruelty toward child – abuse child without great bodily harm. Bond $8,000.
     Karl Martin McGee, 24, of Williston was arrested for aggravated assault with deadly weapon without intent to kill. Bond $10,000.
MARCH 29
     Jessica Marie LeBron, 25, of Williston was arrested for aggravated assault. Bond $10,000.
     Kieth Andrew Shelton, 27, of Belleview was arrested for assault with intent to commit a felony, crimes against person – corrupt by threat public servant or family. No bond amount was given.

 adDCSODCSO arrests
to March 29


      Publisher’s note:
The following information was provided by the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office. These defendants were arrested by the GCSO and other agencies. Every person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until he or she is proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



DWLSR
– Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
Poss. – Possession

DUI – Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol or other drugs
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
RWOV– Resisting Arrest Without Violence

Published March 30, 2015 @ 2:57 p.m.


MARCH 23
     Charles Donald Deas, 46, of Live Oak was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. Bond $5,000.
MARCH 24
     Jennifer Nicole Bellot, 33, of Cross City was arrested for tampering with evidence – false report. No bond amount was given.
     William Andrew Pinner, 44, of Cross City was arrested for battery – spouse. No bond amount was given.
MARCH 26
     Christopher C. Davis, 29, of Old Town was arrested for DWLSR. Bond $500.
     Mary Hoover, 34, of Old Town was arrested for welfare fraud. No bond amount was given.
     Gatlin Michael Clark, 23, of Ocala was arrested for three out-of-county warrants. Bond $55,000.
MARCH 27
     A 13-year-old juvenile from Cross City was arrested for eluding, no driver license. No bond amount was given.
MARCH 28
     Eric Kleckner, 29, of Old Town was arrested for a Gilchrist County warrant. No bond amount was given.
     Corneila Denise Cannon, 45, of Steinhatchee was arrested for weapon by convicted felon. Bond $1,000.
     Edwin David Congdon, 45, of Steinhatchee was arrested for concealed weapon, DWLSR. Bond $4,000.
MARCH 29
     Benny J. Battle, 36, of Bell was arrested for burglary residence. Bond $10,000.
     Bobbi Jo DeLoach, 37, of Old Town was arrested for a moving traffic violation. No bond amount was given.


adGCSOGCSO arrests
to March 29

      Publisher’s note: The following information was provided by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office. These defendants were arrested by the GCSO and other agencies. Every person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until he or she is proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



DWLSR
– Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
Poss. – Possession
DUI – Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol or other drugs
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
RWOV– Resisting Arrest Without Violence

Published March 30, 2015 @ 2:57 p.m.

MARCH 23
     Christina Leigh Lance, 35, of Bell was arrested for aggravated battery – offender knew/ should have known victim pregnant. Bond $5,000.
MARCH 26
     Cecelia S. Worley, 72, of Branford was arrested for battery – second or subsequent offense. Bond $1,500.
MARCH 27
     Danielle Dean Gainey, 33, of Trenton was arrested for trespassing – fail to leave property upon order by owner. No bond amount was given.
MARCH 28
     Jimmy Raymond Dumas, 22, of Lake City was arrested for DWLSR – first offense, marijuana – poss. not more than 20 grams, poss./ use/ manufacture paraphernalia to transport drugs. No bond amount was given.
     Lindsey Amelia Fisk, 30, of Old Town was arrested for trespassing – fail to leave property upon order by owner, poss. of drug paraphernalia, introduction, removal or possession of certain articles. No bond amount was given.

-- UPDATED --

TUE.  MARCH 31  9:27 p.m.
Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties



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