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Recent Press Releases

Man guilty of robbing, beating elderly woman

JURY VERDICT: Man guilty of robbing, beating elderly woman

When Perry Lee Chance walked into the Winter Haven clothing store where 82-year-old Carol Sleeth was working, Sleeth had no way of knowing the same man would return four days later, rob her and beat her. Chance, 55, faces life in prison after a jury found him guilty Thursday of burglary with an assault, robbery, […]

Gary Carroll, 48, of Lakeland was found guilty of all charges by a jury on Friday. He will be sentenced by Judge Sharon Franklin on Sept. 30.

JURY VERDICT: Lakeland man struck bicyclist, left crash scene

Gary Carroll said there were a number of reasons he didn’t stop after striking and killing someone with his vehicle on the way home from a party. In addition to claiming he hit an animal, to which there was no physical evidence, Carroll left the scene and removed the evidence of the crash from his […]

Daugustinis was recognized for her work with DUI cases at MADD's Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition dinner Friday.

Polk prosecutor recognized by MADD

FORT LAUDERDALE – Assistant State Attorney Randi Daugustinis was recognized at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) 2016 Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition Friday in Fort Lauderdale. Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies nominated her for the “Outstanding Prosecutor Recognition” award for her work prosecuting DUI cases. She was one of 13 prosecutors recognized from across the […]

Auburndale woman guilty of meth trafficking

JURY VERDICT: Auburndale woman guilty of meth trafficking

Five kilograms of methamphetamine were entered as evidence in a two-day trial where jurors found Crystal Caldwell guilty of trafficking. Caldwell, 34, of Auburndale, faces a minimum of 15 years in prison after the jury convicted her Thursday of trafficking 200 or more grams of amphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a structure used […]

Sebring man charged with fraud

SAO INVESTIGATION: Sebring man charged with fraud

SEBRING – After a three-month investigation by State Attorney’s Office Investigator Stephen Menge, Robert Stephen Wiggins, 32, of 3745 Sparta Road in Sebring, was arrested Thursday and charged with scheme to defraud, five counts of grand theft, six counts of contracting without a license and workers compensation fraud. He obtained $14,861.36 from multiple victims. Wiggins […]

William Gainey, 62, of Lake Wales, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing Friday morning. Judge J. Dale Durrance sentenced Gainey to 30 years in prison after he was convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter.

SENTENCING UPDATE: Gainey sentenced to 30 years for DUI manslaughter

William Gainey – convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter – was sentenced to 30 years in prison by Judge J. Dale Durrance Friday morning. The sentencing follows a jury trial from last month where Gainey was found guilty. On May 29, 2015, Gainey, 62, of Lake Wales, mixed alcohol and narcotics before driving and […]

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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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