SAO Collage from Youth Mock Trial

State Attorney’s Office Youth Mock Trial 2023

The State Attorney’s Office recently hosted its Youth Mock Trial Program. Nine High School students thinking about pursuing careers as attorneys or law enforcement attended our week-long program to learn more about our court system and try some mock cases in a courtroom. In addition to being mentored by a handful of our prosecutors throughout the week, the students spoke to Judge Yancey about a judge’s role in a courtroom, they went on a tour of the holding cells and tunnel with a PCSO Lt. Wiegert, and collected and processed evidence at a mock crime scene put on by Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Pautz.
All of their training led up to a mock trial at the end of the week. Students were given case facts and evidence and formulated their own openings and closings, along with witness examinations. Not only was the week an excellent opportunity for the students to get a first-hand look at how our office functions, it helped a few students confirm that a career as a prosecutor was exactly what they wanted to do with their lives.
We are delighted to have such a positive outcome and look forward to hosting another successful program next year.
Ronald Strouse

Lake Wales Man Convicted for 2nd Degree Murder in Wife’s 2019 Death

On June 11th, 2019, Ronald Strouse, 77, called 911 and told the operator a “lady” was fighting with him. The “lady” turned out to be Strouse’s 77 year old wife of almost 50 years of marriage.  Later in the call, the defendant told the 911 operator he and his wife were physically fighting and he didn’t think she was with us any longer. The day before the murder, the victim confronted the defendant and told him she was leaving him. The next day, while the victim was lying on the couch, the defendant pulled her off and began aggressively battering her, while he sat on top of her and strangled her until she stopped moving. On June 27th, 2023 Strouse was convicted by a Polk County Jury of 2nd Degree Murder. He will be sentenced later this year and could receive Life in prison. State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Mikaela Perry and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for their work on this case.

Assistant State Attorney Mikaela Perry

Assistant State Attorney Mikaela Perry


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State Attorney’s Office Annual Year’s of Service and Law Enforcement Recognition Ceremony

The State Attorney’s Office held its Annual Years of Service and Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony recently, several officers were recognized for their exemplary work on a particular case and those who went above and beyond their routine job duties in efforts to assist our office.


                                                     State Attorney Brian Haas and Polk County Sheriff's Sergeant Caleb Swenson

Sergeant Caleb Swenson -Polk County Sheriff’s Office


State Attorney Brian Haas and Special Agent Nathan Coogan

Special Agent Nathan Coogan- Florida Department of Law Enforcement


State Attorney Brian Haas and Officer Sean Bruner

Officer Sean Bruner- Haines City Police Department



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Jail Book In photo of Michelle English

Brandon Women Who Gave Keys to Intoxicated Friend Before Fatal Crash Convicted of Manslaughter

On November 24, 2021, Michelle English visited multiple bars in Lakeland with her friend Lucretia Bruno, who was heavily drinking. Bruno left the bar and drove to a WAWA convenience store. After showing signs of impairment, the store clerk was given her keys by another customer who had observed Bruno with obvious signs of impairment. Bruno called her friend, Michelle English, who arrived at WAWA and asked the clerk to give her Bruno’s keys. Video surveillance showed English handing Bruno her car keys and Bruno leaving the store. Bruno immediately drove to I-4 and caused a crash that resulted in a fatality. Bruno’s DUI Manslaughter case is still pending. The case was investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Monica Smith and Josie Colon.


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