Mark Callahan

Dundee Man Convicted of Second-Degree Murder

Mark CallahanMark Callahan, 28, was convicted of Second-Degree Murder with a Firearm and Tampering with Physical Evidence. Callahan was in a verbal altercation with the victim at the Monticello Motel in Dundee when he pulled out a firearm and shot the victim; who was later declared deceased. Callahan then fled the scene and tried getting rid of the firearm by throwing it over a nearby privacy fence. Callahan will be sentenced on June 10th.  State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Josie Colon and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for their hard work on this case.







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Timothy Hero

Sebring Man Sentenced to 45 Years Florida State Prison

Timothy Hero Timothy Hero, 54, sexually battered a vulnerable young girl in a Winn Dixie bathroom while she was grocery shopping. Hero, was an employee at the store when the incident occurred. Assistant State Attorney Norda Swaby obtained a 45-year prison sentence for Hero from a Highlands County Judge. State Attorney Brian Haas thanks ASA Swaby and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office for their perseverance in prosecuting this case.








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Enrollment Ends May 16th for Annual SAO Youth Mock Trial

The State Attorney’s Office is now accepting applications for their Annual Youth Mock Trial.

The four-day program will take place June 6th through June 9th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Polk County Courthouse in Bartow. This program gives students going in to the 11th and 12th grade an opportunity to work with prosecutors from the State Attorney’s Office and learn how a criminal case makes its way through the criminal justice system. Students will attend court hearings and study current cases to see how the law is applied.

Please fill out the application attached and submit to or mail to the Polk County Courthouse. Deadline to apply is May 16, 2022.

Mock Trial Program_APPLICATION

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Juanita Tappin

Polk County School Bus Attendant, Juanita Tappin, Sentenced to 30 Months Prison

Juanita TappinSchool bus attendant, Juanita Tappin, physically and verbally abused several special needs students while they were taken to and from school. On multiple occasions, video surveillance shows Tappin hitting the children on their head, face, and hands and using different objects to abuse them. No plea agreement was made and therefore this case was decided by a Polk County Jury, which convicted Tappin of Six Counts of Battery, Abuse of a Disabled Adult and Child Abuse. Following the jury trial, Senior Judge Dennis Maloney sentenced Tappin to a 30-month prison sentence followed by 30 months’ probation. State Attorney Brian Haas would like to thank the Polk County Sheriffs Office and Assistant State Attorney Jessica Fisher for their hard work and dedication in obtaining justice in this case.





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