News Cast for April 9th:

Okeechobee County School Board members will meet tonight where they will proclaim this month as School Library Month and they will also congratulate winners of this year’s Indian River State College (IRSC) Creative Writing Contest. The meeting will be held at the school board office beginning at six o’clock.

An Okeechobee man, already convicted of manslaughter and facing serious time in prison, was convicted on Friday on another serious charge. 49 year old Mark Glen Deschamps was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The conviction stemmed from a case where he was found guilty in January in the stabbing death of his then girlfriend, 25 year old Flavia Munoz of Okeechobee and attempted first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon on 40 year old Duane Thomas, also of Okeechobee, the man Munoz was seeing behind Deschamps’ back in October of 2016. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says the jury deliberated for exactly six minutes before returning with a guilty verdict; certainly among the fastest jury deliberation he’s ever experienced. Deschamps will be sentenced on all the charges he’s been convicted of on April 18th. If sentences are to run consecutively, Deschamps is facing at most ninety years in prison. Deschamps’ attorney, Donald Chinquina, declined to comment for this story.

Deschamps Verdict 1

Deschamps Verdict 2

An Okeechobee woman is in county jail at this time on some serious charges in connection with an incident Sunday night. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 47 hundred block of NW 11th Drive sometime after nine o’clock where witnesses told them that 35 year old Stephanie Michelle Starcher assaulted a pregnant woman. Deputies say Starcher asked the woman, who was lying on the couch at the time, why she called the police. Even though the woman claimed she didn’t, Starcher began punching and slapping her. Deputies say the pregnant woman’s mother actually called police and it was not revealed why she called police. Deputies arrested and charged Starcher with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman. She was booked into jail and her bond is set at ten thousand dollars.

A grass and brush fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Saturday night and kept them busy for a while, mainly because access to the fire was difficult. Crews were called to the twenty thousand block of Highway 98 North a little before 11:30 and it took them a while to gain access because of locked gates. Officials from Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) had keys to the gates of the property, which belonged to South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Crews worked on the fire, which was mainly tall grass and small oak trees for a couple of hours before finally getting it controlled at around 2:30 Sunday morning. No one was hurt and no structure damages. Cause is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

34 year old Kenneth Burton McQueen Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving on a suspended license and fleeing law officers after they were trying to conduct a traffic stop. He was released after posting a three thousand dollar bond.

18 year old Anthony Dylan Hodges of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing. He was released after posting a $250 dollar bond.

52 year old Maryann Puglia of Okeechobee was arrested for exposing her sexual organs in public, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after she was caught urinating in public. Her bond is set at two thousand dollars.

39 year old Jeremiah Rhoden of Okeechobee was arrested for prowling and loitering on someone’s property late at night. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

38 year old Lucio Hernandez-Evangelista of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly intoxication. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

56 year old Kimmie Martin Fulton of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of several controlled substances such as clonazepam and hydromorphone. Her bond has not been set.

25 year old Morgan Scott Tibbett of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

54 year old Jackie Horner Zanolin of Sebring was arrested on warrants from Highlands County for past charges of trespassing on school grounds and obstruction. Her bond is set at four thousand dollars.

45 year old Silverio Baranda Chavez of Clewiston was arrested for cocaine possession and tampering with evidence during a Mexican rodeo and concert at the Agri-Civic Center. His bond is set at ten thousand dollars.

56 year old Michael Dudley Olds of Sarasota was arrested for drunk driving and possession of cocaine, marijuana resin and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a seven thousand dollar bond.