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The Bizarre World of Florida

Man tried to rob ex-girlfriend in sheriff’s parking lot February 26, 2015

A 25-year old man started following his ex-girlfriend in a vehicle Tuesday morning and tried to rob her when she pulled into the sheriff’s office parking lot, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

imagesEugene Williams began following his 23-year-old ex-girlfriend in his vehicle around 10:45 a.m., and the woman drove into the sheriff’s office parking lot for help, deputies said.

Williams blocked her before she could exit the vehicle, pushing and hitting the vehicle and demanding money from the woman, according to a release.

Deputies came out into the parking lot and heard the suspect demanding money from the victim. They arrested Williams, who tried to resist, deputies said.

Williams was charged with attempted robbery and taken to the Manatee County jail.

 

Mom got slugged at high school baseball game February 19, 2015

photo_1424293902710_13437250_ver1.0_640_480Sonya Heiser just wanted to watch her son’s baseball game Tuesday night.

But she got slugged in the face instead, police say, and they took her mother-in-law, Sharon H. Heiser, 69, of Naples, into custody and charged her with battery.

The incident happened at about 8 p.m. at Naples High School.

Sonya Heiser told officers that Sharon Heiser, struck her on the right side of the cheek using her right hand, with an open fist. The report said Sharon Heiser was trying to intervene in an argument Sonya Heiser was having with her husband, Richard, Sharon Heiser’s son.

According to the report, Sharon Heiser declined striking her daughter-in-law. The other family members who were at the baseball game backed up her story.

But another witness told police that Sharon Heiser struck Sonya Heiser while the latter was trying to leave the bleachers to avoid an argument.

 

Jason Rios Used Crowbar To Kill His Mother And Niece, Tried Killing Himself With A Drill February 18, 2015

Jason Rios, a paranoid schizophrenic, used a crowbar to beat his family, killing his disabled mother and 9-year-old niece.

Jason-RiosErnesto and Angela Rios were trying to keep their four grandchildren together after they’d been removed from their mother for substance abuse and placed in foster homes.

To makes matters even more difficult, Angela was wheelchair bound after losing her legs to diabetes. Also living in the home was their son, Rios, who family say suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

On the morning of Feb 5, Ernesto woke his four grandchildren, Jenica Randazzo, 9; La’nyla Heater, 7; Chancellor Rios, 4; and Dominic Putnam, 13, for to school and hopped in the shower.

Soon after he entered the bathroom, Ernesto heard screaming. He rushed into his granddaughter’s room only to find La’nyla bloodied with severe head injuries and Jason on top of her with a crowbar. Ernesto was able to take the weapon from his son then forced him outside of the house.

The two boys, who were uninjured, fled down the street to the home of a retired police officer who went to assist the family, while his wife stayed with the children and called 911.

Jason unsuccessfully tried getting back inside the house before barricading himself inside a neighboring, unoccupied home. SWAT was called in and a crisis negotiator attempted to contact Jason but was unsuccessful. Fearing he was armed, SWAT used a BearCat to break through a wall and deployed a flash-bang before entering the house.

Jason was apprehended and led to an armored vehicle where he collapsed and knocked himself unconscious. Police would then notice wounds to Jason’s neck, head and torso which were later found to be caused by a drill bit and an auger. He was taken to the hospital to treat these self inflicted injuries.

Inside the Rios home, responders would find Angela Rios dead. La’nyla Heater was transported to a local hospital but would later die from her injuries. Her sister Jenica Randazzo was also taken to the hospital and is listed in stable condition.

Jason is currently held in Land-O-Lakes jail, charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Brian Bostick, executive director of Eckerd Community Alternatives, said that “there were no indications that could have predicted this tragic outcome” and that caseworkers never knew Jason displayed erratic behavior, or may have drug abuse or diagnosed mental illness issues.

Bostick also stated that Rios passed a criminal background check and that there were “positive reports” of Jason bonding with the children.

 

Woman crashed stolen car, claimed driver ran away February 16, 2015

A woman fleeing from police in a stolen car crashed into a stop sign, got out and then told officers she wasn’t the one behind the wheel, according to an arrest report.

CarPalm Springs police said they spotted a driver in a stolen car just before 1 a.m. Thursday in the 300 block of Royal Poinciana Way. An officer turned on his lights and followed the car, but he lost sight of the car when it went down various side streets, according to the report.

After turning a corner, the officer spotted the car — which had crashed into a stop sign — and a woman, later identified as Gwynne Staples standing behind a tree nearby.

Staples, 31, told officers the male driver of the car had fled on foot, according to the report. She said the two had met at the Breakers Hotel in West Palm Beach and had left together in the man’s car.

But security footage and a valet at the Breakers told a different story: Staples was the only one who had gotten into the car that night and was, in fact, the driver, according to the report.

She is charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding and resisting an officer without violence. Police also found drug paraphernalia on Staples.

She is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on $8,000 bail.

 

Mother dies after being shot, stabbed by husband in front of their children February 13, 2015

A woman who was brutally attacked by her husband in front of their children early Thursday morning died overnight, according to Hillsborough County sheriff’s officials.

Keith-DukesMichelle Dukes, 34, was airlifted in critical condition to Tampa General Hospital from her street in Riverview on Thursday morning after her husband, Keith Dukes, 48, allegedly slit her throat and shot her multiple times in the upper body, the sheriff’s office said. He now faces a charge of second-degree murder.

After the incident Thursday morning, Hillsborough deputies found Keith Dukes near the family’s home, standing in the Alafia River. He told them he did it because his wife tried to take their daughters away.

“My life is over,” Keith Dukes told deputies as they apprehended him, according to a probable cause affidavit. “I wish you could have just killed me. Just take me to jail.” According to the affidavit, he had been separated from his wife for about a year.

The couple’s daughters, ages 7, 13 and 14, were waiting in the car for a ride to school when the violence broke out. Keith Dukes first stabbed or cut his wife in the throat inside their home at 8818 Van Fleet Road, a quiet suburban street with no sidewalks and ranch homes. She ran from the house screaming for help and her daughters, who saw her from the car, ran with her, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said at a news conference Thursday morning.

A passing Waste Management truck driver saw the family running toward him, begging for help, so he called 911. Michelle Dukes was covered in blood.

“I saw a cut going from one side of her neck to the other,” the driver, Jason Alvarez, said.

A neighbor who had come outside after he heard commotion gave the dispatcher the address. In the meantime, the family took refuge in another neighbor’s home.

A short time later, Alvarez heard a gunshot. Keith Dukes had broken into the neighbor’s home where his wife and children were hiding. He fired three shots, according to the affidavit, before a witness wrestled the gun from him.

The children were uninjured, Gee said, but surely traumatized. They were staying with a family member Thursday night.

 

Hit, spit and run? Woman hit, then spat at cyclist February 12, 2015

A Naples driver was arrested Tuesday in a November hit-and-run case that left a bicyclist seriously injured. The bicyclist’s family has said the driver cursed and spat at the rider before fleeing.

B9316211184Z.1_20150211115225_000_GPP9U8KA7.1-0Angela Licciardi, 43, was arrested on a warrant for a felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving injury. She posted a $5,000 bond and was released later that day, according to records.

Licciardi was the driver of a Honda Accord that struck 25-year-old bicyclist Griffin Shallow on Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples, according to Florida Highway Patrol. Shallow’s grandfather said the driver cursed and spat at his grandson, who was hospitalized after the crash with multiple fractures, before leaving. Licciardi’s license had been suspended three times since 2009, her Florida driving record shows. Three days before the crash, she was found guilty of speeding at 73 miles per hour in a 45 zone.

Florida Highway Patrol submitted the warrant in November for her arrest and the trooper was recently notified it was ready. Licciardi declined to speak to the arresting trooper, records said.

 

Manuel Gonzalez Arrested After Wife Catches Him Having Sex With Family’s Chihuahua February 10, 2015

A bizarre case of animal cruelty has surfaced in Palm Beach County. Authorities say sadly it’s part of a bigger problem that doesn’t seem to be going away in South Florida.

Marc-GonzalezManuel Ramon Gonzalez, 61, of Wellington pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and sexual activity with an animal.

Investigators say he was engaging in sexual acts with the family dog—a Chihuahua—when his wife caught him on their home security surveillance cameras.

Officials have also seen other bizarre cases, like a caged dog with its mouth duct-taped shut, dogs with burns and hoarders with dozens of animals.

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control says it responds to about 30,000 calls a year and about about half of them are possible abuse cases.

“We do see a lot of it. A lot of times we wish there was more we could do. We wish there was stronger laws. We wish people would immediately go to jail and stay there,” said Capt. Dave Walesky, Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.

In 2007 The Humane Society of the United States says almost 65% of animal cruelty cases involved dogs, 18% involved cats and 25% were other animals.

According to Pet-Abuse.com, Florida is the number one state in the country for the most severe animal crimes.

“It just doesn’t make sense why people do things like that. It’s really unexplainable from my perspective. There’s no reason to justify something like that,” Capt. Walesky said.

“I wouldn’t say that necessarily there’s been an increase in any one area. But we do see enough of it that you know, it’s kind of like enough’s enough. When is it gonna stop?”  he added.

 

 
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