News Cast 7/8

News Cast for July 8th:

A lengthy stay in prison 

A 29 year old Okeechobee man was sentenced to 33 years in prison for a murder that occurred in January, 2016. 

John Harlow took advantage of the victim Earlon Eugley, 77, and his kindness to steal his money, credit cards, a trailer and a vehicle to fuel his drug habit. 

Prosecutor Ashley Albright talked about the motive. 

“Mr. Eugley had taken him in to his home, given him a job, a place to stay.  It was just drugs.  He was a meth addict, he was high and for no explainable reason shot the victim in the head to steal his things.  He admitted that after this he immediately went out and bought more drugs.” 

Lead Detective Marty Faulkner said this case shows we have to be careful about who we befriend. 

“We can’t just pick somebody from Facebook because they are friends with someone and be comfortable with them in our homes.  A lot of times these people are looking for victims.  They are not willing to do the things society wants them to do to make a living.  They’d rather take it than earn it.” 

Harlow also injured a police detective during an escape attempt outside the jail.  The detective fell backward and suffered a concussion. 

The victim, 77 years old, was shot in the back of the head.  

Faulkner said Mr. Eugley was a US Coast Guard veteran and didn’t deserve this terrible death. 

Prosecutors said the plea deal was approved by the family who didn’t want to have to go through a second trial. 

An Okeechobee jury in March had found Harlow guilty of all charges except the murder count. 

Harlow pled no contest to a second degree murder charge before Circuit Judge Rebecca White to resolve the case. 

Congressman Greg Steube voted against the recently approved northern estuaries management plan. 

It could stop all releases from Lake Okeechobee to the east coast and put more pressure on the Caloosahatchee River and the Everglades. 

Steube said it is wrong to send this water in one direction. 

“That is obviously not equitable to the entire region.  I don’t think we should focus on one area and just Brian Mast’s district.  We need to get through the LOSOM process and see how it impacts all of the estuaries in and around Lake Okeechobee.” 

All Okeechobee schools except one earned a C grade this year as we were a C district. 

Everglades Elementary was the lone exception with a B grade. 

Glades County schools also were a C district with Moore Haven Middle Senior high and Moore Haven Elementary both Cs and West Glades a C.  Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School at the Brighton Reservation earned a B. 

Hendry County schools earned an incomplete grade with Clewiston High school and Central Elementary a C and Clewiston Middle a D. 

Indiantown Middle school and Warfield Elementary School earned C grades. 

Hendry County’s sheriff Steve Whidden asked for a 14 percent budget hike this year with 11 new deputies requested, three investigators and five new jail guards. 

Commissioner Mitchell Wills said they have to fund the sheriffs request. 

“Sooner rather than later we have to face the reality that these men and women at the sheriff’s office are overwhelmed.  For the safety of the public we are going to have to find a way to fund it.” 

They also permitted a medical marijuana processing facility in Felda that could create up to 1 hundred jobs. 

Commissioner Carson Turner said he felt this would be a benefit to the community. 

“We were all raised in a conservative environment and you are dealing with the word marijuana.  The reality is, times have and will change.  This is bringing a lot of good to a medicine kit that didn’t exist and wasn’t allowed to be part of the kit for a number of years.” 

The county also won’t appeal a decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that allows the Seminole Tribe to purchase 4,000 acres adjacent to their reservation. 

Ken Dodge with the Tribe says they don’t plan to change the agriculture operation on this property and don’t plan to add any gaming on this land.