Hiring Event Friday At Santa Rosa Correctional

September 28, 2016

The Florida Department of Corrections will host a hiring event Friday at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution.

The Florida Department of Corrections is seeking qualified individuals to join the agency. Applicants should bring the following (if possible): driver’s license, legible copy of birth certificate, social security card, high school diploma, GED or college transcripts and any name change documents (if applicable), such as a marriage certificate. Veterans and current reservists/Guardsmen should bring a copy of their DD-214 or military ID, respectively.

The event will be held at 9:00 a.m Friday, but applicants should arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution at 5850 East Milton Road.

For employment information contact Recruitment Officer Christy Padgett at (850) 983-5909 or padgett.christy@mail.dc.state.fl.us.

Death Penalty On Hold As Court Looks For Answers

September 28, 2016

Throughout this year, Florida’s death penalty has been in a state of limbo.

Executions are on hold, judges across the state are postponing death penalty cases, and defense lawyers are seeking additional reviews in the aftermath of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in January that struck down Florida’s death-penalty sentencing process.

The U.S. Supreme Court said Florida gave too much power to judges, instead of juries, in deciding whether defendants should be executed. But the 8-1 ruling also created uncertainty by failing to address whether jury recommendations for death sentences should be unanimous.

The focus is now on the Florida Supreme Court, left grappling with a variety of issues related to the January ruling and a law hurriedly passed by state lawmakers in response to the decision.

“Defense lawyers are trying to push the cases off, waiting for the court, and in some instances judges are going along with it,” said Bernie McCabe, the state attorney in the 6th Judicial Circuit in Pasco and Pinellas counties. “And if they don’t go along with it, defense lawyers file other motions claiming other stuff, to try to push it. So the frustration is we’re not getting the cases to trial that ought to be tried. And, unlike fine wine, my cases don’t get better with age.”

Of nearly three dozen states that have the death penalty, Florida is one of only three states — including Delaware and Alabama — that do not require unanimous jury recommendations for death. Delaware’s death penalty is also in flux. The Delaware Supreme Court in August decided that the state’s death-penalty process, similar to Florida’s, was unconstitutional. In contrast to Florida, Delaware’s last execution was in 2012.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a case known as Hurst v. Florida dealt with the sentencing phase of death-penalty cases after defendants are found guilty, and it focused on “aggravating circumstances” that must be determined before defendants can be sentenced to death. The ruling cemented a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision, in a case known as Ring v. Arizona, requiring that determinations of such aggravating circumstances must be made by juries, not judges.

Under Florida’s old law, jurors by a simple majority could recommend the death penalty. Judges would then make findings of fact that “sufficient” aggravating factors, not outweighed by mitigating circumstances, existed for the death sentence to be imposed.

That system was an unconstitutional violation of the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in an 8-1 ruling.

After the Hurst decision, Florida justices indefinitely postponed executions that had been scheduled to take place in February and March. The decision also set off a scramble by lawmakers to revise the sentencing system.

Florida’s new law — crafted by the Republican-controlled Legislature during the session that ended in March — requires juries to unanimously determine “the existence of at least one aggravating factor” before defendants can be eligible for death sentences. The law also requires at least 10 jurors to recommend the death penalty in order for the sentence to be imposed, a departure from the old law, which required a simple majority of jurors.

After hearing arguments in dozens of cases since January, the Florida Supreme Court is considering whether the Hurst decision applies to defendants whose death sentences were handed down before the January ruling. The court is also poised to decide a variety of other issues, including whether the new law — which does not require a unanimous recommendation for death — is constitutional.

One of the most highly anticipated decisions involves the case of Larry Darnell Perry, who was convicted in the 2013 murder of his infant son.

“Clearly at this stage in our jurisprudence, we want to make sure that the statute is construed in a constitutional manner so that we don’t have another 15 years of death penalty — if the state wants the death penalty, which apparently it does — in flux,” Justice Barbara Pariente said June 7 during arguments in Perry’s case.

Perry’s case hinges on whether the new law should apply to defendants whose prosecutions were underway when the new law went into effect. While Perry’s lawyer, J. Edwin Mills, argued that the new law should not apply in his client’s case, other defense lawyers are split on the issue. Mills contends his client should receive a life sentence.

Arguments in the Perry case also focused on the new law, which circuit judges in Tampa and Miami have ruled is unconstitutional because it does not require unanimous recommendations from juries.

Lawmakers adopted the 10-2 recommendation at the urging of prosecutors, who objected to the notion of requiring unanimity.

“Philosophically, I’ve never had a real problem with unanimity. My problem has always been what happens then to the cases that have already been tried, when the jury was told that their recommendation did not have to be unanimous. Do you undo 20 or 30 years of jurisprudence and impact cases?” McCabe said. “If you litigate that case and that case gets affirmed and they uphold the constitutionality of the system under which the sentence was imposed, I don’t think decades later they should come in and say, ‘Oops, we didn’t mean to,’ because the personalities are now different on the court.”

The issues awaiting Florida Supreme Court decisions will have a far-reaching impact, affecting inmates already on Death Row as well as defendants whose cases are in progress or have not yet reached the trial stage.

Confident that the court will uphold the new law, prosecutors are moving forward with capital cases.

“We believe that the changes have made the death penalty constitutional again,” Dave Aronberg, state attorney in the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, said.

But at the circuit level, many judges are hesitant to try capital cases that could be overturned after a Florida Supreme Court ruling, according to Pete Mills, an assistant public defender in the 10th Judicial Circuit who is chairman of the Florida Public Defender Association’s death penalty steering committee.

Ambiguity over Florida’s death penalty has created frustration for judges, prosecutors and even defense lawyers.

“It creates a strain for everybody involved,” Mills said. “We all want to be able to resolve these cases. But, going forward with statutes that are unconstitutional without having constitutionally approved jury instructions, is an invitation to disaster and will cause a lot of cases to have to be retried.”

Some judges are asking defense lawyers to agree to proceed with the first phase of trials, to determine guilt or innocence, and put the sentencing phase of the trials on hold until the Florida Supreme Court rules on the new law.

“There’s definitely a lack of uniformity across the circuit courts and the federal district courts in terms of Hurst issues,” said Maria DeLiberato, an attorney representing Death Row inmate Dane Abdool.

Abdool is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit centered on the constitutionality of Florida’s lethal injection procedure. A federal judge in Jacksonville recently put Abdool’s case on hold, pending decisions from the Florida Supreme Court.

State Attorney Brad King in the 5th Judicial Circuit acknowledged that finality from the court would be welcome.

“For the efficiency of the system, everybody would like to see it resolved and we move on from there,” he said.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Event Today To Mark 15 Years Since Disappearance Of Danielle Bell

September 28, 2016

Recent missing person cases in our local area have garnered community attention and awareness. KlaasKIDS Foundation will host a Missing Person’s Community Awareness walk on September 28 th to bring additional attention and awareness to the 15 missing person cases in Escambia and Santa Rosa County.

Today,, the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of Danielle Bell of Cantonment, the KlaasKIDS Foundation will host a Missing Person’s Community Awareness Walk at Bartram Park on Bayfront Parkway beginning at 6:00 p.m.

This free community event will include family members of our local missing persons and a “silent” walk from Bartram Park to the Hawkshaw Missing Person’s Memorial.

Brad Dennis, director of Search Operations for the KlaasKids Foundation, will also announce new efforts to search for answers surrounding Danielle Bell’s suspicious disappearance.

Danielle Arion Bell was last seen at age 14 at a party in September 2001 in the 500 block of Cedar Tree Lane, between Highway 29 and Highway 95A in Cantonment.

Witnesses told authorities that Bell left a party with a man that was in his mid-twenties at the time. Escambia County deputies later questioned that man and searched his home, but he was never charged in connection with the case.

During the summer of 2007, Alfredo Gomez Sanchez, Jr. was charged with providing law enforcement with false information about his whereabouts at the time Bell disappeared. He was not implicated in her disappearance.

In October 2010, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit served a search warrant at the home.

As part of that search warrant, a septic tank behind the residence was pumped out, and dogs from Escambia County Search and Rescue were also used to search the area.  Investigators said nothing was found, and they would not say what new information might have led to the search.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Danielle has a scar on her right forearm and blue eyes. She had brown hair at the time of her disappearance. Danielle, whose nickname was “Dani”, was a member of the Tate Aggies cheerleading squad. The popular teen enjoyed dancing and drawing.

Anyone with information about Bell is asked to call the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (850) 436-9580 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.

Pictured top: Investigators pumped and searched a septic tank at this home on Cedar Tree Lane in Cantonment in October 2010 in the case of missing teen Danielle Arion Bell. Pictured below: A search and rescue K-9 team was also on site. Pictured bottom: A septic tank company employee prepares to pump a septic tank at the home. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

Achieve Escambia Hires First Executive Director

September 28, 2016

Greg Voss has been named director of Achieve Escambia; Pensacola’s new cradle to career collective impact effort. Voss has more than 25 years of experience working in non-profit management.

Most recently Voss served as the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region in Wisconsin. Voss has also held leadership positions with the American Red Cross and Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

“We are excited to hire Greg to serve as Achieve Escambia’s director,” said Debbie Calder, executive vice President of Greater Pensacola Operations for Navy Federal Credit Union and current chair of the Achieve Escambia Leadership Council. “Greg has extensive experience as a strong non-profit leader and brings a passion and enthusiasm that will help fully launch this cradle to career effort.”

Achieve Escambia is a collective impact partnership of leaders and stakeholders in education, non-profit, business, faith, community, civic and philanthropic sectors committed to aligning community resources so everyone is empowered to achieve success. The partnership shares a vision and strategy for improving cradle to career outcomes through a structured, evidence based, long-term approach. As a result of community input, Achieve Escambia will focus its initial efforts to the area of school readiness.

“I’ve been impressed by the collective support and strong commitment Achieve Escambia has received from the community,” Voss said. “I am proud to be part of such an exciting effort to not only improve career readiness, but improve lives.”

Voss will officially begin working with Achieve Escambia on October 24.

Achieve Escambia was founded in 2016 when members of the Pensacola business community identified a need to better support and supplement the career readiness efforts taking place across Pensacola. The group’s mission is to improve education and workforce outcomes for the community; every child, every step of the way, cradle to career.

Brick Sale Continues For Century High School Monument

September 28, 2016

Memorial bricks from the old Century High School have been on sale since July for inclusion in a monument, and so far sales have been very, very slow.

To date, only eight bricks have been purchased for the monument, but now is the time for former  Century Blackcats to step up and buy a brick, according to members of the Century Bricks and Monument Committee.

Engraved bricks are being sold at $50 each to be placed around a 1936 monument and flagpole salvaged from the former school, which was demolished due to tornado damage. In total, about 2,100 bricks were saved from the school building for the project. The $50 covers the cost of engraving the brick and construction of the monument; there is no profit made.

“No two of the bricks look alike,” Committee member Regi Burkett said during a Tuesday evening meeting. “That’s the character of 80-year old brick. This is not a store bought brick. The history is there.”

Each brick can be engraved with up to three lines of text with up to 20 characters per line.

To print an order form, visit CenturyHighBricks.com or pick up an order form at the Century Town Hall. Committee members will also be taking orders and have sample bricks available during a Fall Festival October 15 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Showalter Park.

Pictured top: A Tuesday evening meeting of the Century Bricks and Monument Committee. Pictured bottom: A sample engraved Century High School brick. Pictured inset: A 1936 monument salvaged from the former school will be in the center of the monument. Pictured below: A conceptual drawing of the monument. NorthEscambia.com photos/images, click to enlarge.

Northview Cross Country Meet Results (With Gallery)

September 28, 2016

Pensacola Christian Academy took first place for both male and female runners Tuesday afternoon at Northview High School in Bratt.

School participating were: Northview, Ernest Ward, Jay, Flomaton, Laurel Hill and PCA.

For a photo gallery, click here.

(Results are below photo, scroll down)

Meet results were as follows:

Fastest Girl- Katylyn Buschman from PCA 21:51

Fastest boy- Hunter Stewart from PCA 18:00


  1. Pensacola Christian Academy
  2. Jay
  3. Flomaton
  4. Northview
  5. Ernest Ward


  1. Pensacola Christian Academy
  2. Northview
  3. Jay
  4. Flomaton
  5. Laurel Hill
  6. Ernest Ward

Top 5 Runners for each School


  1. Jasmine Elliott 26:14
  2. Marissa Rothrock 27:26
  3. Rebekah Amerson 29:29
  4. Hannah McGahan 29:33
  5. Kirsten White 29:37
  1. Brandon Korinchak 19:02
  2. Tanner Levins 21:20
  3. Oscar Rodriguez 21:44
  4. Adrian King 23:09
  5. Josiah Stilwell 23:55

Ernest Ward

  1. Leah Anderson 31:29
  2. Jordan Stanley 31:46
  3. Emily Levins 32:37
  4. Kacy Knable 33:55
  5. Hadassah Mascaro 33:57
  1. Dakota Bryan 24:03
  2. Kole Stewart 25:07
  3. Braedan McGhee 27:22
  4. Levi Kirkpatrick 27:41
  5. Eric Amerson 29:51


  1. Kristin Coleman 25:19
  2. Charley Boutwell 26:27
  3. Shelby Barnes 28:18
  4. Makenzie Morrison 29:11
  5. Patricia Rogers 29:23
  1. Dwayne Hamby 19:27
  2. Dylan Patterson 23:04
  3. Will Rolin 25:50
  4. Dustin Martin 26:27
  5. Jacob strehl 29:07


  1. Jillian Thornton 23:52
  2. Hannah Whitlock 24:08
  3. Grace Gillman 25:38
  4. Laryn Kimmons 26:54
  5. Emma Barrow 28:42
  1. Chance Thornton 21:07
  2. Austin Gonzalez 22:00
  3. Jimmie Ates 23:51
  4. Jacob Gonzalez 25:07
  5. Ryan Wayland 26:20

Pensacola Christian Academy

  1. Katylyn Buschman 21:51
  2. Karissa Porter 24:23
  3. Hannah Box
  4. Ruth Ann Gipson
  5. Kayla Porter
  1. Hunter Stewart 18:00
  2. Ben Fulford 20:05
  3. Michael Lunsford 21:19
  4. Hayden Brown 21:59
  5. Ben Lucoay 22:11

Laurel Hill

  1. Sarah Mchon 30:54
  2. Cheyanne Regan35:17
  3. Madison Williams 35:43
  1. Garrett Mcvoy 22:41
  2. Drew Raef 22:50
  3. Mark Steele 24:49
  4. Mark Posey 31:29
  5. Jonathon Murphy 31:42

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Get Ready — Fall Feeling Weather To Come

September 28, 2016

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Today: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Light northwest wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 62. West wind around 5 mph.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 85. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night: Clear, with a low around 56. North wind around 5 mph.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 80. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Friday Night: Clear, with a low around 57. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming northeast after midnight.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 83. North wind around 5 mph.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 59. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 86. North wind around 5 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon.

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 62.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 87.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 65.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 88.

Holman Correctional Officer Busted For Smuggling Contraband

September 27, 2016

A correctional officer was arrested Saturday at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.

Dejuan Reshad Rudolph, age 25 of Atmore, was charged with drug trafficking of cocaine, drug trafficking of a synthetic substance, possession of a controlled substance and using an official position for personal gain. He remained in the Escambia County(AL)  Detention Center in Brewton Tuesday morning.

Rudolph was reportedly arrested with controlled substances, cell phones and other contraband in his possession. He had been employed with the Alabama Department of Corrections since late 2015.

Officials Confirm Holman Prison Correctional Officers Skip Work

September 27, 2016

The Alabama Department of Corrections has confirmed reports that numerous correctional officers at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore did not report to work on Saturday.

“Some correctional officers assigned to William C. Holman Correctional Facility did not report for the third shift on Saturday,” Bob Horton, ADOC spokesman, said. “As a result, officers from other correctional facilities augmented Holman’s security staff. Prison officials have not reported further incidents.”

“Most officers assigned to the facility’s third shift reported to work the following day.  At no time did the officers state that they were participating in a strike, nor did they express any demands or grievances,” an ADOC news release Tuesday afternoon stated. “The Department of Corrections confirms unofficial reports of an officer strike at the prison came from inmate advocate groups and not from department officials.”

“Last night at Holman prison an emergency situation developed as ALL of the officers assigned to the second shift waged a historic work strike for the first time in the history of the Alabama Department of Corrections,” prisoner advocacy group The Free Alabama Movement wrote in a statement.

“Assistant Commissioner Grantt Culliver was dispatched to the prison, where he then had to order supervisors from another prison, Atmore CF, to report to Holman prison just to be able to serve meals,” FAM added in a press statement.

“The officers at Holman, who have been defying ADOC policy and speaking publicly to the media, had communicated their plans to FAM members, and expressed their support for nonviolent and peaceful demonstrations against the human rights conditions existent at Holman,” FAM declared.

The strike came the same day as the funeral for Holman corrections officer Kenneth Bettis, 44, of Monroeville who died after being assaulted and stabbed by an inmate at the Atmore facility. The stabbing came in retaliation for being denied an extra tray of food in the facility’s dining hall during the noon meal.

Holman has been the center of several prison disturbances and inmate strikes this year.

NorthEscambia.com photos.

Escambia Man Faces Life Sentence For Abusing Children

September 27, 2016

An Escambia County man is facing up to life in prison after being convicted of molesting two children.

An Escambia County jury convicted Gregory McLean of one count of lewd or lascivious molestation of a victim less than 12 years of age by an offender over 18 years of age and one count of lewd or lascivious molestation of a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age by an offender over 18 years of age.

On January 15, 2016, the defendant’s cell phone was located in a bathroom trying to video record one of the victims getting into the shower. After the discovery of the cell phone, both of the victims revealed that the defendant had molested them when they were younger. One victim was between the ages of 9 and 10 years of age at the time of the molestation, and the other victim was between the ages of 12 and 13 years of age.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 8 in front of Judge John L. Miller. McLean faces a minimum of 25 years in prison with lifetime sexual offender probation up to a maximum penalty of life in prison. McLean will also be designated as a sexual predator.

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