News Cast for May 21st:

An arrest has been made in the death of a man whose body was found inside his vehicle in Taylor Creek Friday morning. Okeechobee County Sheriff’s investigators arrested 36 year old James Wade Hodges yesterday and charged him with second degree murder in the death of 43 year old Paul Murphy when his body was discovered inside his vehicle a little after seven o’clock submerged in the creek near the one thousand block of NE 39th Boulevard and Cemetery Road. Examinations by county fire and rescue squads confirmed Murphy’s cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds to his body. Sheriff Noel Stephen says Hodges and Murphy were no strangers to each other (Taylor Creek Murder 1). Interviews, evidence gathered at the scene and a phone call from Murphy’s wife to the sheriff’s department led investigators to Hodges. He was taken into custody and he’s being held in county jail without bond.

Okeechobee City Councilmembers meet this evening and they will be proclaiming this month as Mental Health Awareness Month. They will also present a certificate of appreciation to Elbert Batton for his service on the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment and Design Review Board and conduct a review on the performances of city attorney John Cook and city administrator Marcos Montes De Oca. The meeting will begin at six o’clock in City Hall.

Speaking of the Okeechobee City Council, at their last meeting earlier this month, city administrator Marcos Montes De Oca presented a video to the council illustrating the need to have a traffic light installed at North 9th Street and Highway 441. De Oca says it’s the most dangerous intersection in the city which has been the scene of 34 traffic accidents over the past two years and it’s also been a problem with congestion with heavy semi-truck traffic along with other heavy traffic. De Oca says it’s been a problem since 2001, long before he took the city administrator job in 2015. De Oca says the members of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) are the ones who can install this badly needed stoplight but De Oca says the problem is two-fold. De Oca says with the support of the county, a traffic light will be installed there, possibly by the end of the summer.

A traffic stop led to the arrest of an Okeechobee man on charges of aggravated assault Thursday night. Police were conducting a traffic stop when he was flagged down by a woman who said she was assaulted by 26 year old Ryan Andrew Tiger with a gun and he threatened to kill her, her fiance and her son. Police say the woman, who was scared and shaking, had gone over there to pick up a friend when Tiger approached her with the gun and threatened her and her son and fiancé, who were both in the car at the time. Additional police officers were called to the scene and spotted Tiger, who began walking away when he saw the officers but eventually stopped and held up his hands. Tiger was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and possession of a gun by a convicted felon. He was booked into county jail and his bond has not been set.

Some downed power lines caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters yesterday. Crews were called to the 33 hundred block of SE 35th Avenue just before two o’clock and found some downed power lines and they were arcing on the ground. Witnesses alerted crews to the downed lines and the lines were on the fence and in people’s yards and across the roadway. Crews notified Florida Power and Light and waited for them to arrive and repair the downed lines. No one was hurt.

On the arrest report:

44 year old Michael Lee Graf of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of synthetic cannabis after deputies responded to a suspicious incident at a gas station. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

30 year old Mark Edward Joiner of Okeechobee was arrested for felony battery during an incident at a bar last month when he punched another man. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

23 year old Austin Shane King of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of grand theft auto, driving on a suspended license and fleeing a law enforcement officer at high speeds. He’s being held without bond.

43 year old Jose Luis Leon of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

26 year old Oscar Rivera of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $65 hundred dollars.

39 year old Manuel Guzman of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

47 year old Jerrett Ray Swafford of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Hendry County for an undisclosed charge. He’s being held without bond.

26 year old Crystal Faye Hays of Okeechobee was arrested for petit theft. She was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

29 year old Theresa May Carter of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

40 year old Jennifer Marie Eastman of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Glades County on an undisclosed charge. She was released to Glades County authorities.

36 year old Jose German Guijosa Ramirez of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and possession of cocaine after a traffic stop. He was released after posting an $11 thousand dollar bond.

35 year old Justin Allen Hoover of Okeechobee was arrested by police for simple assault and battery. His bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.