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News Cast 6/18

News Cast for June 18th:

An Okeechobee man will be permitted to possess firearms while he awaits his court appearance for domestic battery. An Okeechobee County court judge on Friday denied the state’s emergency motion to prohibit 75 year old Mike O’Connor from having guns in his possession as a condition of his criminal case bond. Okeechobee County prosecutor Ashley Albright says he was quite surprised that his motion was denied. O’Connor will be in court early next month to answer for charges of domestic battery on his stepdaughter during an incident in his gun shop last month. O’Connor resigned from his city council seat a week after his arrest.

O’Connor Civil Hearing-Friday

Officials from the Okeechobee Health Department recently reported the presence of a virus called Eastern Equine Encephalitis, otherwise known as Triple E, found to be the cause of death for a pair of emus and made another one very sick. Triple E is a virus transmitted by mosquito bites and it normally affects equine animals like horses and other cattle and some large birds like emus but it can affect humans as well and the disease more often than not is fatal. Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykel says the best thing to do is get vaccinated. Smeykel says mosquitoes that carry the Triple E virus usually are flying around in the nighttime to early dawn hours so please cover up if you’re outside and use repellents that have the ingredient known as DEET.

Representatives of Okeechobee County met with the representatives of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2918 in an amicable union meeting this past Tuesday and discussed several topics. One of the requests from the union was allowing for pay increases over a three year period to various employees establishing them in a step that relates to their seniority in their respective departments. The county instead chose to go with increases with seniority in their respective positions; County Administrator and chief negotiator Robbie Chartier. The next meeting will be held on June 25th.

Chartier’s Union Meeting 1

Chartier’s Union Meeting 2

Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies have a Sebring man and woman in custody on charges of stabbing two people Wednesday night. Spokesperson Scott Dressel says 26 year old James Gaston Hall and 28 year old Kabao Yang were arrested in connection with the stabbing of two people in a domestic-related incident on Darnell Drive in Sun ‘n Lake of Sebring. Yang and Hall fled the scene before authorities arrived. Dressel says Hall and Yang turned themselves in the next day. Both victims, whose names were not released, received serious injuries but both are expected to make a full recovery. Yang and Hall are being held in excess of $570 thousand dollars’ bond apiece.

An Indiantown man is in Okeechobee County jail at this time on charges of drug possession following an incident Thursday morning. Sheriff’s deputies were called to a traffic crash on the 18 hundred block of SE 441 just after 11 o’clock. No one was hurt in the accident but officials say 30 year old Miguel Diego threw out a white bag containing plastic bags full of different strains of marijuana after the crash took place and he and his passenger, Cristina Francisco of Okeechobee, sped away. Deputies found the car on the east end of the parking lot near the scene of the crash thanks to a trail of leaking oil and both Diego and Francisco were arrested. Diego was charged with possession of marijuana and cannabis oil. He was booked into county jail with a bond of $30 thousand dollars. Francisco’s charges and bond amount were not disclosed.

On the arrest report:

47 year old Juan Felipe Rebollo of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving on an expired license of over four months after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $250 dollars.

40 year old Albert Rodriguez Lewis of West Palm Beach was arrested on a warrant for selling cocaine. His bond has not been set.


News Cast 6/15

News Cast for June 15th:

Yesterday in an Okeechobee County courtroom, the stepdaughter of a former Okeechobee City Councilman dismissed a civil injunction she originally filed against her stepfather after he was arrested on charges of domestic battery last month. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says while the civil injunction against 75 year old Mike O’Connor was dismissed, he did file an emergency motion to ask the court to order as a condition of his criminal case bond that O’Connor not possess any firearms of any kind. A hearing on that will be held later this afternoon. Albright says the reason for the emergency motion was protection of the victim and community. O’Connor will be in court early next month to answer for the domestic battery charges. O’Connor posted bond after his arrest and he resigned from the council a week later.

‘Connor Civil Case

The Okeechobee County School board listened to a presentation at their meeting this past Tuesday night by Cristian Rios, a 2018 graduate from Okeechobee High School, about the Academic Framework Forum of which he was the president. Rios says this is a grassroots organization made up by students who use their talents to help fellow classmates succeed in all facets; classroom work, testing and helping students look into colleges they’re interested in attending and connect them with mentors. Rios says it’s been rather successful. Rios, who began the program during his freshman year, says their biggest problem is getting people aware of the Academic Framework Forum but he hopes having a social media presence will fix that, as will his successors Ayan Desai and Christine Grosso next year. Rios will be studying at MIT beginning next fall.

With summer rapidly approaching and the days getting warmer and more humid, that means more mosquitos, specifically those that carry diseases like Zika and West Nile Viruses. Okeechobee County Emergency Management officials are announcing that mosquito control efforts have begun or will begin this weekend, starting in the northeast part of the county. Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykel says there will be surveying and/or spraying of areas where mosquitoes are running rampant. Smeykel says this treatment will be performed by officials from Illinois-based Clarke Environmental, a very environmentally friendly company. Smeykel says the surveying and spraying will only be done at night, never in the day. Be sure to keep your pets and pet bowls indoors at night. If you see your area with excessive mosquitoes, please call 1-800-203-6485.

Smeykel-Mosquito Control Begins 1

Smeykel-Mosquito Control Begins 2

On the arrest report:

34 year old Noe Oliverio Ramirez of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant from St. Lucie County for violating probation on previous drug charges. He’s being held without bond.

28 year old Theresa May Carter of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on her sister during a domestic dispute. Her bond has not been set.

49 year old George Katevas of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court for previous charges of driving without a license. His bond is set at two thousand dollars.

21 year old Aaron Orlando Rodriguez the Third was arrested for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

20 year old Lillian Louise Geary of Port St. Lucie was arrested for battery after a domestic dispute. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.


Okeechobee County Begins Mosquito Control Efforts

Okeechobee County Begins Mosquito Control Efforts

Local authorities in Okeechobee County have announced that adult mosquito control applications will take place this summer between dusk and dawn, as conditions warrant.

“We began mosquito surveillance efforts (trapping) at 10 different locations around Okeechobee County this week with our contract partner Clarke Environmental. The state of Florida has specific statutory requirements when mosquito spraying will be performed by a local authority, so these trap counts are required prior to mosquito control treatment.”

“Adulticiding treatments are needed when mosquito populations are at bothersome levels or indicate the presence of mosquito-borne illness, such as West Nile Virus and the Zika virus,” said Mitch Smeykal, Emergency Management Director According to Mr. Smeykal, all insecticides used have been approved specifically for this purpose and are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  However, if people wish to avoid potential exposure to insecticide they should stay indoors and close the windows during spraying hours.

Residents can report excessive mosquitos to (800) 203-6485.

Residents can take several steps to reduce mosquito populations around their homes this summer, including:

  • Remove or empty water in old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles or other places where

mosquitoes might breed.

  • Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use. If

unused, drain swimming pools and keep dry.

  • Change water weekly in bird baths, plant saucers and trays.
  • Store boats covered or upside down.
  • Water bowls used by pets should be emptied and refilled daily.
  • Fill holes around home that may retain water.
  • Keep gutters around home in good repair to avoid water build-up.
  • Keep weeds and grass cut short, as adult mosquitoes look for shady places to rest during hot

daylight hours.

  • Be sure screens in homes are intact and tight-fitting to prevent entry of insects.
  • Apply commercially available larvicides to wet areas around in your property. These products are available at local home improvement stores and Amazon.com. These products treat your yard for 30-60 days by inhibiting the mosquito larva to complete the mosquito life cycle.

You can also contact Mitch Smeykal, Okeechobee County Division of Emergency Management (863)763-3212 for more information.


News Cast 6/14

News Cast for June 14th:

If you’re looking for a new commercial vehicle, look no further than Gilbert Fleet and Commercial in Okeechobee. Residents gathered at Gilbert Fleet and Commercial’s new home for their grand opening Tuesday night. Fleet Team Lead Kevin Hatfield says this is the commercial division for Gilbert Chevrolet and Gilbert Ford and since they have been dealing in commercial vehicles for decades, they decided time was right to create a company that exclusively deals in those kinds of vehicles. Hatfield says customers will be pleased to know that their new business offers services like LineX. Hatfield, who is quite happy that this day has come for the grand opening, says they are a one stop shop for local businesses. Gilbert Fleet and Commercial is located on the 35 hundred block of 441 South.

Several Okeechobee County schoolteachers and personnel who have retired as of the end of this school year were honored as part of the monthly school board meeting Tuesday night. One such teacher was Jean Zorich, who worked as a VE teacher at the freshman campus and had also worked as an exceptional education teacher. All told, Zorich worked in the Okeechobee County school system for 35 years. Zorich says the last five years teaching were her favorite time. Zorich, who worked as a teacher in North Dakota before coming to Okeechobee, will miss the people most. Other retirees who were honored include Calvin “Buddy” Mills, an agriculture teacher from Yearling Middle School, Brendan Pritchard, a Social Studies teacher from Okeechobee High School and bus driver Jessie May Clyburn.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have an Okeechobee man in custody on a host of charges following a high speed pursuit Tuesday night. Deputies say 21 year old Aaron Orlando Rodriguez the Third sped past officers while driving a Honda sedan on the 22 hundred block of Highway 70 East just before 10pm. Deputies pursued Rodriguez for a while, posting speeds of over 115 miles per hour, before he turned onto NE 70th Avenue and then abruptly stopped. Deputies ordered Rodriguez and his passengers to exit the car and put their hands on the roof. Deputies arrested Rodriguez and charged him with speeding and reckless driving, failing to stop for a law officer, having a visible open container of alcohol and grand theft auto after the true owner of the car told deputies that she had not loaned it to anyone. Rodriguez is being held in county jail and his bond is set at $11 thousand dollars. Rodriguez’s two passengers were released at the scene without arrest.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a vehicle fire to contend with Tuesday afternoon. Crews were called to 75 NW 208th Street for a dump truck that was completely ablaze when they arrived just before one o’clock. Crews needed less than ten minutes to get the fire controlled with no one getting hurt. Investigators say the truck driver was driving it in a parking area when he heard an unusual sound from underneath. He stopped to look at it and saw flames emanating from under the driver’s side, close to where the cab and dump bed meet. He tried using a fire extinguisher to put it out but to no effect as did others who stopped to help. Total loss is about $30 thousand dollars. Cause appears to be an electrical failure of some kind.

On the arrest report:

36 year old Vladimil Cruz Colon of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for resisting arrest during a complaint for a domestic dispute. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

41 year old Juan Martinez of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Palm Beach County for possession and selling of cocaine and heroin. He’s being held without bond.

28 year old Erminia Meras of Okeechobee was arrested for petty theft. She was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

46 year old Kimberly Anne Johnson of Okeechobee was arrested for grand theft auto. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

45 year old Mary Helen Zaleta of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license for the third time after a traffic stop. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

28 year old Daniel Martinez Cepero of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $250 dollars.

24 year old Holmes Eugene Boyd of Lorida was arrested for providing false ownership to a pawnbroker. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.


News Cast 6/13

News Cast for June 13th:

Okeechobee County School Board members last night gave the green light to Director of Operations Brian Barrett to allow Melbourne-based Property Renovation and Construction to replace the roofs at sixteen school buildings in the county. A lot of these buildings have been the subject of leaking water and debris brought on by age and weather and constant patching has not solved the problem. Property Renovation and Construction will begin the work before the end of the month at a price of just over $1 million 30 thousand dollars. Superintendent Ken Kenworthy says it’s great that the same company will be handling all of the roof replacements. Barrett says Property Renovation and Construction won out over all other bidders because they are simply the best ones for the job based on their references.  The work should begin before the end of this month and conclude sometime in September. Roofs being replaced include buildings at Okeechobee High and Central Elementary School.

A Ft. Myers man, originally from Belize, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for each of the several counts of murder he was convicted of committing. A Lee County Court judge sentenced 22 year old Brian Omar Hyde to life in prison for killing four members of his family and a family friend in their Lehigh Acres home nearly three years ago. Officials say Hyde used a machete to kill his aunt, 37 year old Dorla Pitts, her 17 year old daughter Starlette Pitts, her daughter’s 19 year old boyfriend Michael Deon Kelly Junior and Starlette’s unborn child. The victims were found dead by a family friend. Hyde, who is an illegal alien, was found guilty of the murders after a four day trial last April. The sentences will run concurrently.

On the arrest report:

22 year old Veronica Nicole Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on multiple counts of fraud and grand theft. Her bond is set at $70 thousand dollars.

41 year old Juan Martinez of Okeechobee was arrested on warrants from Palm Beach County for aggravated battery and selling heroin. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Jonell Mae Hall of Okeechobee was arrested on warrants from Highlands County for battery on a law officer and resisting arrest. He was released after posting a $26 thousand dollar bond.

33 year old Christopher Donald Wilt of Okeechobee was arrested for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive. His bond is set at $250 dollars.


Branham Steps Down (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Branham Steps Down (AUDIO INCLUDED)

 

Okeechobee High School Football coach Chris Branham announced through Twitter Monday night that he was resigning his position to take an assistants coach position at Toombs County High School in Georgia. WOKC sat down with Coach Branham to discuss the move. Listen to this four-part feature where he discusses his reasoning, what led to his decision, what he told his team and his emotions for Okeechobee.

Chris Branham Steps Down Interview Part 1

Chris Branham Steps Down Interview Part 2

Chris Branham Steps Down Interview Part 3

Chris Branham Steps Down Interview Part 4


2018 CMT Music Awards: The Winners | CMT

2018 CMT Music Awards: The Winners | CMT

Blake Shelton was the big winner at Wednesday’s (June 6) 2018 CMT Music Awards; an event that is widely known as the loudest night in country music.

His “I’ll Name the Dogs” music video won the night’s top honor of video and male video of the year.

All-star collaborations also dominated the night. Kane Brown and Lauren AlainaCarrie Underwood and Ludacris; and the CMT Crossroads performance between the Backstreet Boys and Florida Georgia Line were among the 2018 winners.

Carly Pearce and Dan + Shay each performed onstage as first-time winners.

Little Big Town hosted the show and left with a belt buckle for group video of the year, an award they’ve won three years in a row.

Here’s a complete list of winners:

Video of the Year: Blake Shelton, “I’ll Name the Dogs”

Male Video of the Year: Blake Shelton, “I’ll Name the Dogs”

Collaborative Video of the Year: Kane Brown featuring Lauren Alaina, “What Ifs”

Female Video of the Year: Carrie Underwood featuring Ludacris, “The Champion”

Group Video of the Year: Little Big Town, “When Someone Stops Loving You”

Duo Video of the Year: Dan + Shay, “Tequila”

Breakthrough Video of the Year: Carly Pearce, “Every Little Thing”

CMT Performance of the Year: Backstreet Boys and Florida Georgia Line, “Everybody” (From CMT Crossroads)

2018 CMT Music Awards: The Winners

Source: 2018 CMT Music Awards: The Winners | CMT


News Cast 6/12

News Cast for June 12th:

The Okeechobee County School Board will meet this evening and among other things, they will be looking at an amendment of a board policy regarding domestic security. They will also be looking to approve a fixed annuity contract with Lincoln Financial Group. The meeting will be held at the county school board office at 6pm.

Mobile office hours with Senator Denise Grimsley of Lake Placid will be held today in Okeechobee at the Chamber of Commerce. If you have an issue with a state government agency and having trouble navigating the red tape, Grimsley’s staff will be there to listen. Chief legislative assistant Marty Mielke says Grimsley’s staff has held these mobile office hours several times before and they’re usually quite helpful. Mielke says lately, constituents have been coming to talk about FEMA reimbursement, child support and issues with the Department of Transportation. Mobile office hours in Okeechobee will begin at 11am at the Chamber of Commerce.

Mielke 1

Mielke 2

Today there will be a grand opening of a new commercial vehicle dealership in Okeechobee. Gilbert Fleet and Commercial will be celebrating their grand opening at their new location on the 35 hundred block of 441 South. Director of Operations J.D. Mixon says this is the Commercial Division for Gilbert Chevrolet and Gilbert Ford and since they have been dealing in commercial vehicles for decades, they decided it was time to create a company that deals in those types of vehicles. Mixon says the location of Gilbert Fleet and Commercial is absolutely perfect. Gilbert Fleet and Commercial has actually been open for six months and Mixon says they wanted to have a grand opening but were unable to do it sooner. The Grand Opening begins at 5pm followed by an after-hours event at the Chamber of Commerce.

Mixon-Grand Opening 1

Mixon-Grand Opening 2

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have an Okeechobee man and boy in custody on charges of burglary in connection with an incident late Friday night. Deputies say 23 year old Alfonso Lares Junior and a 17 year old boy went to a home on the 29 hundred block of SE 36th Avenue just after 11pm and stole several items before they were caught. Lares and his 17 year old accomplice confronted the homeowner as she came home and tried to take the keys from her before they drove off. Deputies say the front door of the home had been opened by blunt force and Lares and his accomplice already had an LED television and a couple of wallets in their vehicle as the homeowner arrived. Deputies caught them after a brief chase and charged Lares and his 17 year old accomplice with burglary and petty theft. Lares is being held in county jail on a bond of just over $10 thousand dollars. The 17 year old boy is being held at the juvenile justice facility.

A Port St. Lucie man is dead after a vehicle accident Friday morning. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 48 year old Daniel M. Kennedy was driving south on Route 91 in St. Lucie County just after 10:30 when for unknown reasons, he drove off the road and onto the shoulder before colliding with a concrete bridge support column. Kennedy was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

41 year old Juan Martinez of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for battery and petty theft. His bond is set at three thousand dollars.

46 year old Vinson Edward Gonzalez of Okeechobee was arrested for forgery and grand theft. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

30 year old Robert Anthonie Woods of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

43 year old Sheila Lynn May of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. She’s being held without bond.

44 year old Ignacio Santos-Cornejo of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

25 year old Elsa Maria Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested by police on a warrant from St. Lucie County for driving on a suspended license. She’s being held without bond.

56 year old Helio Juan Pereda of Okeechobee was arrested for burglary of an occupied home. He was released after posting a $15 thousand dollar bond.


Eastern Equine Encephalitis (Triple E) found in Okeechobee County Contact:

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (Triple E) found in Okeechobee County Contact:

Okeechobee Health Department

Brian Sell

(863) 462-5865

The Florida Department of Health in Okeechobee is monitoring and investigating the deaths of two emus and one that is sick from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEEV) also commonly known as Triple E.  The Health department is working in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service on the surveillance and control measures related to this investigation.

EEEV is a rare disease that is maintained by avian hosts and spread to humans, horses and other exotic animals by infected mosquitoes. It is among the most serious of a group of mosquito-borne virus diseases that can affect the central nervous system and cause severe complications and even death. Similar diseases are Western Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, and LaCrosse Encephalitis.

EEEV has a complex life cycle involving birds and a specific type of mosquito, Culiseta melanura, that lives in marshes and swamps. These mosquitoes feed only on birds; they do not feed on humans and other mammals. In rare cases, however, the virus can escape from its marsh habitat in other mosquitoes that feed on both birds and mammals (including horses and humans). These mosquitoes can transmit the virus to animals and people. After infection, the virus invades the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and brain. In addition to horses, other animals such as ratites (emus and ostriches) and camelids (alpacas and llamas) can also be impacted by Eastern Equine Encephalitis infection. Emus in particular are highly vulnerable to infection and exposure to body fluids (particularly feces, saliva, and blood) from infected birds can lead to additional birds and people to become sick.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare disease. Fewer than five cases are reported in most years. Although small outbreaks of human disease have occurred in the United States, epidemics in horses can be common during the summer and fall.

Anyone can get EEEV, but some people are at increased risk due to bites of infected mosquitoes:

  • People living in or visiting areas where the disease is common.
  • People who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities in areas where the disease is common.
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis occurs mainly in young children and in persons older than age 55.
  • People involved with the care of emus with Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus infection can also be exposed by direct contact with infected birds or their bodily fluids or feces.

Infection can cause a range of illnesses. Most people have no symptoms; others get only a mild flu-like illness with fever, headache and sore throat. For people with infection of the central nervous system, a sudden fever and severe headache can be followed quickly by seizures and coma. About half of these patients die from the disease. Of those who survive, many suffer permanent brain damage and require lifetime institutional care.

If you have been to or work these exotic and are showing signs and symptoms, please see your primary care physician or go to the local hospital right away.

To prevent mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business:

DRAIN standing water:

  • Drain water from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discarded old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER your skin with:

  • CLOTHING – If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.
  • REPELLENT – Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with 10-30 percent DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

COVER doors and windows with screens:

  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

For additional information visit

http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/eastern-equine- encephalitis.html.

For information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visit http://www.cdc.gov/EasternEquineEncephalitis/.


News Cast 6/11

News Cast for June 11th:

Officials from the South Florida Water Management District say they have come up with a plan for Lake Okeechobee’s Watershed Restoration but also for preserving nearby estuaries. Spokesperson Randy Smith says it involves creating wetlands north of the lake and using special recovery wells to inject water underground and store it until it’s needed, all to keep from dispersing water to the lake and causing the lake levels to rise too high, requiring the US Army Corps of Engineers to release the water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. Smith says those discharges are a problem. Smith says this is a tentative plan as of now and it will be submitted to the federal government and then hopefully to Congress for funding.

Smith-Watershed Restoration Project Plan

Okeechobee County Commissioners at their last meeting gave the green light to allow the county to work with Ft. Pierce based Culpepper and Terpening to provide construction inspection services at just over $188 thousand dollars for the NW 36th Street (Basswood) sidewalk improvement project. County Engineer John Howle says Culpepper and Terpening will have a representative there to ensure the contractor the county hired will perform the project according to plans and specifications. Howle says this project is a much needed county task. County Commissioners also approved an agreement with CivilSurv Design Group, also a Ft. Pierce based company to provide post engineering services for the project at just over $30 thousand dollars. The project should begin in a few weeks.

Basswood Project 1

Basswood Project 2

A Sebring man entered a not guilty plea last week on a host of charges, specifically child pornography. Highlands County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Scott Dressel says 50 year old Christopher Ray Queen, pleaded innocent at his arraignment on Monday on charges of possessing tens of thousands of images depicting child pornography on his computer and cellphone. Dressel says Queen had more charges filed against him recently; a count of sexual battery, four counts of lewd and lascivious behavior and 25 counts of cruelty involving sexual activity with an underage victim and 25 more counts of possessing child pornography. Dressel says it wasn’t a surprise to him that more charges would be filed against Queen. Queen is facing life in prison if he’s found guilty in this case. His pre-trial conference is set for June 20th. This is the largest child porn case in Central Florida History.

Queen Plea and Charges 1

Queen Plea and Charges 2

On the arrest report:

23 year old Codie James Posila of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on previous burglary and mischief charges. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Jenelle Lorraine Pasley of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous battery charges. She’s being held without bond.

18 year old Zachary Taylor De Witte of Okeechobee was arrested for interfering with the custody of a minor. He was released on a five thousand dollar bond.

18 year old Jessica Jade Green of Okeechobee was arrested on warrants from Orange County for human trafficking for sexual reasons and sexual battery on a minor. She’s being held without bond.

36 year old Ronald Kevin Drennan of Okeechobee was arrested for petty theft and burglary. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

36 year old Elizabeth Starcher of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. She was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.

21 year old Andrew Johnnie Haygood of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court on previous drug possession charges. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

21 year old Frank William Huff of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of marijuana and cannabis resin. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.


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