Family hopes someone will come forward to help solve 2019 murder in St. Johns County
The family of a St. Augustine man mysteriously murdered in a World Golf Village condo is desperate for answers and turned to the News4JAX I-TEAM for help. It’s a case with ties to a high-profile St. Johns County case that has received national attention over the years.
Grenade detonated after routine traffic stop in Florida
Sheriff's deputies making a routine traffic stop in north Florida found a grenade inside a pickup truck. The 65-year-old driver was initially pulled over for having expired tags, but Flagler County Sheriff's deputies also found that his driver's license had expired in 2019, the agency said in a Facebook post. Police searched his vehicle and found one glass pipe in the driver's side door, and another in a storage compartment.news.yahoo.com
Ex-St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office finance official accused of embezzlement takes plea deal
A former finance director for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office accused of stealing from the agency has pleaded guilty to multiple charges in a plea agreement with the State Attorney’s Office that could put her in jail for more than seven years, court records show.
Deputy hit by car while directing traffic in St. Johns County
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Deputy is going to be OK and suffered no major injuries after she was hit by a car Tuesday night. The Florida Highway Patrol crash report shows the deputy was directing traffic around a crash on State Road 16 at Woodlawn Road when she was hit. According to FHP, a 32-year-old Jacksonville man hit the deputy with the passenger side of his vehicle while turning onto Woodlawn Road. The deputy was not transported to the hospital. News4Jax requested the full crash report.
Missing woman found safe, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office says
Because the woman is no longer missing, News4Jax has opted to remove her name and photo from this article. A missing 56-year-old woman who left her family home Saturday was found safe Sunday, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the woman had last been seen driving her vehicle in the area of State Road 16 and Interstate 95. Less than two hours after deputies asked for the public’s help locating the woman, the Sheriff’s Office announced late Sunday morning that she was found safe.
Deputy repairs St. Johns County woman’s door after call for service
Deputy Lewis repaired a St. John County woman's front door after it was breached during a call for service. A St. Johns County deputy got a shoutout on social media Thursday for going the extra mile on a recent call for service. But after clearing the residence, Deputy Lewis wanted to make sure the family felt safe for the rest of the night, so he grabbed some tools and bought some supplies to repair the damage to the doorway. “She was gracious for the repairs so she and her child could sleep peacefully,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Way to go, Deputy Lewis!”
Body found along A1A identified as 24-year-old Middleburg woman
A body found Sunday along A1A was identified as a 24-year-old Middleburg woman, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. Early Sunday morning is when the Sheriff’s Office, along with the Florida Highway Patrol, responded to what was believed to be a deadly hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian along A1A, just south of J. Turner Butler Boulevard. Investigators said they began an aerial search and eventually found Gibson’s vehicle abandoned in a gated apartment complex in Middleburg, which was some distance away from her boyfriend’s home. Investigators said the vehicle was seized by the Sheriff’s Office while detectives began searching for Gibson’s boyfriend. News4Jax has been in contact with Gibson’s family members, who are asking for privacy after their unexpected loss.
$10,000 reward offered in St. Augustine double murder
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. The St. Johns County Sheriffs Office is offering a $10,000 reward for tips leading to arrests in the cold case murders of two men whose remains were found in a burned SUV. The bodies of Charles Durden, 27, and Steffon Larry, 26, were found inside the torched Dodge SUV in November 2016 in St. Augustine. Mark Kapelka, the lead detective on the case, told News4Jax the case went cold weeks ago. Its very hard.After reviewing the case, Kapelka said, it became clear that some of the original anonymous tipsters likely have information vital to catching these mens killer or killers. Hes asking those people to call back, either through Crime Stoppers or the Sheriffs Office.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office re-accredited, receives top honors
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office has received its eighth consecutive accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, receiving the group’s Excelsior Recognition for the fourth time in a row. The assessment team leader, Lt. Mark Buffington, told the Sheriff’s Office that it was sone of the smoothest onsite visited he had done in 11 years and would encourage other agencies to tour the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office to glean ideas and processes. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office was initially accredited by CFA in 1996. The Egon Bittner Award is presented to chief executive officers who have commanded a CALEA-accredited agency for 15 or more continuous years. “It is a true honor to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the men and women of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
Mother of man beaten by St. Johns County deputy says there is a pattern of abuse at agency
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The day after State Attorney’s announced they are pressing charges against a former St. Johns County deputy for beating an unarmed man last year during an arrest, the victim’s attorney and his mother are speaking out about what they are calling a pattern of police brutality in St. Johns County. Attorney John Phillips points to mug shots of white men in their 20s who he said were each badly beaten during their arrest by St. Johns County deputies. Cell phone video recorded by a bystander showed St. Johns County Deputy Anthony Deleo beating and tasing Christopher Butler last December during an arrest along County Road 210. Not only is Butler’s mother and lawyer asking people to come forward with more information about this case, Phillips said the beating is part of a dangerous pattern. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Chuck Mulligan said once a lawsuit is filed, the agency will respond appropriately.
Ex-St. Johns County deputy charged after man beaten during traffic stop
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – An ex-deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, who was seen on video beating a man during a December traffic stop, has been charged with aggravated battery, according to the State Attorney’s Office. DeLeo was fired from the Sheriff’s Office. In the video, Butler can be heard screaming and moaning when he was shocked with a Taser several times. Later in the video, DeLeo comes at him with a baton. In the report from the Sheriff’s Office, investigators said Butler was being uncooperative and was not responding to commands.
Sheriff: Suspect wounded after firing shots at deputy in Sawgrass
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A man discovered inside a stolen vehicle in Sawgrass was “gravely wounded” after firing shots at a deputy on Wednesday, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect then locked himself in the vehicle, Shoar said. About 2:15 p.m., Shoar said, a SWAT team used tear gas to extricate the suspect out of the vehicle. “We were lucky, you know, that we weren’t in the parking lot when that was going on, basically, is what I was thinking," Suggs said. Zach Goodall was in the parking lot at the time.
Sheriff’s Office: St. Johns County Courthouse “all clear” after bomb threat triggers evacuation
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Courthouse was given the “all clear” after being evacuated Wednesday morning following a bomb threat. According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Chuck Mulligan, nothing was found in the building. After the judges and everyone were settled back into the courtrooms, the courthouse would reopen to the public. Authorities received an anonymous phone call about 9 a.m. from someone who threatened to blow up the courthouse, Mulligan told News4Jax. In response, deputies cleared the courthouse on Lewis Speedway in St. Augustine, which is part of the Sheriff’s Office’s standard operating procedure, Mulligan said.
Deputies: Jacksonville man arrested after stolen gun found in SUV
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A Jacksonville man faces a list of criminal charges after marijuana and a stolen handgun were found inside his sport-utility vehicle in Ponte Vedra Beach, authorities said. Gamble, 35, admitted his driver’s license was suspended and told the deputy he had some marijuana on him, according to his arrest report. The deputy found a marijuana grinder and two glass pipes during a search of the SUV, and a black 9mm handgun was located underneath the driver’s seat, the report stated. Gamble said he bought the gun for $275 and did not believe it was stolen, according to the report, but the deputy noted in the report that the weapon was reported stolen out of Jacksonville. Gamble was booked on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, marijuana possession, paraphernalia possession, failure to register a motor vehicle and attaching an unassigned license plate.
St. Johns County deputy fired, accused of battery after beating motorist during traffic stop
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office deputy was fired and accused with aggravated battery Thursday after he was seen on video beating an unarmed man during a December traffic stop. St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar on Thursday withdrew the commission of Deputy Anthony DeLeo, ending his employment with the Sheriff’s Office. Two other St. Johns County deputies who were involved in the incident — Joseph McGinnis and Patrick Ponticello — were placed on paid administrative leave after the video surfaced. Butler remains in St. Johns County jail accused of multiple charges including two out-of-county warrants, resisting arrest and driving under the influence. And that’s the problem, particularly with St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office that refuses body cams.
Driver leads St. Johns County deputies on chase in stolen U-Haul truck
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A man believed to have hit several vehicles while leading police on a chase through St. Johns County in a stolen U-Haul truck Tuesday morning was arrested, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said 22-year-old Joshua Nelson faces multiple charges, including fleeing police, aggravated assault with a weapon, vehicle theft and resisting an officer. A short time after Nelson ran, he was apprehended and taken into custody near State Road 207. “He was flying down State Road 16 with flat tires -- actually no tires left, it was just rims," said Will Gresham said. Deputies believe Nelson might also be a parson-of-interest in crimes outside of St. Johns County.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office sues former finance director
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is suing a former employee suspected of embezzling more than $700,000 while she oversaw the agency’s budget and finances. In a seven-page lawsuit filed Jan. 14, Sheriff David Shoar alleges that former finance director Raye A. Brutnell defrauded the agency by making dozens of payments totaling over $700,000 from bank accounts controlled by the Sheriff’s Office to a series of accounts created for fictitious vendors. It goes on to say that she deposited the proceeds into bank accounts controlled either by herself or her family members. She said she did not realize the magnitude of the fraud until confronted with the dollar amount. Brian Haas, the state attorney for Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit, is prosecuting the criminal case at the request of Gov.
Lawyer: Traffic stop beating one of the worst cases of brutality I’ve ever seen
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A Jacksonville attorney who is representing a man who was shocked and repeatedly beaten by St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office deputies said it’s one of the worse cases of police brutality he has seen locally. “It’s just so abusive and it just goes on for so long,” attorney John Phillips, who specializes in police brutality cases, told News4Jax on Wednesday. According to the arrest report written by deputies, Butler was not cooperating which led to him being shocked by an FHP trooper and then beaten and kicked by deputies. Christopher Butler, 30 (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)“He was not high on PCP and any statement to that effect is going to result in defamation,” Phillips said. According to the arrest report, Deleo along with Joseph McGinnis and Patrick Ponticello, were the deputies involved in the Butler traffic stop.
3 St. Johns County deputies on leave after videos shows man beaten during traffic stop
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Three St. Johns County deputies were placed on paid administrative leave last week after the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office received video showing a man being struck repeatedly and shocked with a Taser during a December traffic stop. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that three deputies were put on paid leave after the family came forward last week with the videos. St. Johns County deputies had already arrived to help the FHP trooper to get Butler out of the car when the video starts recording. In the video, Butler can be heard screaming and moaning when the Taser is used several times. Christopher Butler, 30 (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)Morgenstern said her son was on medication for a cold and did not take any illegal drugs.
Homeless community says attacks happening in camps more often than people realize
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Four men have been arrested in connection with an assault and robbery at two homeless camps in St. Johns County, authorities said. They said that while they were relieved the suspects are now facing charges, there are others who have also targeted homeless camps. Investigators said the four men yelled "Sheriff's Office" at a homeless camp off Old Moultrie Road to startle the people inside before attacking a homeless man, breaking his nose and leaving his eye swollen shut. At a second homeless camp, a man was robbed at gunpoint, investigators said. One homeless man told News4Jax that he thinks young people are either committing these attacks to gain notoriety or simply for kicks.
Police: Parents arrested after barefoot child found wandering street
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A man and woman are facing charges of child neglect after a child in a soiled diaper was found wandering a heavily traveled road in St. Augustine, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. Investigators determined the child had wandered nearly 150 yards from her home before a good Samaritan found her Sunday on Andora Street and called authorities. It's unclear how long the child had been in the street, but the report from the Sheriff's Office said it took deputes 30 minutes to locate the girl's parents. The neighbor who found the child asked not to be identified. Hinds and Smith were both charged with child neglect without bodily harm.
Train slams into car in St. Johns County, driver escapes
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A driver who stopped on train tracks in St. Johns County on Tuesday morning escaped injury when a train plowed into the car, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. The car, which was possibly disabled, was hit by the train just before 9 a.m. on Kings Estates Road, according to law enforcement. No roads were blocked due to the collision and the driver was unharmed, the Sheriff's Office said. Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.
Airplane crashes into marsh near St. Augustine airport
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Two people were injured when an airplane crashed into the intracoastal waterway Sunday morning near the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine. According to St. Johns County Fire Rescue, the passengers were pulled from the Mooney M20J, a single engine low wing aircraft, around 9:30 a.m. by nearby boaters. The pilot of the plane, St. Augustine resident John Bailey, told FHP investigators he was attempting to land at the airport and experienced mechanical failures, according to a crash report from FHP. "We were fishing in a small creek south of St. Augustine airport. All inbound and outbound flights were temporarily stopped at the St. Augustine airport, according to the airport's website.
Teen OK after being thrown from golf cart in head-on crash with SUV
The golf cart driver, who was partially ejected from the cart in the crash, was cited for careless driving, according to a crash report. Deputies said the driver of the SUV stopped at an intersection as the golf cart approached, and before the SUV began moving again, the golf cart "suddenly swerved" and hit the SUV head-on in front of a restaurant. Golf carts commonJoanna Brown, who lives nearby, said that Nocatee is known for being a golf cart community. Since those accidents, the sheriff's office said it planned to hold golf cart safety classes. If the golf cart is to be driven on designated roads during darkness, it must be equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield.