Gabriel Torres-Martinez

Man Convicted and Sentenced to 30 Years Prison for Attempted Second Degree Murder

Gabriel Torres-Martinez, 34, was sentenced to 30 Years Florida State Prison. A Polk County Jury found Torres-Martinez guilty of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, and Tampering with a Witness. On February 13th, 2020, the victim was sitting in his girlfriend’s front yard when the defendant drove up and started a verbal altercation that soon became physical. Torres-Martinez struck the victim on the head with a firearm and shot him twice striking him in both legs.  After the incident, the defendant made threats to the victim. Thankfully the victim recovered. State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Courtney Durden and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for their work on this case.


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Tabitha Palmer

State Attorney Brian Haas Warns Parents of Children who play Fortnite

A Polk County, Florida 11 year-old child was victimized by a 35 year-old women from Indiana after they met playing the game Fortnite.  In late 2020, Tabitha Palmer began chatting with the child through the online game.  Palmer knew that the child was 11 years-old.  The initial conversations were fairly basic, but over time, Palmer groomed the victim into feeling very comfortable talking to her.  Palmer informed the victim that she was married and had a child of her own.  She convinced the child to begin communicating with her through Discord, an online messaging app.  The defendant instructed the victim to delete their conversations.  Palmer sent numerous lewd photos of herself and convinced the child to do the same.  She also instructed him to engage in lewd acts while on video chats with her.  More than 14,300 Discord messages were exchanged between the woman and the child.  These activities continued for many months.  The defendant even discussed moving to Florida and getting a job close to the victim. Thankfully, the child’s parent eventually discovered some of the conversations.

The Lakeland Police Department conducted an investigation and arrested the woman.  Earlier this year, the woman pled guilty to multiple charges and was sentenced to 13 years in Florida State Prison.  She was designated as a Sexual Offender.  She will serve an additional 15 years of Sexual Offender Probation following her release from prison.  The sentence was approved by the parent of the child in an effort to avoid the child having to testify in court during a trial.

This case is an important reminder to parents of children who play any type of online game.  The threat is real and can come from anywhere.   State Attorney Brian Haas is grateful to the Lakeland Police Department and Assistant State Attorney Tim Coleman for their hard work and dedication in this case.


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Johnvonte Bell

Bartow Man Convicted and Sentenced to 10 Years Florida State Prison

Johnvonte Bell, 33, was convicted and sentenced to Ten Years Florida State Prison for Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, Two Counts of Child Abuse and multiple other charges. When the Lakeland Police Department tried to conduct a routine traffic stop Bell accelerated his vehicle nearly missing one of the LPD officer’s leg and hit the passenger side door of the police vehicle. Bell led officers in a dangerous pursuit on North Florida Ave. while his two children were inside the vehicle not safety belted in. Bell jumped from his moving vehicle and was arrested. State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Bill Beaver and the Lakeland Police Department for their hard work on this case.


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Jovan Lamb

Justice Served- Fourth Defendant, Jovan Lamb Convicted and Sentenced to Five Life Sentences

Jovan Lamb, 37, was convicted of two counts of first-degree for the fatal stabbings of a mother and daughter in Haines City in 2015. Lamb and three co-defendants robbed an Auburndale pawn shop at gunpoint on January 15th, 2015, then led police on a high-speed chase to the Chanler Ridge Subdivision where the two women were brutally murdered. Lamb’s co-defendants, Devonere McCune and Terrell Williams were previously convicted and sentenced to Life. Michael Gordon’s conviction and death sentence was recently upheld by the Supreme Court. In addition to the first-degree murder charges, Lamb was convicted of three counts of Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Robbery with a Firearm, Grand Theft and Fleeing or Attempting to Elude. He was sentenced to Five Life Sentences. State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorneys Michael Nutter and Mikaela Perry for their hard work and dedication pursuing justice in this case. Mr. Haas also thanks the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Auburndale Police Department and the Haines City Police Department.


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