4-year sentence in cyclist’s deathST. AUGUSTINE – A judge in St. Johns County sentenced a Green Cove Springs man to four years in prison and five years of probation for the January 2015 …
4-year sentence in cyclist’s death
ST. AUGUSTINE – A judge in St. Johns County sentenced a Green Cove Springs man to four years in prison and five years of probation for the January 2015 death of a bicyclist.
On March 12, Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge Howard M. Maltz sentenced Jay Allyn Alix, 47, of a Colonial Drive address, for the January 16, 2015 traffic death of Benjamin Robert Kausch, 45, of St. Augustine.
Maltz also ordered Alix’s Florida Driver’s License be revoked for 10 years for one count of leaving the scene of a crash involving death. The judge also sentenced Alix for one count of perjury during an official proceeding.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Alix originally told officers that he had hit a deer around 10:40 p.m. on January 16, 2015 on U.S. Highway 1 north of Ronald Road. At 10:49 p.m., St. Johns County Fire Rescue pronounced Kausch dead at the scene.
Alix fled the scene of the crash, but a Crime Stoppers tip led officers to a home in the 1800 block of Red Hawk Court in St. Augustine where they questioned Alix, who was not officially arrested until November 15, 2016.
An examination of the vehicle also determined Alix not had struck a deer, but had struck a bicycle. Police said Kausch’s bike “was equipped with front and rear lights, as well as reflectors” when Alix’s 2011 Cadillac Escalade “failed to maintain his lane and drove onto the paved apron” where he struck Kausch’s bicycle from behind.
The sentencing hearing follows Alix’s plea agreement he entered in January, at the time he pleaded no contest.
Son charged with stealing $10 K from elderly mom
ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park area man faces felony charges of stealing more than $10,000 from his infirm mother for whom he served as a live-in caregiver.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Richard Edwin Johnson II, 42, on March 12 at 8:33 a.m. at the Orange Park area sub-station after questioning.
According to the police report, between October 7, 2017 and Feb. 19, Johnson stole 36 checks from his 73-year-old mother’s checkbook and cashed them at two different check-cashing companies in the Orange Park area.
Police said the victim “is infirm and cannot write” nor did she give her son permission to any checks in her name. She told police that because Johnson had stolen the money, her homeowner’s insurance policy was cancelled because she did not have the funds to pay the premium due to the theft.
Johnson is charged with one count each of grand theft from a person 65 or older $10,000-49,999, passing a counterfeit bill and exploitation of the elderly valued between $10,000-49,999.
At press time, he remained in the Clay County Jail where his bond is set at $70,099.
Illegal dumping arrest for Middleburg man
MIDDLEBURG – Authorities charged a Middleburg man with illegally dumping 544 cubic yards of commercially-generated solid waste on posted private property without permission.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Daniel Lee Williams, 28, on March 12 at 9:24 a.m. after an investigation.
According to the police report, Williams was paid $200 on Feb. 21 to haul a large pile of waste and dispose of it in the Rosemary Hill Solid Waste Facility. However, instead of properly dumping the trash, Williams drove out to a piece of property in the 2200 block of Louie Carter Road where he dumped the trash.
Police said Williams did not know the property owner nor did he have permission to dump the waste, which weighed more than 1,000 pounds.
At press time, Williams remained in the Clay County Jail without bond as he has also been charged with a probation violation for a previous charge of child abuse.
Appeal court upholds 2016 rape conviction
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The 1st District Court of Appeal has upheld the 2016 rape conviction of an Orange Park man.
On March 8, the court affirmed the July 15, 2016 sexual battery conviction of Kirby William Kines, 23, who was found guilty for raping a woman in 2015.
Attorneys for Kines appealed the lower court ruling on grounds that a fundamental error occurred when the trial court admitted a redacted version of Kines’ recorded interview with a detective because the jury heard the detective say that Kines was guilty and accused of Kines of lying when Kines denied the victim’s accusations, according to court documents.
In January 2015, the victim and several others were attending a party at Kines’ home. When the victim became ill and unable to move as a result, she was taken to Kines’ bedroom to rest. While the victim was physically immobile, Kines had sex with her against her will, according to court documents.
The court denied the appeal citing that there was no objection to the admission of the interview in question during the trial and that nothing the detective said compared to the claims that Kines was asserting in his appeal. The court documents also state that Kines waived any claim of error.
“Moreover, we agree with the state that any claim of fundamental error was waived because the defense counsel invited error when he announced that he had no objection to the admission of the redacted interview and when he referred to the interview during his closing argument,” court documents said.
Kines is in state prison serving an 15-year sentence.
Arrest made for threatening to blow up high school
FLEMING ISLAND – A Green Cove Springs man is accused of threatening to blow up Fleming Island High School.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Charles Gene Waxler Jr., 23, on March 12, at 12:14 a.m., for making a false report to blow up, making written threats to kill and trespassing.
According to the police report on March 11, around 4:40 p.m., Waxler was seen riding his bicycle through the parking lot of the high school.
He was caught on surveillance video of him walking to the front office door of the school and placing a note on the door. The note was found by a teacher who reported it to the school’s principal, according to the police report.
Police contacted Waxler at his Russell Road home where he was arrested and transported to the Clay County Jail. He is currently in the Clay County Jail with bond set at $202,508.
Grand theft auto arrest in Keystone
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A Keystone Heights man grand theft auto, burglary, drug equipment possession and resisting an officer after an investigation.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Justin Lee Harris, 26, on March 11 at 4:17 p.m. after officers found him hiding in the master bedroom closet.
The case began with a detective was assisting another detective with a burglary investigation when the detective said there was a stolen pickup parked behind a nearby house. The detective drove to the address on Overlook Drive and as he was doing so, spotted a truck that matched the stolen vehicle description, according to the police report. This detective watched the truck pull out of the backyard and onto the road.
When Harris turned left in the stolen vehicle, police confirmed that Harris was the suspect. The detective followed the vehicle and turned on his vehicle’s police sirens and lights. Harris turned the vehicle around and fled back to the residence on Overlook Drive.
The victim told police that her son did not reside at the residence on Overlook Drive and despite not being allowed to enter the house, did so anyway when fleeing from police. Police searched the house and found Harris in the master bedroom closet hiding under blankets. When police ordered Harris to exit the closet, he refused. Police grabbed Harris and noticed he had something glass in his hands. Harris refused to let go of the glass object but when police forced it out of his hands, the object appeared to be a pipe used for marijuana, according to the police report.
Harris was arrested and transported to the Clay County Jail where he his bond was set at $120,260.
Orange Park man killed in motorcycle crash
JACKSONVILLE – The Florida Highway Patrol reports that an Orange Park man died in a motorcycle crash over the weekend.
Police said Kyle Ashton Robinson, 27, was heading eastbound on March 10 at 6 p.m. on the Arlington Expressway when his motorcycle crashed.
According to the FHP report, for an undetermined reason, Robinson’s bike collided with a guardrail and he was pronounced dead the scene.
FHP said the crash is still under investigation.
State adds DUI manslaughter to 2017 scooter death
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Green Cove Springs woman charged in a 2017 traffic death in which she struck and killed a scooter driver on U.S. 17 will now face an additional charge of DUI manslaughter.
The Fourth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office filed an information with the courts on March 5 adding the charge to Lisa Frances Beverly, 55, of Green Cove Springs.
Beverly is charged with driving under the influence during a crash that killed Glen Aaron McDonald, 39, of Fleming Island on August 4, 2017 in a crash on U.S. Highway 17 near the Black Creek Bridge that occurred around 10 p.m.
Witnesses told the Florida Highway Patrol they saw Beverly rear-end McDonald’s scooter to a point the scooter became trapped underneath and caught on fire. Police said McDonald and the scooter became separated, but Beverly continued driving with the engulfed scooter trapped underneath her GMC Envoy until she reached her home in the 3300 block of Hawktree Court.
After being detained and questioned by police, Beverly said, “she didn’t know what to do so she drove home.”
Still facing her original charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, Beverly is free on $25,003 bond after entering a not guilty plea in court on March 5 to the new charge of DUI manslaughter. She was also assigned a court-ordered monitoring device.
The night of the crash, McDonald was transported to Orange Park Medical Center where he died about a week later.
Two Keystone teens arrested for school threats
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Authorities arrested two more Clay County students last week on felony charges after threatening to shoot a Clay County school.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Keystone Heights Jr.-Sr. High School student Michael D. Matthews, 12, on March 9 after administrators found a written threat in one of the classrooms.
CCSO arrested Trenton Andrew Edsall, 15, of Keystone Heights, on March 7 at 2:56 p.m. after administrators found he had written a threatening message in the boy’s bathroom.
According to the police report, Edsall wrote on the bathroom celling, “I’m going to shoot the school up.” The report also states Edsall’s message ended with a smiley face.
Police said that originally, Edsall – a ninth grader – contacted the school resource officer and said he witnessed a white male student approximately 5-foot, 7-inches tall with blonde hair, wearing light red shorts and a black T-shirt stand on the sink counter and write the message.
However, school officials and police ddebunked Edsall’s allegations after confirming his identity using surveillance video.
Edsall later confessed after being questioned about the threat, police said.
Edsall and Matthews each are charged with making written threats to or kill or do bodily harm, making a false report concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner and disrupting a school function and criminal mischief.
Both students were booked into a juvenile detention center in Jacksonville after arrest.
Nicole Snyder, spokesperson for the Clay County School District, reiterated the district’s positions on such threats and violence.
“Parent notification was sent out yesterday afternoon regarding the arrest. As stated in previous weeks, we continue to have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and will continue to work closely with our law enforcement agencies to keep our community safe. We have nothing further at this time,” Snyder stated via email.
Last month, CCSO arrested two other juveniles for copycat school shooting threats, both from the Oakleaf area of the county. The threats came a week after the Valentine’s Day shooting at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland in which 17 people were killed at the school by a former student.
Clay County deputies arrested Alexandria Ashanti Summerset, 15, an Oakleaf High 9th grader, on Feb. 23 shortly after midnight. She faces charges of making the false report of the use of firearms in a violent manner, disrupting or interfering with school administration or functions and making written threats to kill or do bodily injury to others.
By the afternoon of Feb. 23, officers arrested Oakleaf Junior High student, Rosa Toledo, 13, on the exact charges as Summerset. However, Toledo’s threats were made public at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 when officials at the junior high reported receiving the threats via group text messaging.
The Oakleaf High threat led to about 40 percent of the student body staying home ffor two days.
Man charged with striking elderly mother
ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park man is charged with battery on an elderly person following an investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
Police arrested Andrew Stephen Painter, 36, on March 8, at 6:54 p.m. after he allegedly struck his mother in the Books-A-Million parking lot at the Orange Park Mall.
According to the police report, Painter and his mom were in the parking lot arguing about going out to eat. The victim told Painter that she did not want to eat because she was cold and instead, wanted to go home.
According to the police report, Painter then grabbed the victim by her sweater causing the sleeve to rip and called her names. The victim told police her son had not taken his medication that day and that she had received no injuries as a result of the incident.
After the incident, police were called to the scene where, after talking to the victim, Painter and two witnesses, they arrested Painter. He was transported to the Clay County Jail where he was charged with Battery on a Person 65 or Older. Painter was bailed out on an undisclosed amount.
Jax man charged with punching elderly woman
ORANGE PARK – Authorities arrested a Jacksonville man for allegedly punching a woman over age 65.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Joseph Alexander Menter, 24, on March 8 at 8:10 p.m. after the incident which took place near the food court in the Orange Park Mall.
Police said Menter was walking through the food court when he passed the victim and punched her in the arm, according to the police report. Menter continued walking past the victim after punching her. The victim called police who did not find visible injuries on the woman’s arm where Menter allegedly struck her. There were no independent witnesses and police could not find CCTV mall security footage of the incident.
Police found Menter with the Orange Park Mall security and arrested him. He was transported to the Clay County Jail and charged with battery on a person of 65 years of age or older. Menter is currently in jail with bond set at $2,503.
Sheriff’s office warns of counterfeit $100 bills
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports there have been a number of cases of reportedly “mass-produced counterfeit currency” being passed on to retail merchants in the county.
A CCSO social media post said a large portion of the bills – many of which are $100 bills – have the words “For Movie Use Only” written on them.
“These bills clearly state ‘For Movie Use Only’ and do not have any of the security features of authentic currency,” states the post.
CCSO officials also said there have been Chinese and Russian bills found in the retail market as well.
“These bills have obvious Chinese markings or what appears to be Russian markings on them and as with the counterfeit movie money, have none of the security features that are common with authenticate US currency,” the post continued.
CCSO officials warn residents to remain aware of the problem and call the agency on its non-emergency line – (904) 264-6512 – if a counterfeit bill is spotted.
Charges against former pastor dropped
FLEMING ISLAND – Authorities dropped domestic violence charges against a former Fleming Island Presbyterian Church pastor.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested James Richard Weldon, 55, on Oc. 28 after he allegedly spit in his wife’s, yelled at her and caused her to fall and hit her head on a kitchen counter.
Authorities dropped the charges the following month.