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The Office of the State Attorney is committed to transparency and responds to all records requests in a timely manner. If you wish to make a request, you can do so by contacting Paul Sessions, custodian of Public Records, at (863) 534-4844 or by clicking the button to submit a request.

Recent Press Releases

State Attorney Brian Haas

Enrollment Opens for Second Annual SAO Citizens Academy

  The State Attorney’s Office is accepting applications for the second annual Citizens Academy. The eight-week program will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each Thursday starting March 12 in the Bartow courthouse. The Academy gives residents in the 10th Circuit an opportunity to learn more about the criminal justice system. Citizens will hear […]

Jason Elsea

Lakeland man receives life sentence for raping 14-year-old girl

  A 35-year-old man was sentenced to two life sentences Thursday for raping a 14-year-old girl who became pregnant and later gave birth. Jason Elsea, of Lakeland, pleaded guilty in December. Before Elsea was sentenced, Assistant State Attorney Ashley McCarthy urged Circuit Judge William “Bill” Sites to sentence Elsea to life in prison. McCarthy explained […]

Jamaal Smith

Miami man sentenced to life for 2016 fatal shootings

A Miami man was recently sentenced to life in prison for killing three Lakeland residents during a robbery inside a Lakeland home in 2016. Jamaal Smith, 29, became the second person sentenced in the brutal killing and robbery of Angelica Castro, Eneida Branch and David Washington. In 2019, Johnathan Alcegaire, 31, was sentenced to death […]

Michael Gordon

Judge sentences man to die for fatal stabbings of mother, daughter

A circuit judge sentenced a man to death today for the fatal stabbings of a mother and daughter in Haines City in 2015. Circuit Judge Jalal Harb upheld the unanimous death penalty recommendation for Michael Gordon by a jury from 2019, writing in a sentencing order that Gordon’s actions were “consistent with the conclusion that […]

Julio Aponte

Frostproof man convicted of robbing man in restaurant with flare gun

  A Frostproof man was convicted Wednesday of robbery.   Wearing a mask over his face, Julio Aponte, 33, used a flare gun to rob two people in the La Botana restaurant food store in Lake Wales. Jurors took 30 minutes to convict Aponte of robbery with a weapon, attempted robbery with a weapon, and […]

Julio Ruiz

Haines City man convicted in rape of 81-year-old woman in her home

  A 45-year-old Haines City man was convicted today of breaking into an 81-year-old woman’s home and sexually assaulting her in 2017. Julio Alfredo Ruiz faces life in prison after jurors found him guilty of sexual battery and burglary with assault. Jurors deliberated for three hours. Circuit Judge Wayne Durden is scheduled to sentence Ruiz […]

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State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
The eight-week program will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each Thursday starting March 12 in the Bartow courthouse.
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
Jason Elsea, of Lakeland, pleaded guilty in December. Before Elsea was sentenced, Assistant State Attorney Ashley McCarthy urged Circuit Judge William “Bill” Sites to sentence Elsea to life in prison. The girl became pregnant and later gave birth.
McCarthy explained to Sites that Elsea’s actions in 2018 were egregious.
She said Elsea had a number of opportunities to do the right thing but continued to have sex with the girl even after he knew she was pregnant. The girl, McCarthy said, must live with the emotional scars the rest of her life.
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
Jamaal Smith, 29, became the second person sentenced in the brutal killing and robbery of Angelica Castro, Eneida Branch and David Washington. In 2019, Johnathan Alcegaire, 31, was sentenced to death by Circuit Judge Jalal Harb on the three murder convictions.
Smith was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence by Harb following a decision by jurors not to recommend a death sentence.
Andrew Joseph, a third defendant, will face the same three murder charges in a trial in May.
Assistant State Attorneys Mark Levine and Kristie Ducharme prosecuted the case against Smith. Jurors convicted Smith of the murders before the trial entered the death penalty phase.
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