Appeals Court Upholds Conviction Of Man That Robbed Century Coin Laundry, Fled With Loot In Plastic Pumpkin

July 21, 2019

An appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Century man that robbed a Century laundromat and made his getaway with the loot in a plastic Halloween pumpkin.

In January 2018, William Edward Perry, Jr. was sentenced to 20 years in state prison by Circuit Judge Gary Bergosh as a prison releasee reoffender and as a habitual felony offender. That means Perry will be required to serve the first 15 years of his sentence day for day as a mandatory minimum.

Perry, now 58, appealed, but the Florida First District Court of Appeal last week upheld the sentence.

He was convicted by an Escambia County jury of robbery with a weapon.

On April 21, 2016, Perry entered Century Laundry and Self Storage and committed a robbery. The victim, who was about 70-years old, was the store manager and was alone in the store when Perry entered. The victim was taking  money out of the washers and dryers when Perry came up behind her and took the plastic Halloween bucket of money.

The pumpkin bucket contained approximately $300 in coins. Perry put his hand in her face, told her to get back, and to go sit down behind the counter. Perry then demanded she give him the keys to the store. When the victim refused, Perry fled the scene without the keys but with the money in the pumpkin bucket.

The victim later identified Perry from a photo lineup.

Pensacola Police located Perry panhandling near the intersection of Pace and Cervantes in May 2016. When officers approached, he ran before falling down and scuffling with officers before being taken into custody. He was charged with  battery, two counts of resisting an officer and obstructing police by the Pensacola Police Department. Those charges were later dismissed.

Perry’s criminal record includes escape, burglary, grand theft, resisting officer with violence, and possession of cocaine as well as numerous misdemeanor offenses, including indecent exposure, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

He is currently served out his sentence at the Suwannee Correctional Institution in Live Oak. He is currently set for release in 2036.

Florida To Require Mental Health Instruction In Grades 9-12

July 21, 2019

Florida will  require every public school in the state to provide students with at  least five hours of mental health instruction beginning in the sixth grade under a mandate that was approved by the state Board of Education.

The state will now require school districts to annually provide a minimum of five hours of instruction to grades 6-12 students related to youth mental health awareness and assistance. The instruction must include awareness an of signs and symptoms, the process of seeking help for themselves or others and what to do or say to peers struggling with mental health disorders. Students will also be made aware of resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

In May, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced Hope for Healing Florida, a new multi-agency mental health and substance abuse campaign. The Hope for Healing Floridacampaign will leverage, in part, the resources of private sector partners to produce and distribute mental health and substance abuse resource materials throughout the state at no cost to taxpayers. Those resources will help guide families in need to meaningful help in a timely fashion.

“Ron and I have traveled the state and have heard from many families who voice concern about the struggles that adversely affect so many of our children,” Casey DeSantis said. We know that 50 percent of all mental illness cases begin by age 14, so we are being proactive in our commitment to provide our kids with the necessary tools to see them through their successes and challenges. Providing mental health instruction is another important step forward in supporting our families.”

Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said, “This is just the beginning. It’s no secret that mental illness robs students of the ability to reach their full potential, and we are joining forces to combat this disease and give our students the tools they need to thrive.  We are going to reinvent school-based mental health awareness in Florida, and we will be the number one state in the nation in terms of mental health outreach and school safety.”

No Arrests After Man Shot In Cantonment By His Wife’s Ex-Husband

July 21, 2019

UPDATE: Saturday night, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said there have been no arrests in this case. The ECSO incorrectly released information earlier in the day that a suspect had been arrested. The ECSO later retracted that statement and said a man was questioned, but he was not charged.

One man was shot in Cantonment Saturday afternoon, and another man was taken into custody.

The shooting happened about 12:45 p.m. in the 600 block of Hanley Downs Drive, just off West Kingsfield Road.

According to Sgt. Melanie Peterson of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, a man arrived at the home of his ex-wife and shot her current husband.  Peterson said the the victim’s wounds were not considered life threatening.

Further details will be posted when available.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

Father Dead After Shooting His 3-Year Old In Escambia County

July 20, 2019

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office says a man shot his own 3-year old child before turning the gun on himself Saturday afternoon.

The incident happened on Wyoming Drive near the Fairfield Drive and New Warrington Road spur just before 2:30 p.m.

The father picked up his toddler from the mother’s home, walked about about 100 yards away and then shot the child twice before shooting himself, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The man was pronounced deceased at the scene. At last report, the child was in critical condition at a local hospital.