News Cast for May 20th:

An Okeechobee jury convicted 60-year-old Kenna Leffler of attempted second degree murder.

On January 10, 2023, Leffler stabbed her brother in the neck with a four inch knife.

He underwent hours of surgery to repair the damage.

The two were arguing in a vehicle about her alcohol use when the attack occurred near Treasure Island.

The brother had helped her move to Florida but after she could not obey the rules in his home had told her she had to go back to Washington State where she had lived.

Prosecutor Ashley Albright said the suspect had threatened the brother before.

“A neighbor testified that 3-7 days before the stabbing she had been at his home drunk and had told him she was going to kill her brother.”

Circuit Court Judge Laurie Buchanon promptly sentenced Leffler to 12 years in prison.

The Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners approved a truck stop, repair center, store, and mini storage project in Posey’s Corners on the Northwest Corner of Berman Road and route 70.

The applicant has agreed to put in a berm and directional lights to reduce lighting impacts on the residential community of Crooked Creek from the mini storage and RV storage business.

Resident Sandra Gigler told the commission she worries the truck stop will bring more traffic and accidents.

“My biggest concern is the traffic and turning out from my road getting onto 70.  The traffic is so heavy and all the trucks coming through there.  There have been a lot of times the road has been shut down at Berman and 70 due to trucks overturned.”

County Commissioners said turn lanes will be required and the state might also make improvements with a red light at Berman Road if warranted.

Fentanyl use continues to increase in the US.

Last year for the first time the life expectancy in the US dropped due to the number of drug overdoses.

US Senator Rick Scott held a roundtable for law enforcement in Osceola County to bring emphasis to the problem.

St. Cloud recently had a record breaking bust of fentanyl.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lema said fentanyl is available almost anywhere.

“The most recent stats from the drug enforcement administration show that 70 percent of the pills that are on the street in this country contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.  7 of 10 people handed a pill by someone who is not a pharmacist are likely to die from a poison overdose.”

Senator Scott said he blames the open border with Mexico for the rise in drug related deaths.

A chase from Lakeport to Okeechobee results in an arrest on Saturday morning.

Matthew Smith, a juvenile, is facing a host of charges.

The chase ends in Okeechobee after stop sticks were placed in the road.

The suspects pickup truck flipped several times on route 78 and damaged a fence and tree, costing about $1,000 in damage..

Smith was taken to Raulerson Hospital for treatment.

He was wanted for an alleged attack in Okeechobee County on May 17 at 9 pm where the female was sleeping in her bed.  She was taken to Raulerson Hospital for serious injury.

She told deputies that she was able to escape her home located north of route 68 west, and get to a neighbors home to get help.

Smith will face aggravated battery, grand theft auto, and fleeing and attempting to elude police charges.