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News Cast for August 31st:

It was a bit of a twist in the verdict for an Okeechobee man on trial this week for the murder of his wife. Wednesday, an Okeechobee County court jury could not come to a decision in the charge of first degree premeditated murder against 52 year old David Anthony Schwendenmann. Schwendenmann was on trial, charged with murdering his then 31 year old wife Angela in their home with a single shot from a 12 gauge shotgun to her neck on the afternoon of July 29th, 2016. One of the county prosecutors on this case, Don Richardson, says Schwendenmann however was found guilty of attempted manslaughter of a law officer, aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and robbery. Richardson says Schwendenmann is still looking at considerable time in prison when he’s sentenced on October 5th. Schwendenmann will be re-tried for his wife’s murder on October 22nd. Schwendenmann’s attorney, Stanley Glenn, was unable to be reached for comment on this story.

Schwendenmann Verdict 1

Schwendenmann Verdict 2

Okeechobee County Commissioners met for the second straight day yesterday in a special workshop with representatives of Washington DC based Merchant McIntyre, a grant writing company, to receive input from county departments on possible grant funding for county projects. Okeechobee City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca discussed the shared infrastructure concerns the city has with the county such as the need for signalization for the industrial corridors like North 9th Street and 441. De Oca also discussed needed projects like historical preservation. Speaking of historical preservation, Mayor Dowling Watford talked with Merchant McIntyre about a project the city has been involved with called the Raulerson Log Cabin Project, a personal favorite of his. Other county department representatives who spoke with Merchant McIntyre representatives include Economic Development and innovative programs like Mental Health and Drug Court.

Grant Funding Workshop 6

Grant Funding Workshop 5

Okeechobee County firefighters had a trailer fire to contend with early yesterday morning. Crews were called to the 68 hundred block of SE 86th Court just before two o’clock and arrived to find a park model trailer fully covered in flames. Crews needed about four thousand gallons of water to extinguish the blaze which took nearly twenty minutes. The fire unfortunately claimed the lives of two dogs. The owners of the trailer were not there at the time and no one else was hurt. Investigators say the trailer was very unsafe to enter because of the roof collapsing and unstable flooring. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Total loss and damage is estimated at $35 thousand dollars.

The new laws for picking saw palmetto berries has ensnared its share of violators and two more locals have been added to the list as of Wednesday morning. Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of NW 176th Avenue just before 11:30 for a report of a pickup truck parked suspiciously alongside the grass road near the 18 thousand block of NW 264th Street. Deputies say Marty Smith, the registered owner of the vehicle and his friend Sterle McNeil, admitted they were picking berries in that area due to the high sale prices. McNeil and Smith were cited with notices to appear in court. Deputies seized a small amount of berries for evidence and destroyed the remaining berries Smith and McNeil harvested which was nearly thirty pounds.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s officials have administered a be-on-the-lookout for a Port St. Lucie man who has active felony warrants on him. 48 year old Victor Da Silva has been charged with sexual battery on two underage girls on two separate occasions. Da Silva is Caucasian and he stands five feet, eleven inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, has brown eyes and he is bald. The car he has been seen driving in is a 2009 red Honda sedan with a Florida license tag number of 4344TU. If you’ve seen this man or know of his whereabouts, please contact the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office.

On the arrest report:

51 year old Cirilo Olvera-Sanchez of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for drunk driving after a traffic stop and subsequent sobriety test. His bond has not been set.

21 year old Jose Jesus Perez of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of escape. He’s being held without bond.

32 year old Christina Lee Stokes of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on undisclosed past charges. She’s being held without bond.

39 year old Curtis Randolph Sutton of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court on past charges of drug possession with intent to sell. His bond is set at $35 hundred dollars.