Roy and Ruby Stephens traveled from Indiana to Florida with their family, including a 22-day old infant. Upon their arrival in Lakeland, authorities discovered that the baby had died as a result of starvation. Both Roy and Ruby Stephens were convicted of first-degree murder of the baby and sentenced to life in prison. Roy Stephens recently appealed his conviction, citing what he claimed was newly discovered evidence. Last week, the appellate court affirmed his conviction. He will remain in prison for the rest of his life.
Julio Don Juan, 36, was found guilty by a Polk County Jury in December, of two counts of trafficking in heroin and conspiracy to traffic heroin. The street value of the heroin involved in this case exceeded tens of thousands of dollars. Julio admitted to arranging the drop off of 1 kilogram of heroin on two separate occasions. Circuit Judge Larry Helms sentenced the defendant on January 5th to 50 years in the state prison. State Attorney Brian Haas is thankful for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and ASA Timothy Coleman for securing this conviction and making our community a safer place to live.
Tyrell Ricardo Alford was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on April 13, 2019, for Attempted Murder in the 2nd Degree, Tampering with Physical Evidence, and Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon. On June 3, 2020, the Second District Court of Appeals mandated Alford to receive a new trial. Alfred was again found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on December 9, 2021. Alford brutally stabbed a fifty-year-old women, over fourteen times, and tried covering up the scene by burning his clothes and phone in a barbecue grill. The victim of this brutal attack thankfully survived, although scarred for life. State Attorney Brain Haas thanked the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Assistant State Attorney Steve Alamia for their perseverance in prosecuting this case.
Vincente Oyola, 34, was found guilty by a Polk County jury on November 3rd, 2021, of two counts of Driving Under the Influence with Serious Bodily Injury, two counts of Driving Under the Influence and one count of Driving on a Suspended License. In December of 2018, Oyola was driving on Interstate 4 in Polk County, when he crossed the center median and started traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes. As a result of Oyola’s criminal actions, four vehicles were involved in the crash and two of the five victims sustained serious bodily injuries that will forever affect their lives. Post-crash test revealed Oyola’a blood alcohol level was 0.235, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.
Oyola will be sentenced on December 20th, 2021.
State Attorney Brian Haas is thankful for the work of the Florida Highway Patrol, Assistant State Attorney’s Dakota Griffenkranz and Harold Bennett, in securing this conviction.
The State Attorney’s Office is accepting applications for the second annual Citizens Academy.
The seven-week program will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each Tuesday starting November 2nd in the Bartow courthouse. The Academy gives residents in the 10th Circuit an opportunity to learn more about the criminal justice system. Citizens will hear from some of the top prosecutors in the circuit about how they develop cases then take them to trial.
Enrollment is closed for the 2021 Citizens Academy.
Please visit www.sao10.com/about-us/citizens-academy/.
In what is considered one of the worst cases of child abuse in Polk County in many years, a jury convicted Breonna Wren of first degree murder of her boyfriend’s six-year-old child. Wren severely beat the child back in 2018 while the child was visiting her father. The child suffered more than 37 separate injuries, including three skull fractures, a lacerated liver and external injuries from head
to toe. The father’s criminal case is still pending. Because Wren was convicted of first degree murder, she will be sentenced to a mandatory life in prison sentence with no chance of parole. State Attorney Brian Haas thanks the Lakeland Police Department and Assistant State Attorney Ashley McCarthy for their hard work and dedication in securing this conviction.