News Cast for April 12th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet this morning and among other issues, they will look to approve an amendment of this year’s budget of up to just over $413 thousand dollars for five additional school resource officers in the wake of the tragedy in Parkland in February. They will also be looking to accept a proclamation for April to be National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The meeting will begin at 9am in the commissioners’ chambers at the historic county courthouse.

Okeechobee County Commissioners, city council members, school board, sheriff’s department and police department all came together at the commissioners’ chambers last night to discuss how to adequately fund the school resource officers as mandated by the state in the wake of the Parkland tragedy. The county will fund just over $350 thousand dollars for five new SRO’s and the city funding just over $160 thousand dollars for two more SRO’s to staff in county schools. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper says he believes funding this might be able to be done without having to raise taxes in the community. Superintendent Ken Kenworthy says he isn’t surprised the city and county leaders came together and worked so well together on this task. With the city and county’s funding plus the funding from the state, the total for these officers will be just over a million dollars.

SRO Workshop 1

SRO Workshop 2

SRO Workshop 3

SRO Workshop 4

An Okeechobee County court judge yesterday handed down sentences to two Okeechobee men in connection with animal cruelty at McArthur Dairy Farm last fall. 44 year old Fernando Cruz and 36 year old Naul Dorantes-Garcia each received a year of probation, twenty days in jail which they can complete under the weekend work program and 72 hours of community service at an animal-related facility. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says the evidence against the defendants was quite strong. Richard Couto of the Animal Rights Movement says he was surprised at how strict the sentence was. Two more suspects in the case are still awaiting trial and two others are still at large. The attorney for Cruz and Garcia, Tom Colter of Stuart, declined to comment for this story.

Animal Cruelty Sentencing 1

Animal Cruelty Sentencing 2

Animal Cruelty Sentencing 3

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies are on the lookout for a man who is wanted for armed robbery of a convenience store earlier this month. Deputies say the man, identified by investigators as 42 year old Dwan Sharrod Marshall, went into the Circle K store on Route 441 just after 4am on April 1st and robbed the store while holding the store clerk at gunpoint. Marshall then grabbed the clerk and shoved her into the bathroom, threatening to kill her if she came out and then he left. Deputies say Marshall is African-American, heavy-set, approximately five feet eleven inches tall and weighing 350 pounds. He was wearing a red shirt, black ball cap with a design on the front and long black shorts. He was driving a white four door Chevy Lumina. He’s wanted on charges of armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated battery with a firearm, and grand theft. Any information on this matter should be forwarded to the sheriff’s office.

On the arrest report:

36 year old Joshua David Thomas of Okeechobee was arrested for writing and sending a threat to kill someone. His bond is set at $50 thousand dollars

61 year old Gregory Alan Davis and 64 year old Jacqueline Davis, both of Okeechobee, were arrested by sheriff’s deputies for battery on each other after a domestic dispute. Their bonds have not been set.

38 year old Kellie Estelle Chapman of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of the controlled substance clonazepam after the car she was a passenger in was stopped by deputies. She was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.

38 year old Amanda Lee Olivas of Okeechobee was arrested for retail theft. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.

22 year old Alfonso Lares Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing and possession of a firearm by a felon. His bond has not been set.

35 year old Richard Tijerina Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for failure to appear in court on previous charges of driving without a license. His bond is set at three thousand dollars.

25 year old Eli Manuel Burgos of Ft. Myers was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to sell. His bond is set at $15 thousand dollars.

33 year old Adam Lee Carney of Quitman, MS, already in county jail on a prior charge of aggravated battery, was arrested for battery on an inmate. His bond has not been set.