Deandre Coffer

Winter Haven man convicted of strangling, beating girlfriend

Deandre Coffer

Deandre Coffer

A Winter Haven man was convicted today of strangling and beating his former girlfriend in 2018 in their home after he became angry with her while she read to his 3-year-old son.
Jurors deliberated for three hours before returning with a first-degree murder conviction.
Circuit Judge Dennis Maloney sentenced DeAndre Coffer, 23, to life in prison.
Kiara Butler, 32, died at the couple’s home.
Defense attorneys for Coffer argued that he should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
In closing arguments, Assistant State Attorney Bonde Johnson said that Coffer was angry on Feb. 18, 2018, because Butler had corrected his son while they were reading a book. “He strangled her unconscious then continued to beat her,” Johnson said. “This was a forceful strangulation that lasted two to three minutes.”
State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Johnson and Polk Sheriff’s detectives for their work on the case.
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Cristhian Villanueva-Rosado

Jurors deliberate 15 minutes to find man guilty of sending lewd photo to teen

Cristhian Villanueva-Rosado

Cristhian Villanueva-Rosado

An Orlando man was sentenced to five years in prison after jurors found him guilty Tuesday of sending a lewd picture to a 14-year-old Winter Haven girl in 2015.

Cristhian Villanueva-Rosado, 31, was immediately detained after a jury of six deliberated for about 15 minutes before finding him guilty.

During the trial Assistant State Attorney Monica Smith explained to jurors how Villanueva-Rosado texted and sent lewd pictures of himself to the teenager’s cell phone.

Villanueva-Rosado buried his hands in his head when Circuit Judge Kevin Abdoney sentenced him. Before he was sentenced, Villanueva-Rosado told Abdoney he had just been released from prison before facing the current charges. He continued to deny the charge and said he didn’t even send pictures like that to his girlfriend.

Abdoney listened to Villanueva-Rosado, then sentenced him to five years in prison, the maximum allowed by law, as requested by the State Attorney’s Office.

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Monica Smith and Polk County Sheriff’s investigators for their work on the case.


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Joshua Imhoff

Lakeland man who fired at deputies convicted of 7 counts of attempted first degree murder


Joshua Imhoff

Joshua Imhoff

A Lakeland man who fired gunshots at seven Polk County Sheriff’s deputies after a dangerous high-speed chase in North Lakeland in 2018 was convicted Thursday of attempting to kill the deputies.

Joshua Imhoff, 34, was convicted on seven counts of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated stalking, and fleeing to elude. Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before reaching a verdict.

Circuit Judge Keith Spoto is scheduled to sentence Imhoff on Dec. 5. He faces life in prison.

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.

Once cornered by a deputy, Imhoff drew a knife on one of the deputies. The deputy struck him with his cruiser, but Imhoff was able to get back on his feet and threatened one of the deputy’s with a knife. The deputy fired his gun, striking Imhoff in the stomach and eye. Seconds later, the same deputy rendered aid to Imhoff before an ambulance arrived.

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.”

She called the Sheriff’s Office and deputies, fearing for her safety, took her to a nearby substation. A description of Imhoff’s truck was relayed to the Sheriff’s Office and minutes later a deputy saw his truck.

The deputy began following him west on I-4 and a chase ensued. Imhoff avoided stop sticks at the U.S. 33 exit and continued north before turning onto Tomkow Road. Imhoff continued, heading south on U.S. 33 before a second attempt at stop sticks worked, causing him to lose control of the vehicle. When he exited the truck, he fired multiple shots at deputies before he was struck by a deputy’s cruiser.

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


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Michael Celello

Man guilty of fatally shooting roommate, dumping his body in Everglades


Michael Celello

Michael Celello

A Sebring man was found guilty earlier this month of shooting and killing his roommate in 2016 then stealing his Lexus with the man’s body in the trunk.

Michael Celello was convicted of second degree murder with a firearm, grand theft and tampering with evidence. Celello, 59, faces life in prison.

Celello dumped the body of Michael Cerillo in the Everglades off Alligator Alley after shooting him five times in his bed at their home in Sebring.


The two often argued.

Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin told jurors that Celello had become irritated with Cerillo’s constant criticism of him.

Celello reached a breaking point after the latest argument on the night of June 28, 2016.

He grabbed a gun under the couch, walked to the bedroom and shot Cerillo then wrapped his body in a sheet and loaded it into in the back of the Lexus. On the way to the Everglades, he picked up a friend then headed to the swamp to dump the body.

After dumping the body, Celello stopped at a service plaza in Broward County. His friend, passed a note to an employee at the station, asking him to call the police because she had just seen her friend dump a body in the Everglades.

The clerk called the Miccosukee Police Department and an officer later stopped the Lexus and arrested Celello.

On Saturday, jurors deliberated for about two hours before finding Celello guilty. Circuit Judge Peter Estrada will sentence Celello in the coming weeks.

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks all law enforcement agencies, including the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, and Assistant State Attorney Houchin for their work on the case.


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