Two dead following New Year’s Eve shooting
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A couple were arrested after three people were shot on New Year’s Eve, leaving two dead and one in a local hospital.
Taylor Ryan Hill, 22, of Jacksonville, and Victoria Ann Scifo, 20, of Woburn, Massachusetts, were caught following a 15-mile police chase that ended when the couple crashed a truck on State Road 100 in Bradford County that had been stolen next to the murder scene. Both had been released from prison in September.
Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to 4374 Lori Loop Road after three people were shot during an argument. A few minutes later, deputies also were called to a neighbor’s house after a Dodge Ram was taken from a man who was pistol-whipped by Hill.
Shayne Wooten was the first shooting victim. He was shot in the stomach and was hospitalized with “non-life-threating injuries,” according to the arrest report.
Liza Nichole Dukes, 29, died inside her living room after being shot in the back while she was on top of Scifo during a struggle over missing clothes. James Wooten, Shayne’s father, then was shot in the head and had “no brain activity.” He was taken off life support and died Jan. 2.
A GoFundMe account was created to raise money for Dukes’ funeral.
“She was a daughter, mother and friend,” fund organizer Jessica Williams posted for the mother of three. “She is loved by so many and will be dearly missed.
“This fund has been created to help with her burial expenses and help her family through this horrific tragedy. Any money collected will go directly to her family to help lay her to rest.”
Scifo was charged with attempting to flee police while they had their flashing lights and siren active, as well as accessory after the fact involving a murder. Her bond was set at $300,006.
Hill was charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, robbery with a firearm, removing serial number from a firearm and parole violation. He sustained a possible broken pelvis from the crash and still was in the hospital a week later.
The couple’s next court appearance is Feb. 10.
Hill, who cut his GPS tracking anklet off before the shooting, had just served seven years of a 35-year sentence for burglary and was on parole. An arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 11 for violating terms of the parole.
Scifo served 15 months for heroin possession, car theft and attempting to flee police.
More charges are expected, CCSO said.
Home invasion, kidnapping ends with crash in Jacksonville
OAKLEAF – A Jacksonville man was caught following a high-speed chase that ended in Jacksonville and another man remained at large following a home invasion robbery and kidnapping during the early-morning hours on Jan. 2.
Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to a home in the Hearthstone neighborhood after two men broke into a home at 4:37 a.m., ransacked the home, forced a victim to open a safe, kidnapped a man and held him hostage while they escaped in a stolen car.
Kwontell Travis Swain, 21, was charged with driving with a suspended license, attempting to flee police without regard to the safety of others, home invasion with a deadly weapon, grand theft auto and armed kidnapping.
According to the arrest report, the two were spotted by CCSO in the parking lot of the Oakleaf Plantation Athletic Center. They quickly sped away, often reaching speeds of more than 100 mph. The hostage was either released or escaped before the two men led deputies with Clay County and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on a chase that ended when they crashed at the corners of Blanding Boulevard and 103rd Street.
Swain, who is being detained at the Clay County Jail without bond, was caught during a brief foot chase; the other suspect, who hasn’t been identified, got away.
Middleburg man, 33, in jail for forcing himself on girl
MIDDLEBURG – A 33-year-old man was arrested Jan. 2 after he was accused of having a girl touch him inappropriately, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said.
Harold Lee Harris, of Middleburg, was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior by molesting a victim 12 or younger. He was put in the Clay County Jail without bond.
Harris was suspected of having the girl touch him between his legs and for placing his genitals between her bare buttocks last June, CCSO said.
When interviewed, the girl cried “uncontrollably,” which gave deputies “credible” evidence to arrest Harris. He remained in jail without bond.
Orange Park woman jailed for hitting man with crowbar
ORANGE PARK – A woman was put in the Clay County Jail on Jan. 4 after a sheriff’s office deputy said she hit her boyfriend with a crowbar.
Laura Kay Zentner, 23, of Orange Park, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill after her boyfriend had signs of a blow to his right elbow, according to the arrest report.
Her boyfriend came home from work and fell asleep on the couch. He said he was awakened by Zentner, and he was struck during an argument.
Couple jailed following CCSO drug raid in Lakeside
LAKESIDE – A couple were arrested following a drug raid by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s Targeted Narcotics Team, Organized Crime Unite and SWAT.
Shannon Michelle Schrum, 19, and Shawn Lee Markham, 29, both of Orange Park, were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after CCSO responded to complaints by neighbors of what appeared to be drug activity at the home on Pawnee Street. Deputies found two plastic bags and a mirror with methamphetamine residue.
Woman charged with hitting boyfriend with baseball bat
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A woman was arrest Dec. 28 after Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies said she struck her boyfriend with a baseball bat during an argument.
Pamela Jeanet Baldree, 39, of Keystone Heights, was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after her boyfriend said she became enraged after attending a family outing in Lake Butler.
The boyfriend said he was hit in the ribs and the back of his head.
Melrose man killed after truck collides with trees
MELROSE – A 28-year-old Melrose man was killed last Saturday when he lost control and of his pickup truck and struck a tree, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
Kenneth Suit died at the scene, FHP said.
Suit was driving northbound on Melrose Road, just south of Lilly Lake Road, at 1:10 p.m. when his truck suddenly veered to the right and slammed into some trees. His passenger, Michael Taylor, 30, of Melrose sustained minor injuries.
Melrose Road was closed for more than four hours during the investigation.