Police Briefs 5/30/19


Registered sex offender caught with child pornography

MIDDLEBURG – A three-month investigation ended with child pornography charges against a registered sex offender.

Richard Allan Griffin, 58, was charged with possessing, controlling or intentionally viewing a photograph or video involving sexual conduct of a child.

According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Middleburg man had been registered for years as a sexual predator. Their investigation revealed that Griffin possessed the pornography on Feb. 26. The county’s Crimes Against Children, along with the Cyber Unit and Homeland Security, executed a search warrant on Rose Ridge Court on May 21, where they found pictures on a laptop.

His bond was set at $50,003.

Couple face charges of robbing, handcuffing a man to a chair

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Bond was set at $250,009 for a man accused of hitting another man in the head with a hammer, then handcuffing him to a chair for 24 hours while he robbed him.

William Harrison Epps, 39, was charged with armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment after restraining him to a recliner with handcuffs, while Edria Ann McIntire, 35, who lived at the same address as the victim, was charged with armed robbery and false imprisonment. Her bond was set at $150,006.

According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Epps stole money and property after he struck the victim with a hammer on May 24. When deputies arrived, they found the victim with “severe” swelling on his face and a possible broken jaw.

Although she freed the victim, McIntire participated in the robbery, deputies said.

Deputies also arrested Erika Dawn Epps, 37, who also had the same address of the robbery victim, for an outstanding warrant for simple battery. She was accused of punching a neighbor on March 24.

Combative woman arrested after fighting with hospital staff, deputies

ORANGE PARK – A woman went kicking, screaming and spitting to jail on May 25 after fighting with hospital staff and a sheriff deputy.

Cassandra Nicole Rydell, 26, of Orange Park tried to check herself into the hospital when she became combative with the medical staff, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office reported.

After kicking one nurse in the chest and abdomen, she reportedly spit on a security officer. According to the arrest report, she started slamming her head against the safety cage of the patrol car while in route to the Clay County Jail. Deputies were forced to use a prisoner restraint and hobble devices after she fought with them again after returning to Orange Park Medical Center to have her re-evaluated.

She was booked in the county jail with a $75,008 bond after being charged with two counts of batter on a police officer, firefighter or EMT and with resisting an officer with violence.

Deputies: Man winds up in jail for grabbing wife by the throat

MIDDLEBURG – Clay County Sheriff deputies arrested a man they said slapped and choked his wife during an argument.

Thomas Norman Allen, 43, of Middleburg was charged with felony domestic battery by strangulation on May 25.

According to the arrest report, Allen was arguing with his wife when she tried to gather some belongings to leave. The wife said Allen then slapped her and grabbed her throat with both hands. Marks around her neck appeared to confirm her account, the arresting deputy said.

‘Intoxicated’ man tasered after clashing with mother, deputies

MAXVILLE – A Jacksonville man was tasered on May 25 after he threatened his mother with a gun and attempted to run away from deputies, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said.

Joseph Taylor Lowman, 26, faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm against a police officer and resisting, opposing or obstructing a police officer. His bond was set at $205,008.

According to the arrest report, Lowman’s mother called deputies after she said her son woke up “intoxicated and angry.” Lowman reportedly took her gun and threatened to shoot himself. When deputies arrived, they took the mother to the street for her safety and asked Lowman to meet them in the yard. Lowman briefly ran back inside but returned. When he tried to run into the house a second time, he was hit with tasers to make sure he wasn’t trying to retrieve a gun, deputies said.

Fight with deputies lands Jacksonville man in Clay County Jail

MIDDLEBURG – Two Clay County Sheriff deputies were kicked while trying to arrest a Jacksonville man for fighting.

James David Howell, 29, was charged with two counts of battery on the law enforcement officer, aggravated battery, simple battery, criminal mischief, resisting arrest with violence and parole violation.

Howell was accused of pushing a woman down, then hitting a man who was trying to break up the fight. When deputies arrived, they found Howell in some nearby woods. He kicked both deputies, according to the arrest report, before he was subdued by a restraint device.

He currently is being held at the Clay County Jail without bond.

Second of three home invasion suspects now behind bars

ORANGE PARK – A second person wanted for the armed home invasion on May 19 was arrested on May 22 – a day after another suspect was tracked down after she contacted the victim through social media.

Juwan Denzel Grier, 25, of Jacksonville was charged with an armed home invasion, grand theft of more than $100,00, false imprisonment and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Grier was one of three people who stormed into a home, overpowered the homeowner, bound him with zip-ties and telephone cords, threatened him by putting a gun in his mouth and pepper-spraying him until he directed them to $140,000 that was hidden in his attic.

Skylar Marin Albritton, 19, of Jacksonville was arrested on May 21 after she contacted the victim’s wife on Instagram. She was charged with the same offenses.

Deputies stop swerving driver who was twice over DUI limit

MIDDLEBURG – A driver nearly twice over the legal limit was stopped on Old Jennings Road last Wednesday and arrested for DUI.

Andre Renardo Brown, 38, of Jacksonville was booked in the Clay County Jail on charges of DUI with a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher. He also was ticketed failing to maintain his lane while driving on Old Jennings Road, and he received a warning for an inoperable taillight.

Deputies were called after other drivers noticed Brown driving erratically. He swerved from lane to lane, according to the arrest report, before being stopped.

After failing the sobriety test, he was taken to the jail where he provided two breath intoxilyzer samples. One read .16, the other .156. The legal limit in Florida is .08.

Intoxicated customer busted for punching, trying to bite deputy

ORANGE PARK – An unruly customer at Hooter’s fought with restaurant employees and tried to bite a sheriff deputy’s leg before being restrained on May 24.

Mercedes Michelle Smith, 36, of Orange Park was charged with disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest with violence against two different officers and battery on a law enforcement officer.

Smith started fighting with staff members after she was asked to leave the restaurant. Employees originally didn’t want to press charges, but Smith continued to fight with other customers in the parking lot, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said.

She wrestled with the arresting officers and tried to bite one of them in the thigh. She eventually was restrained by hobble and violent prisoner restraints. Once at the jail, she kicked another office before she was placed in a restraint chair.


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