December 7, 2013
The third suspect indicted for murder in connection with the November 2012 shooting death of a Davisville lottery store owner has entered a not guilty plea.
Michael Brad Orso, age 28 of Atmore, was arrested just last month and was due to make his first court appearance Friday. His attorney waived the arrangement and entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.
Orso, is charged with premeditated first-degree murder for allegedly assisting in planning the robbery and providing the gun used in the shooting death of store own Thomas “Tommy” Kroll during a robbery on November 6, 2012.
Malcolm Troy McGhee was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the crime late last month. His codefendent, 21-year old Brent Lambeth, previously pleaded no contest to second degree murder. Under his plea deal, he will receive no more than 30 years in prison in exchange for his testimony against McGhee and Orso.
NorthEscambia.com file photo.
December 7, 2013
Motorists would have to slow down or move over a lane when approaching a utility vehicle parked on the side of a road, under a proposal filed Friday by Sen. Greg Evers, who represents the North Escambia area.
The measure would require utility crews — working on electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, cable, telephone or communications services —- to be engaged in tasks related to the purposes of the vehicles.
Florida’s 11-year-old “Move Over” law requires motorists to slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted limit — when the limit is 25 mph or greater — or to move over a lane when they approach emergency vehicles parked along the sides of roads.
No House companion has been filed to Evers’ bill.
By The News Service of Florida
Pictured top: Electric linemen work on County Road 99A at Highway 97, adjacent to Ernest Ward Middle School. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.
December 6, 2013
Christmas came early for Molino Park Elementary School Thursday, thanks to the generosity of Aldersgate United Methodist Church and numerous people in the Molino community.
Just days before school started last August, the school was the victim of a burglary and vandalism. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of electronics were stolen from throughout the school, including Apple computers, iPads, Wii gaming systems, cameras and more. Many of the stolen items, including computers and iPads, were burned by the suspects.
The Escambia County School District is self insured up to $100,000, with the school responsible for paying for 20 percent of allowed losses. Molino Park was left 26 computers short because the school district will not replace computers over seven years old.
Thursday, Aldersgate presented Molino Park with a check for $2,868.89, which was in addition to an $810 donation made in September. The church and its members worked hard to raise the funds, earning the money through pulpit appears, special offerings, their monthly United Methodist men’s breakfast, three Wednesday night family dinners and through donations at the church’s Back to School Bash in September.
“This money will assist us tremendously in replacing some of the technology lost,” aid Molino Park Principal Alice Woodward.
“When we learned about the break-in, we wanted to do everything we could to remedy the situation so that the children of our community would not have to suffer from lack of computer equipment through no fault of their own,” said Rev. Alan Gantzhorn of Aldersgate. “Our church is committed to doing what it can to make our community a better place.”
Aldersgate UMC, and Molino’s Highland Baptist Church, are both Partners in Education with Molino Park. And Molino Park has been a mission focus for the Aldersgate for the past three years.
“I want to thank everyone that has contributed to our losses, partners Aldersgate and Highland, community donations, our PTA and parents,” Woodward said. “Your donations have assisted with covering part of our 20 percent as well as purchasing some iPads to replace some of the older computers that were not replaced. Your support keeps us going.”
Five people — two adults and three juveniles — were arrested in connection with the burglary and vandalism. They are all awaiting trial.
Pictured top and bottom: These photos show empty spots were computers were stolen from Molino Park Elementary School. Pictured inset: Aldersgate United Methodist Church Rev. Alan Gantzhorn presents a check to Molino Park Elementary School Principal Alice Woodward Thursday. Submitted and NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.
December 6, 2013
Interim County Administrator George Touart won’t be named Escambia County’s permanent administrator. Thursday night, the county commission voted 3-2 to remove Touart from the pool of candidates being considered for the job.
On a motion made by District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry, the commission voted 3-2 to remove Touart from the list of 16 candidates presented by a national search firm hired to help find a new administrator. Barry, Lumon May and Grover Robinson voted in favor of the motion, while Gene Valentino and Wilson Robertson voting against.
“I’m just ready to get somebody in here that’s a permanent administrator that will move Escambia County forward,” Robinson said, after saying Touart was not ever meant to be the permanent administrator. “Somebody that will begin to unify both this board and the citizenry…I think it is important that we find that leader and bring that leader forward.”
“Are y’all afraid George might make the top five?” Robertson asked his fellow commissioners. “Are y’all afraid the citizens (advisory committee) don’t have enough sense to make a decision on the top five. Why have we got to single out and exclude anybody?”
The list of 15 semifinalists will now go to a citizens advisory committee and the consulting company to be narrowed down to a list of five. Those five candidates will be vetted with proper background checks and the finalist list presented to the commission at their January 9 meeting. Commissioners hope to have the new administrator in place by February.
The commission’s 3-2 vote also prohibits Touart from making any senior level staffing changes without board approval during the remaining days at interim administrator.
Pictured top: District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry Thursday night. Pictured bottom inset: George Touart.
December 6, 2013
Five people have been charged in connection with three “significant” burglaries in Molino last month.
Garland David McKenzie, 20, Ke’Shawn Denzel Bryant, 18, Leviticus Al Deonte Dawson, 20, Antoinette Danielle White, 22, and juvenile John David Murphy are facing a long list of felony charges including armed burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief. McKenzie, Bryant, Dawson and Murphy are also charged with felony animal cruelty — causing the cruel death pain and suffering of an animal.
McKenzie, Bryant and Dawson are charged with burglaries on Brickyard Road, Brickton Road and Oreo Drive. Murphy is charged in connection with the Brickton and Brickyard burglaries, while White is only charged in the Oreo Road burglary.
Weapons, currency, jewelry and electronics were stolen from the homes on October 10 and October 17.
Investigators executed a search warrant at McKenzie’s Pensacola home, recovering items including firearms and electronics from the three Molino homes. During an interview with investigators, McKenzie said that on October 10 he drove his van to the Lincoln Park area where he picked up Bryant, Dawson and Murphy, and drove to Molino. They found an “antique” looking house on Brickton Road, according to an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office report, broke the glass out of the front door and immediately began removing items including jewelry, electronics and a firearm.
During the burglary, Dawson used a knife to kill a pet caged Cockatoo bird, according to the report, for an unknown reason, according to information McKenzie provided to investigators. McKenzie told Sheriff’s investigators the group decided the Thompson Center .50 caliber muzzle loader was not an item they could sell, and it was thrown into bushes near the home. The firearm was recovered from that location.
The group then drove to another home on Brickyard Road where they committed another burglary.
McKenzie, Bryant, Dawson and White then returned to Molino on October 17 where they committed the Oreo Driver burglary, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
Additional information is expected to be released later from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and this story will be updated.