Lakeland man sentenced to 40 years for fatal stabbing

A bailiff takes Ronald Wagoner's fingerprints.

A bailiff takes Ronald Wagoner’s fingerprints.

A Lakeland man was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday for fatally stabbing a man then threatening to kill a witness if she told anyone about the stabbing.

Circuit Judge William “Bill” Sites sentenced Ronald Wagoner, 29, to 30 years for manslaughter followed by 10 years for tampering with a witness. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

Gabriel Gamino, 32, was stabbed in the face and the shoulder area near his lungs on Nov. 18, 2016 outside his home in Lakeland on Country Place Road. Jurors found Wagoner guilty on Aug. 29.

Assistant State Attorney Steve Alamia told Sites there was no evidence that Wagoner provoked anyone.

Sites said that he remembered the trial well.

“For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this occurred,” Sites said of the stabbing.

Before he sentenced Wagoner, he said that the case was about Gamino, whose family members sat in the audience.

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks ASA Alamia and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for their work on the case.


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Steven Lane

Lakeland man sentenced to life for sexually assaulting boy

A bailiff takes Steven Lane's fingerprints.

A bailiff takes Steven Lane’s fingerprints.

A 43-year-old Lakeland man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in 2018.

Before Steven Lane was sentenced, Circuit Judge William Sites told the defendant that the case was one of the most heartbreaking he’s seen.

“Sitting through this trial was one of the most soul crushing things I’ve had to do,” Sites said.

In addition to a life sentence for the sexual battery charge, Lane was sentenced to 15 years for lewd molestation.

Assistant State Attorney Rachelle Williamson prosecuted the case.

Lane’s attorney argued that Sites should sentence Lane to 10 years with credit for time served followed by 15 years of sex offender probation. He told Sites there was evidence that Lane had expressed remorse to family members before he was arrested.

But Williamson said Lane deserved a life sentence. She explained that Lane was calculating over several years in his plan to repeatedly assault the victim.

“He manipulated and abused him for his own sexual gratification,” Williamson said.

Sites listened to witnesses from both sides, including family members, before making the decision to sentence Lane to life in prison.

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Williamson and  Polk County Sheriff’s detectives for their work on the case.


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Jerald Dixon

Lakeland man convicted of raping woman at gunpoint in her home

Jerald Dixon

Jerald Dixon

A Lakeland man has been convicted of raping a woman at gunpoint in her home in 2017.

Jerald Dixon, 26, faces life in prison after jurors deliberated for 30 minutes before finding him guilty of sexual battery. Circuit Judge Kevin Abdoney is scheduled to sentence Dixon on Jan. 24.

At 5 a.m. on June 18, Dixon entered the Lakeland home after removing an air conditioning unit.

Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Swenson told jurors the victim was asleep when she heard a noise outside the home. Seconds later, she saw a man wearing a shirt over his face climb through the window armed with a handgun.

“Don’t move,” he said, holding her at gunpoint.

He demanded she take off her clothes then raped the woman. Dixon then ordered her to walk him out of the house.

The woman told her roommates about the rape before they heard a noise outside the home. It was Dixon climbing back inside the woman’s room through the same the window.

A roommate tackled Dixon once he re-entered the room. The victim recognized it was the person who raped her when she passed her room to leave the home.

Roommates detained Dixon until Polk County Sheriff’s detectives arrived to arrest him.

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Swenson and Sheriff’s detectives for their work on the case.


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Joshua Imhoff

Lakeland man who fired at 7 deputies sentenced to life in prison

Joshua Imhoff

Joshua Imhoff

A Lakeland man who fired gunshots at seven Polk County Sheriff’s deputies after a high-speed chase in 2018 was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.

Joshua Imhoff received the life sentence for the charges of seven counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. In addition, Circuit Judge Keith Spoto sentenced Imhoff to five years of aggravated stalking and 15 years for fleeing to elude.

Imhoff, 34, was convicted in November after jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes.

Assistant State Attorney Seth Solomon prosecuted the case.

Imhoff led deputies on a chase on State Road 33, was struck by a deputy’s cruiser when the deputy attempted to stop him, then later tried to run away after stop sticks caused the tires on his truck to deflate. Imhoff got out of his truck and started firing shots at the deputies, who described “bullets whizzing by their heads” in testimony.

The incident started in Davenport about 4 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2018 when Imhoff began exchanging Facebook messages with his ex-girlfriend.

He became angry when she told him that she couldn’t see his child at that particular time.

“Whatever man I see you with, I’m going to pop him,” Imhoff wrote. “The only way you’re going to get rid of me is to have me killed.”

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Solomon and Polk Sheriff’s deputies for their work on the case.


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