News Cast for February 1st:

It took just over five hours but an Okeechobee County Court jury finally delivered a verdict yesterday against an Okeechobee man who was on trial for a host of offenses, including first degree murder. 49 year old Mark Glen Deschamps was found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault with a firearm in the stabbing death of his then girlfriend, 25 year old Flavia Munoz of Okeechobee and aggravated battery against 40 year old Duane Thomas of Okeechobee, the man Munoz was seeing behind Deschamps’ back in October of 2016. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says he’s “relieved” the jury found Deschamps guilty, even though the charges were lesser than what he originally wanted Deschamps convicted of committing. While he respects the jury’s verdict, he is somewhat disappointed. The trial, which began Tuesday, was originally set to begin last month but an issue with a juror forced a mistrial. Sentencing will take place likely sometime in the next month or so. Neither Donald Chinquina, Deschamps’ attorney, nor any of Munoz’s family members wished to comment for this story.

Albright-Deschamps Verdict 1

Albright-Deschamps Verdict 2

The residents of the city of Sebring are slowly recovering from the tragedy at the SunTrust bank last week where a gunman walked into one of the bank’s branches on the 19 hundred block of US Highway 27 South and shot and killed five women, four of them being bank employees. Highland County Sheriff’s spokesperson Scott Dressel says the town is slowly getting back to normal but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Meanwhile, there are fundraising efforts being started around the county to help with the healing, including a GoFundMe account for one of the victims, 37 year old Ana Pinon-Williams, a SunTrust Bank Employee and former resident of Okeechobee and Sebring. Dressel says employees of Advent Health have started a fundraiser of their own. The suspect in the shooting, 21 year old Zephan Alan Xaver of Sebring remains in county jail without bond as the investigation continues. To donate to Ana Pinon-Williams’ GoFundMe account, log on to www.gofundme.com/ana-pinonwilliams-family-fund-suntrust-victim.

Dressel-SunTrust Fundraisers

Okeechobee County firefighters had a call of a fire to a transformer to contend with on Wednesday afternoon. Crews were called to the 33 hundred block of SE 33rd Terrace shortly before 5:30 and found the fire had been extinguished already but the transformer had no power. Firefighters searched the area for downed power lines but there were none. Officials from Century Link were called to the scene and the damage to the transformer was severe enough that firefighters remained at the scene until Florida Power and Light (FPL) crews arrived. No one was hurt and no structure damages reported. The incident is under investigation.

A Fort Pierce man will be spending some time in prison after pleading guilty to making ISIS related threats. A Miami area court judge sentenced 28 year old Charlton Edward LaChase to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of transmitting threats through interstate or foreign commerce. According to court records, LaChase sent text messages professing his support for ISIS, committing acts of terrorism and mass murder. Searches through his Facebook account revealed several attempts by LaChase to purchase firearms, threats to commit mass murder, kill politicians and statements supporting ISIS. After serving his prison sentence, LaChase will be under supervised release for the next three years.

On the arrest report:

60 year old Darris Dale Mills of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for disorderly intoxication. His bond is set at $250 dollars.

33 year old Jennifer Ann Green of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and serious bodily injury to another from an accident in November. She was released after posting a six thousand dollar bond.

27 year old Lucas Allen Peoples of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a three thousand dollar bond.

22 year old Nashaly De Jesus Torres of Okeechobee was arrested for marijuana possession and tampering with evidence after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a six thousand dollar bond.