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The Office of the State Attorney is committed to transparency and responds to all records requests in a timely manner. If you wish to make a request, you can do so by contacting Paul Sessions, custodian of Public Records, at (863) 534-4844 or by clicking the button to submit a request.

Recent Press Releases

Kissimmee man found guilty of attempted manslaughter

JURY VERDICT: Kissimmee man found guilty of attempted manslaughter

Willie Charles Jones, 19, of Kissimmee, was convicted of attempted manslaughter by act and discharging a firearm from a vehicle. Jones was convicted Sept. 29 for an incident that occurred in July 2015 where he got angry at a driver, followed him home and fired two shots at him. In her closing statement, Assistant State […]

Man convicted of murder for second time

JURY VERDICT: Man convicted of murder for second time

Jurors found 24-year-old Benjamin Smiley guilty Thursday of killing a Lakeland man, making it the second time he’s been convicted of murder in less than a year. After deliberating for about six hours, the jury found Smiley guilty of first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm, tampering with evidence, aggravated assault and burglary of a dwelling. […]

Gary Carroll stands in court with his lawyer Friday, Sept. 30, as he waits to be sentenced by Judge Sharon Franklin. Carroll was found guilty of his charges in August.

SENTENCING UPDATE: Carroll sentenced to 20 years

Gary Carroll was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for striking and killing a bicyclist and leaving the scene. Carroll, 48, of Lakeland, struck and killed the 32-year-old victim, left the scene of the crash and removed the physical evidence from his vehicle. He was found guilty by a jury on Aug. 22 and […]

Man guilty of hiring hitman to kill his wife

JURY VERDICT: Man guilty of hiring hitman to kill his wife

Vincent Madhavath intended to kill his wife the night of Sept. 17, 2014. Madhavath, 45, of Winter Haven, hired a hitman – who was an undercover Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent – and planned to have him enter their home after midnight for a staged armed robbery where his wife would be shot in […]

State Attorney Hill, Assistant State Attorneys honored by MADD

State Attorney Hill, Assistant State Attorneys honored by MADD

WINTER HAVEN – State Attorney Jerry Hill and two of our prosecutors were honored Thursday, Sept. 22, at the MADD Polk County Law Enforcement and Prosecutors Recognition Dinner. Felony Attorneys Melissa Gravitt and Stephanie Durrance were awarded for their work prosecuting DUI cases, and Mr. Hill was given a special award for his dedication to […]

Man guilty of heroin trafficking

JURY VERDICT: Man guilty of heroin trafficking

A trail of heroin crumbs led deputies to the closet where Gleen Efrain Zayas-Acosta was hiding. Deputies found 35-year-old Zayas-Acosta behind hanging clothes near a hamper where he’d hidden about a kilo of heroin. A prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office laid out all the evidence before the jury in closing statements Thursday, re-enacting the […]

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State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
A jury unanimously recommended the death penalty today for Cheyanne Jessie, the 29-year-old Lakeland woman who brutally murdered her father and daughter in 2015.
Circuit Judge Jalal Harb will now make the final decision following the verdict. The jury deliberated for just over an hour. They were unanimous on the decision to recommend death in the killing of Jessie’s 6-year-old daughter, Meredith. The jury recommended life in the killing of her father, Mark Weekly, 50.
Jessie was convicted Wednesday of two counts of first degree murder in the shooting and stabbing of Weekly and Meredith. She stuffed their bodies into plastic bins then hid the bins in a neighbor’s shed. Assistant State Attorneys Paul Wallace and Kristie Ducharme prosecuted the case. State Attorney Brian Haas thanks ASA’s Wallace, Ducharme, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives for their diligent work on the case.
Below, Jessie, with her head down, can be seen with her defense team.
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit
Cheyanne Jessie was found guilty today of two counts of first degree murder in the 2015 deaths of her father, 50-year-old Mark Weekly, and 6-year-old daughter, Meredith Jessie. A jury took about fours hours to convict Jessie, 29. She was also found guilty of tampering with evidence.
Jurors will now determine if the Lakeland woman should receive the death penalty. 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. Assistant State Attorney Paul Wallace and Assistant State Attorney Kristie Ducharme will continue prosecuting the case during the death penalty phase of the trial beginning today. Death sentences require a unanimous jury. In the picture below, Jessie can be seen on the left.
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