State Attorney Brian Haas honors Polk Sheriff's Detective Ronald Brackley.

Polk Sheriff’s detective honored for work in hit-and-run crash

 

Polk County Sheriffs Detective Ronald Brackley, left, was recently honored by State Attorney Brian Haas.

Polk County Sheriffs Detective Ronald Brackley, left, was recently honored by State Attorney Brian Haas.

Polk County Sheriff’s Detective Ronald Brackley was recently honored by State Attorney Brian Haas for his work investigating a hit-and-run crash that killed a driver and seriously injured a fellow deputy.

The crash led to the conviction of Charles Lewis, who left a Halloween party after a night of drinking alcohol.

That night, Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Pennell had stopped to help a stranded driver on a dark stretch of State Road 60. Lewis, on his way home, struck Pennell and the driver. The driver was killed, while Pennell suffered critical injuries. Lewis never stopped.

Brackley’s work started that night.

He reconstructed the crash, interviewed people, and through a tip from the public,

eventually charged Lewis with vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident with death. During an interview with Lewis, he obtained an admission of guilt from the defendant.

Assistant State Attorney Mikaela Perry described Brackley as the difference maker in the case.

He worked tirelessly as he prepared for the trial, meeting with Perry numerous times.

The preparation paid off.

He was a flawless witness during the trial.

Our county is fortunate to have Detective Brackley serving as a law enforcement officer.

 

 

website footer badge

Gary Lee Baker Jr.

Lakeland man convicted of sexually assaulting 8-year-old girl

 

 

Gary Lee Baker Jr.

Gary Lee Baker Jr.

State Attorney Brian Haas announces the conviction of a 49-year-old Lakeland man for sexually assaulting a child.

Gary Lee Baker Jr. faces life in prison after he was convicted on charges of lewd molestation on a child under 12-years-old and sexual battery on a child under 12-years-old. Circuit Judge Kevin Abdoney is expected to schedule a sentencing date for Baker on Friday.

A 6-member jury  took one hour to convict Baker.

Assistant State Attorney Monica Smith prosecuted the case for the State Attorney’s Office.

Baker was arrested by Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives in 2016. The victim, now 21, told detectives Baker began raping her when she was 8-years-old. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office then organized a controlled phone call with the victim and Baker.

Smith talked about the controlled phone call during closing arguments, describing a statement Baker made to the victim about her inability to prove anything if she went to the police.  She told jurors the phone call pointed to Baker’s guilt.

“Is that a reasonable response from somebody who didn’t actually do what he’s being accused of? No, because he did do it.”

 

website footer badge

 

 

 

Cheyanne Jessie, left, with mitigation specialist/investigator Colleen Quinn

Cheyanne Jessie convicted of killing her father, daughter

 

Cheyanne Jessie, left, with mitigation specialist/investigator Colleen Quinn

Cheyanne Jessie, left, with mitigation specialist/investigator Colleen Quinn

State Attorney Brian Haas announces the conviction of Cheyanne Jessie for the brutal killing of her daughter and father in 2015.

A 12-member jury convicted Jessie, 29, of Lakeland, after less than four hours of deliberations. The jury, which also convicted Jessie of tampering with evidence, will now determine whether to recommend the death penalty for Jessie.

Death sentences require a unanimous jury recommendation to the judge.

Assistant State Attorneys Paul Wallace and Kristie Ducharme will continue prosecution in the death penalty phase of the case today.

In 2015, the bodies of Jessie’s father, 50-year-old Mark Weekly, and 6-year-old daughter Meredith Jessie were found in plastic storage bins in a neighbor’s shed. Detectives suspect the two were killed July 18, 2015.

Jessie’s daughter died of a gunshot to the head. She was also stabbed. Her father died of three gunshots to his head and multiple stab wounds to the chest.

Jessie committed the murders to save her relationship with boyfriend, Matthew “Cody” Munroe, who said he was unhappy with Jessie’s stormy relationship with Meredith.

 

website footer badge

 

 

Aladino-Ojeda

Davenport man convicted of sexual battery, impersonating an officer

Aladino-Ojeda

Aladino-Ojeda

State Attorney Brian Haas announces the conviction of Erubiel Aladino-Ojeda, a 38-year-old Davenport man convicted on two counts of sexual battery, attempted sexual battery and falsely impersonating an officer during a felony.

A six-member jury convicted Aladino-Ojeda after two hours of deliberations.

He faces a maximum of 50 years in prison. Circuit Judge Larry Helms is expected to sentence Aladino-Ojeda in August.

Assistant State Attorney Ralph Guerra prosecuted the case for the State Attorney’s Office.

In 2018, both Aladino-Ojeda and the victim worked at a landscaping company in Davenport. Aladino-Ojeda carried a fake badge and drove a Cadillac Escalade with flashing lights, a K-9 and 911 sticker, and tinted windows.

“His reputation was that he worked at Davenport Police Department,” Guerra said.

Evidence showed Aladino-Ojeda began stalking the female victim in the summer of 2018. In August, he took her home from the grocery store, entered her house and raped the woman.

Additionally, Aladino-Ojeda threatened to have the woman deported if she told anyone about the rape, Guerra said.

A month later, Aladino-Ojeda again raped the woman at her home. Days later, he attempted to rape her in a drug store parking lot, but the woman threatened to scream. She went to a nearby hospital where doctors notified Haines City Police. A police investigation led to the arrest of Aladino-Ojeda.

website footer badge