News Cast 1/5


January 5, 2024

News Cast for January 5th:

No new trial for killer

The murder conviction of Matthew Paul Morris was upheld for the second time by the 4th District Court of Appeals.

Morris is serving life in prison for gunning down John Melvin Hall in the victim’s home on 441 south east near Martin County on November 15, 2007.

Prosecutor Ashley Albright said Morris killed Hall over a drug debt.

“HE broke in and shot him multiple times.  It appeared the incident was drug related.  The victim was actually part of a drug ring that came down to Florida, purchased large amounts of pain medications and go aback and sell them in Kentucky.  This was relation to that with the victim owing Morris drugs or money or both.”

Albright said they believe two others were involved in the slaying but were never able to come up with the evidence to make an arrest.

Morris made headlines in New York City when he testified at the John Gotti mob trial in 2009.  Gotti was the refuted leader of the Gambino Crime Family.  Morris had been a cell mate of one of the star witnesses for the prosecution, John Alite.

Another research project going on to try and improve Lake Okeechobee water quality.

This one led by AECOM in Pahokee.

The process removes algae from the water.

The Pahokee marina has had two algae blooms in the past two years.

Daniel Levy blames the issue on the over use of fertilizer.

“The world uses 200 metric tons of fertilizer annually.  The US uses 10 percent of that fertilizer, 20 million tons, used every single year in our country.  About half of it runs off into the soil and the water every single year.”

Levy said they are trying to reduce the use of fertilizer.

He predicts more research projects will be coming to the lake and that will attract high paying jobs for scientists and researchers.

An Okeechobee man was behind bars after Martin County deputies said they found 16 grams of methamphetamine in a vehicle in December.

42-year-old Donald McDonald was charged with drug trafficking and held on $200,000 bond.

The traffic stop on 710 near Indiantown.  Deputies pulled over the Ford SUV for no tag light.

Deputies said they observed smoke coming from the vehicle and smelled burnt marijuana.

They noted McDonald had no bottom teeth, which often happens to those addicted to methamphetamine.

The Florida Attorney General is trying to expand the Seniors vs crime program.

Each year more and more seniors become victims of financial scams and fraud.

The state now has 32 regional offices trying to provide more resources to seniors to avoid these scams and in some cases get their money back.

St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick said it is important to protect seniors from criminals.

“We need to protect our senior citizens from exploitation.  Far too often, these citizens are victimized by fraud, exploitation and scams.  Across the US last year $3.2 billion was taken from our seniors by frauds.”

The program helped 8,000 seniors in the state in 2022 with some 90,000 hours of volunteer service and recouping nearly $8 million lost by seniors.