Crime

Jury Recommends Life In Prison Without Parole For Russell Tillis

Apr 16, 2021
Russell Tillis
News4Jax

A jury of 12 men and women have recommended a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Russell Tillis, the man convicted in the murder and dismemberment of Joni Gunter.

Fernandina Beach Woman Gets 30 Day In Jail For Coughing In Face Of Cancer Patient

Apr 9, 2021
Via News4jax

A Fernandina Beach woman who coughed on and then threatened another shopper inside a Jacksonville Pier 1 Imports was sentenced to 30 days in jail Thursday, followed by six months of probation.

Jacksonville Judge Tells Russell Tillis To Be Quiet As Murder Trial Begins

Apr 7, 2021
News4Jax

The long-delayed trial of Russell Tillis charged with kidnapping, first-degree murder and abuse of a body in the death of 30-year-old Joni Gunter began Wednesday with explosive evidence and comments from the defendant.

Sgt. Tamara Hardin
JSO Twitter feed / Via News4Jax

A veteran Jacksonville police officer is facing two felony charges and will likely lose her job after she was accused of passing information from a confidential law enforcement database to a family friend.

JSO Officer Arrested After Punching Handcuffed Suspect Who Spit On Him

Apr 1, 2021
Florida Times-Union

A 28-year-old police officer is under arrest after a handcuffed man was struck after a spitting incident outside an Arlington pool room, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Florida State University law professor Dan Markel was killed outside his Tallahassee home in a murder-for-hire plot in 2014, amid a bitter child-custody dispute with his ex-wife Wendi Adelson.

As Ruth and Phil Markel continue to grieve the death of their son, their loss has continued to grow.

It’s been five years since the Markels have seen their grandsons Benjamin and Lincoln, after Adelson stopped allowing the boys to have contact with their “bubbe” and “zayde.”

Chris Ambrosio
Foreground photo: City of Jacksonville Beach / Background photo: Bill Bortzfield/WJCT News

The city of Jacksonville Beach announced Wednesday its city attorney has been arrested.

Jacqueline Larma / Associated Press file photo

In the decades after the Civil Rights era, some Black communities in Jacksonville have remained disproportionately impoverished, blighted, and policed. 

Video screengrab via Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Teri Sopp’s former self stares down from a wall in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office in Jacksonville. The painting, a gift more than a dozen years ago, bears silent witness as she works to free people also frozen in time, serving lifelong sentences for crimes committed before they turned 18.

Updates On Floridians Facing Charges In Capitol Siege

Mar 12, 2021

Two months ago, a man was photographed walking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern hefted over his shoulder in the U.S. Capitol.

Top Florida Law Official Describes 'Extremely Lax' Security At Hacked Water Plant

Mar 9, 2021
Fresh Take Florida

A top Florida law enforcement official told Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state leaders Tuesday that "extremely lax" security at a municipal water plant northwest of Tampa allowed hackers to break into its computers to try to poison residents earlier this year.

Lawsuit Claims Jacksonville Officer Lied About Fatal Shooting Of Jamee Johnson

Mar 8, 2021
Dan Scanlan / The Florida Times-Union

Calling testimony given by sheriff's officer Josue Garriga "a lie," the family of Jamee Johnson killed in a Dec. 14, 2019, police shooting filed a federal lawsuit against the officer, his department and the city.

A bill to allow law enforcement to use drones for collecting evidence at crime scenes and traffic crashes passed its second committee stop today. It would also open the door for police to manage traffic with drones. But officers could not use any images or video collected from the device to give out a traffic ticket.

News4Jax

Three people were shot and killed at the Calloway Cove Apartments on Moncrief Road in Northwest  Jacksonville early this Tuesday.

A grand jury has indicted a former Tallahassee corrections worker on charges of sexually abusing inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee.

The federal grand jury has issued a three-count indictment charging Jimmy Lee Highsmith with sexual abuse of a ward. In a statement from U.S. district attorney Lawrence Keefe’s office, officials say Highsmith is accused of sexually abusing three inmates between March 2014 and September 2018.

News4Jax

A Jacksonville man who worked for a portable toilet company is accused of illegally dumping hundreds of gallons of waste into a wooded area on the Northside.

City of Jacksonville

After several attempts to avoid serving any time, two former Jacksonville city council members, Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown are scheduled to report to federal prisons Friday, Jan. 29.

A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office patrol car is pictured.
News4Jax

City Council has passed a bill that approves the hiring and training of 40 additional Jacksonville police officers. 

News4Jax

The director of the Duval County Public Schools Police Department has resigned.

Jacksonville University Orders Campus Evacuation Due To Email Threat

Jan 22, 2021
Will Dickey / Florida Times-Union file photo

Jacksonville University ordered anyone on campus to immediately evacuate Friday afternoon, citing a threat that was made. 

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

The FBI’s Jacksonville office has arrested a Baker County man accused of having a role in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

An Ocala-area man is charged in connection with this week’s armed assault on the U.S. Capitol. He was taken into custody as part of a joint operation between the FBI Jacksonville Division and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson's office

Saying she is excited to bring data and transparency to Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit, State Attorney Melissa Nelson’s office has unveiled a new data dashboard website.

Gold Rush Inn's Business License Suspended After Continued Violence At Northside Motel

Dec 17, 2020
Bob Self / The Florida Times-Union

The business license for a Northside motel that's been the scene of multiple homicides and other crimes in the past year has been suspended by the state after efforts from Jacksonville and Florida lawmakers to shut it down.

Clay County Schools Guardian Arrested For Cocaine Possession

Dec 15, 2020
Clay County Sheriff's Office

A Clay County Schools guardian has been charged and arrested for possession of cocaine.

Couple Charged In Teacher Certification Test Scheme

Dec 14, 2020

An Estero couple, both educators, entered not-guilty pleas Friday in federal court, after being hit with more than 100 wire-fraud and racketeering charges stemming from an alleged scheme that involved selling Florida teacher-certification test information.

Authorities say that between January 2016 and March 2020, Kathleen M. Jasper, 42, and Jeremy M. Jasper, 40, allegedly sold fraudulently obtained content from the Florida Teacher Certification Exam and the Florida Educational Leadership Exam, which is for administrators.

2 Men Sought After Jacksonville Football Star Shot

Dec 10, 2020
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office / Via News4Jax

A former NFL player and Notre Dame star is recovering in the hospital after he was shot at a Jacksonville gas station.

Entire Crescent City Police Department Placed On Leave

Dec 8, 2020

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has taken over jurisdiction from the Crescent City Police Department while the entire department is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

St. Petersburg Police Debut New Human Trafficking App

Dec 8, 2020

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway on Monday announced the creation of a new smartphone app that allows people to submit anonymous tips to the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force.

"We want to tell the victims one thing: we are here for you, your voice is being heard. We're there ready to rescue you if you're ready to come home to your family," Holloway said during a Facebook Live press conference.

The app, which bears the same name as the task force, is free to download. Users can submit a subject line, location, description, and photo or video clip.

There's no clear pattern to several shootings in St. Petersburg in the last month, including Wednesday night's killing by police of a man wanted in connection to a murder.

But one thing is clear: the economic downturn caused by the pandemic is hitting minorities hard.

The Rev. Kenny Irby is pastor of the Historic Bethel AME Church and is St. Petersburg's Community Intervention Director, focusing on the city's young African American residents. The violence, he says, may be provoked by systemic racism experienced by the Black community.

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