Archive for the ‘FL’ Category

April 16, 2007

Cottondale, Florida

From of April 15, 2007

Shootout left one person critically injured

An argument between a Cottondale woman and her estranged husband resulted in a shootout Saturday night.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call around 11:40 p.m. from Paul Barber Jr., 52, stating that a man and a woman had been shot at his home, located in the 3400 block of Omaha Trail in Cottondale just west of Marianna. When deputies arrived, the front door had been kicked open and Julian Shiver, 44, and Felisia Shiver, 45, were lying on the floor.

According to reports, Felisia Shiver was visiting Barber when her estranged husband arrived. He wasn’t let in so and (sic) he allegedly kicked the front door open. The confrontation grew into an argument where Julian Shiver pulled out a handgun and shot Felisia Shiver at least once in the head.

Maj. John Dennis said Barber pulled out a shotgun and the two men exchanged gunfire. Reports said Barber struck Julian Shiver twice in the torso.

Both Julian and Felisia Shiver were taken to Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Ala., and have undergone surgery. Dennis said Julian Shiver is in stable condition, and Felisia Shiver is in critical condition.

As of now, Julian Shiver could faces charges of attempted murder and armed burglary.

“He hasn’t been arrested at this time. We’re waiting to find out his condition,”


April 14, 2007

Crestview, Florida

From the Northwest Florida Daily News of April 13, 2007

Police rule shooting of airman justifiable, will not charge wife

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it has determined that the shooting death of an Eglin airman by his wife was a “justifiable use of deadly force.”

No charges will be filed against Febia Wyza, 32, in the death of Eglin Tech. Sgt. James Wyza. The incident took place on March 9 around 8 a.m. at 6114 Magnolia Lane in the Crestview area.

The decision by the Sheriff’s Office was made based on evidence at the scene, the findings of the medical examiner, information gathered during the investigation, statements from Febia Wyza, and a history of domestic violence between the couple. Investigators say Febia Wyza had been a victim of domestic violence for several years.

On the day of the shooting, Febia Wyza said James Wyza came home from work, struck her, slammed her into a wall, and attacked her with a knife, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Febia Wyza hit James Wyza in the groin, went to a bedroom to get a gun, and then went into a bathroom where James Wyza confronted her, the release said.

Febia Wyza said she then shot James Wyza four times with a .357 magnum revolver. Febia Wyza said she and James Wyza had been arguing over her plans to move to St. Augustine with their two children, according to the release.

April 12, 2007

Edgewater, Florida

From the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel of April 12, 2007

Edgewater police investigate possible self-defense shooting

Edgewater police are investigating a shooting in which a 19-year-old man may have shot someone in self-defense, officials said this morning.

The victim, 27-year-old Larryjoe Dillavou, was taken to Halifax Medical Center last night after he was shot in the upper thigh, said Edgewater police spokeswoman Lisa Saunders.

Officers arrived at 19-year-old Henry Pressman’s house on Travelers Palm Drive around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, Saunders said. No charges have been pressed so far, Saunders said, as investigators believe Pressman may have shot Dillavou out of self-defense.

April 12, 2007

West Palm Beach, Florida

From the Palm Beach Post of April 12, 2007

Murder case poses early test for ‘Castle Doctrine’ law

Norman Borden hopes to become a trailblazer – the first defendant in Florida to have a murder charge dismissed because of the state’s fledgling “Castle Doctrine” law.

He should find out next month if he’s successful.

The law, in effect since Oct. 1, 2005, expanded an individual’s right to self-defense. It allows people to shoot another person in their homes, in their vehicles and in a public place, overriding court rulings that people had a duty to retreat from violent confrontations.

The law states that a person has “the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force” if they believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to themselves or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony such as murder or aggravated battery.

Borden, 44, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three other felonies in connection with the shooting deaths of Christopher Araujo, 19, and Saul Trejo, 21, and the wounding of a third man, Juan Mendez, who was 20 at the time.

At a court hearing on Wednesday, Public Defender Carey Haughwout argued that Circuit Judge William Berger should dismiss the indictment against Borden at a future pretrial hearing, saying that a preponderance of the evidence establishes his right to use deadly force.

“He is immune from liability,” she said.

Prosecutor Craig Williams agreed that Berger could make a pretrial determination on whether the Castle Doctrine applies, but argued that the judge need only consider whether there was probable cause – sufficient facts and circumstances to believe that a crime was committed by Borden – in deciding he should go to trial. Even if Borden proceeds to trial, a jury could decide he feared for his life and acquit him.

Several people attended the hearing wearing T-shirts that read, “RIP Chris and Smiley.” “Smiley” was a nickname of Trejo.

Noting that neither the Florida Supreme Court nor the legislature has indicated what standard to use, Berger asked the attorneys to provide additional written arguments. He set a May 14 hearing date, at which he will decide if Borden’s case should be dismissed.

Sheriff’s investigators say that one of the men Borden killed was a local leader in a criminal nationwide street gang known as Surenos 13 or Sur-13. Borden’s attorneys identified him as Trejo. Investigators also say it was Sur-13 members who set fire to Borden’s home a couple of days after the shootings.

Borden and a friend were walking his dogs in his Westgate neighborhood in suburban West Palm Beach around 3 a.m. in October when he exchanged words with either Mendez or Araujo, according to witnesses. Araujo got behind the wheel of a Jeep, accompanied by Trejo, Mendez and a juvenile and drove toward Borden, with more yelling back and forth.

After the juvenile got out of the Jeep, the men drove at Borden and his friend again. Trejo had a bat, according to Borden’s attorneys, and he or Araujo also may have had a gun. This time, Borden opened fire on the Jeep until he had fired 14 rounds from his 9mm handgun. Then he went home and called police.

In arguing for dismissal of Borden’s indictment, Haughwout maintained that the Jeep was driven in a way that made it a deadly weapon, along with the bat and possible gun. Her client had a right to be on a public street and was doing nothing at the time of the incident. And so, she said, he had a right to use deadly force.

Borden isn’t the first man in Palm Beach County to try to utilize the Castle Doctrine. Cabdriver Robert Lee Smiley – also represented by Haughwout – tried to use it as a defense to shooting and killing a fare, but a trial judge and an appeals court said that because Smiley’s crime was committed before the law took effect, it did not apply. After two mistrials on a first-degree murder charge, Smiley pleaded guilty in February to manslaughter.

In October, an Acreage man, Jose Tapanes, fatally shot a 19-year-old neighbor twice after they argued in front of Tapanes’ home. That case is pending, but the Castle Doctrine is a possible defense.

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of May 15, 2007

Judge refuses to dismiss murder charges against man who claims self-defense

A man who shot and killed two alleged gang members will have to convince a jury that he did so in self-defense, after a ruling Monday from a judge who denied Norman Borden’s motion to dismiss the murder charges against him.

Borden, 44, should have immunity from prosecution because he is protected by a 2005 Florida law that eliminates the duty to retreat when danger is imminent and allows the use of deadly force, argued Public Defender Carey Haughwout.

Borden is charged with two counts of murder in the Oct. 8 shootings of Christopher Araujo, 19, and Saul Trejo, 21, in the Westgate neighborhood near West Palm Beach, where Borden lived.

He told investigators the Jeep the men were riding in was headed directly toward him and he was forced to shoot. Juan Mendez, 20, survived the shooting. The incident happened moments after an altercation between Borden and two of the men, who reportedly threatened to hurt Borden and his dogs.

But from the outset of Monday’s hearing, Circuit Judge William Berger appeared reluctant to dismiss the charges, peppering Haughwout’s questions about the law and the Legislature’s intent.

“I think the Legislature intended to do something very different with this law,” said Haughwout, adding that lawmakers made a strong statement with the passage of the law.

The “stand your ground” law provides immunity for anyone who uses force he or she reasonably believes is necessary to prevent death or bodily harm.

Prosecutor Craig Williams said the question of self-defense is one for the jury, not the judge, to decide. Imitating Borden’s actions that night after shooting at the car five times, Williams demonstrated how Borden then emptied his gun, firing off another nine rounds.

“All we’re asking is that this case go to the jury,” Williams said. “They have to decide whether Mr. Borden was reasonable.”

But even if Borden could have retreated after the initial shots, Haughwout said, he had no legal obligation to do so under the law.

Most of the facts in the case are undisputed, Haughwout said. Even prosecutors are not challenging the fact that Araujo and Mendez left the confrontation with Borden and returned with Trejo. Investigators found no firearms in the SUV, but they found a baseball bat resting against Trejo’s body. Mendez has admitted to investigators that he made derogatory statements toward Borden and that Araujo wanted to go get Trejo because Trejo “would help them beat Borden up,” according to court documents.

In court documents, sheriff’s detectives have identified Araujo and Trejo as Sur-13 gang members.

Berger said he gave the matter a great deal of thought but could not reconcile coming up with a procedure that would take away the determination of the case from the jury.

Borden’s trial is set for June 18.

April 7, 2007

Bradenton, Florida

From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune of April 7, 2007

Charge for gun shot in yard is dropped

A homeowner who fired a shotgun into the air to scare away a man fighting in his yard won’t be prosecuted in criminal court.

The state had filed a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully shooting a gun in public against Michael Pelletier, but prosecutors suddenly retreated from the case.

Pelletier, 53, said his friend was under attack by a man in his yard that evening in January. Pelletier fired once into woods behind his house. The man, whom Pelletier said he didn’t know, fled.

A day after the Herald-Tribune published an article about the case, prosecutors announced the state would drop the charge. Pelletier, a state prosecutor said, was defending “life or property” when he fired the shotgun.

“In this case, the defendant discharged his firearm into the air on his own property, which is not a violation of the statute,” an assistant state attorney, Sandy Phillips, said in a memo. Phillips was not the prosecutor who filed the charge.

March 27, 2007

Jacksonville, Florida

From of March 27, 2007

Judge pulls pistol in court

A scuffle below his bench was out of sight, so he grabbed his gun as a precaution.

A Jacksonville judge pulled a handgun in his courtroom after a spectator attacked a defendant.

The fracas occurred Friday after a crime victim’s father hurdled a railing and punched the handcuffed defendant.

Circuit Judge John Merrett then handed his gun to a clerk for safekeeping when he realized bailiffs had subdued the attacker. He met with the man in his chambers and later ordered him released without bail even though he was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors.

Merrett said Monday he would do the same thing again if a similar situation arose in his courtroom. He said he never put his finger on the trigger or pointed the gun at anyone.

But Duval County Public Defender Bill White said the incident was scary enough for lawyers in the courtroom that he plans to talk to the chief judge about disarming the judges.

Most judges in Duval County have concealed weapons permits and have gone through firearms training even if they don’t carry a gun. Merrett, a former assistant state attorney, said he has had extensive firearms training.

State Attorney Harry Shorstein said the judge committed no crime.

Merrett, who took office in January after his election in November, was presiding over a court hearing involving Derrick Kendall McNiel, 21, charged with molesting a child. The judge said the victim’s father, seeing the defendant for the first time, leapt over the railing and charged McNiel, who was cuffed and shackled.

A police report said he landed several punches and threatened to kill McNiel. It took five bailiffs to restore order. The Times-Union isn’t identifying the man because doing so might identify his child.

Merrett said because of the way his courtroom is configured, he couldn’t see the scuffle below his bench, so he drew his gun as a precaution.

“I didn’t know if he was going after me or the bailiffs or the defendant,” the judge said.

Merrett said he held the gun at his side while he peered over the bench. Once he saw that the man was subdued, he said he handed the gun to his courtroom clerk and asked her to lock it in a drawer. He said he did that because the only way for him to get out of the courtroom was to walk past the man and the officers.

“I was stuck,” the judge said.

He praised bailiffs, who are armed, for reacting quickly to protect the courtroom.

Merrett said he had the victim’s father, who had not been arrested, brought to his chambers where he calmed him down and told him to leave the courthouse if he couldn’t control his emotions. Later, when police charged the man with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery, Merrett had him brought back to court so he could release him on his own recognizance.

Merrett said while he doesn’t condone the attack, he can’t blame the man for doing what he did.

White said the incident easily could have escalated into a dangerous situation, and Merrett’s gun added to the potential danger.

“It’s very disconcerting for a lawyer to be in the line of fire,” he said.

White also questioned the judge’s decision to talk to the father and release him because he witnessed the attack and could be called to testify.

He said he plans to talk to Chief Circuit Judge Donald Moran about preventing judges from carrying guns in the courtroom or at least declaring that they are armed.

Moran said he would take such a request under consideration but said part of the problem is the design of Merrett’s courtroom.

The tiny courtroom was designed for civil cases and hasn’t generally been used for criminal proceedings until this year when caseloads required adding a felony judge.

The chief judge said he encourages all the judges to receive firearms training and obtain concealed weapons permits.

March 23, 2007

Miami, Florida

From Miami’s The Miami Herald of March 23, 2007

Man having coffee on porch shoots intruder

A man having his morning cup of coffee on the back porch pulled a handgun and shot an intruder Friday, Miami police said.

The incident happened at 8:48 a.m. in the 1100 block of Northwest 37th Street. John James was relaxing when, he told police, a man broke into the fenced yard and threatened to assault him and break into the home.

James grabbed the .22 Magnum and opened fire, striking the intruder multiple times.

”I guess he was trying to get what he wanted to get,” said the shooter’s brother, John Lee James. “And he got more than that. He got a bullet in the ass.”

The intruder, described as heavyset by neighbors, was taken to the hospital. His condition was not immediately known.

Police were talking to the shooter about what happened. His brother John Lee, with whom he lives, rushed home from work when he learned of the incident.

”I’m just happy my brother is safe and nothing more serious happened,” John Lee James said.

March 19, 2007

Orlando, Florida

From Orlando’s of March 19, 2007

‘Studz’ Bartender Injured In Shootout With Robber

Police Search For Robber Suspect

A bartender in Orlando, Fla., was hospitalized after being involved in a shootout with a robbery suspect at the bar early Monday, according to police.

Orlando police said an armed man entered the back door of the Studz night club located on Mills as the business was closing Monday morning.

The bartender, who was not named, pulled out a gun and the pair exchanged gunfire, investigators said.

The bar worker was shot and transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

March 13, 2007

Clewiston, Florida

From the Bradenton Herald of March 13, 2007

Manatee home invasion suspect shot in Clewiston

A string of home invasions that started in Manatee County ended when a homeowner shot one of the suspects in Clewiston, authorities said Monday.

Two 20-year-olds, a man and woman, were arrested and are suspected in the Saturday home invasion in Manatee County, where a 92-year-old man was beaten and pepper-sprayed, and another one in Polk County, where an 85-year-old woman was beaten.

According to the Clewiston Police Department, Luke Irons, of St. Petersburg, and Chrisanthe Apergis, of Seminole, armed with a BB pistol and a tire iron, forced their way into the home of two elderly homeowners at about 7 p.m. Sunday.

The suspects struggled with the victims, a 74-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman.

The man broke free, grabbed a handgun and fired twice at Irons, hitting him both times, according to a police report.

Irons and Apergis fled the home, but Irons collapsed in the driveway, where the police found him.

The two are suspected in the Manatee County crime, as well as the similar home invasion in Lakeland on Sunday.

Manatee County sheriff’s investigators on Monday were in Clewiston, a small agricultural town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee, taking statements for charges to be filed in Manatee County incident, according to Dave Bristow, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

“We extremely pleased there were captured,” Bristow said. “They picked on the vulnerable by preying on the elderly.”

According to a Manatee sheriff’s report, the Saturday attack occurred about 11 a.m., when the 92-year-old victim was in his carport, in the El Rancho Mobile Home Park, in the 500 block of 44th Avenue East, when a man asked to use his bathroom.

The elderly man said OK, but the suspect dragged him into the mobile home and started beating him, according to a sheriff’s report.

During the attack, the man used pepper spray on the victim.

They were charged with attempted home invasion robbery, burglary and aggravated battery of an elderly person.

From of March 12, 2007

Home invasions stopped with gunfire

Cora Canale was in bed with her oxygen going when someone showed up in her bedroom.

“He stood over me and said, ‘Come on, come on, you gotta give me the money,’ and I wasn’t even awake,” the 85-year-old recalled.

What Canale thought was a dream at first became a real life nightmare. The intruder forced her into the living room and pushed her onto the floor next to the sofa.

“I thought at one time he was going to choke me because he stuck a pillow or something across my face. I couldn’t breath and he finally let up,” she said.

She took off her two diamond rings and hid them while he rifled through her belongings.

Investigators say Luke Irons and his girlfriend Chrisanthe Apergia of Pinellas County were behind the robbery at Canale’s and at the homes of two other elderly people over the weekend.

Police say when Irons left Canale’s home, he took her car. He left one he took in a Manatee County home invasion behind.

But after terrorizing older folks in the Bay Area, investigators say he met his match in Hendry County.

Clewiston police say when Irons was breaking into a home there, an elderly man shot him.

“So I hope it would say ‘bad guys beware,'” offered Lakeland police spokesman, Jack Gillen.

Irons is now hospitalized in intensive care. He just got out of prison a few months ago

Updated 03/17/07

It is astounding that a criminal with this kind of rap sheet has served no jail time.

(Or, to see the original, go here and search for Last Name = Irons, First Name = Luke, and then click on his name on the next screen.) (No permalink available.)

March 4, 2007

Sarasota, Florida

From the of March 3, 2007

Intruder killed during home invasion

Sarasota Police detectives have made an arrest in connection with an early morning home invasion where two people were wounded and one killed.

The incident happened around 4:30 Saturday morning.

Investigators say two men, wearing black ski masks, burst into a home at 2819 Dixie Avenue in Sarasota. Shortly after the intruders broke in, a gunfight took place.

One of the invaders was killed. He is identified as 18-year-old Travis Earl.

The other intruder was identified as 18-year-old Tyrell L. Leverett. Deputies say he was wounded in the hip.

The resident inside the home, 45-year-old Hugh Smith, was shot in the forearm.

Detectives have arrested and charged Leverett with felony murder, and with home invasion with a firearm. He has been booked into the Sarasota County Jail