Jax man to get Stand Your Ground hearing
TALLAHASSEE – A Jacksonville man currently serving a four-year prison sentence for discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of another …
Jax man to get Stand Your Ground hearing
TALLAHASSEE – A Jacksonville man currently serving a four-year prison sentence for discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of another person and shooting a missile from a vehicle will now have a Stand Your Ground hearing in Circuit Court.
The First District Court of Appeal reversed the July 2017 conviction a jury handed down to Luis Angel Aviles-Manfredy, 24, in a Jan. 7 ruling. Aviles-Manfredy was originally charged with attempted murder and discharging a firearm from a vehicle when he was arrested on May 6, 2016 after a road-rage chase that ended at an area convenience store.
According to the original arrest report from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Aviles-Manfredy was driving a grey Ford Ranger pickup northbound on Blanding Boulevard near County Road 220 when he cut off the driver of a Ford Explorer.
The driver of the Explorer, Charles Holland, told police he became angry when he was cut off so he sped up and then cut off Aviles-Manfredy in the truck. When Holland cut off Avile-Manfredy, police said, Aviles-Manfredy fired three shots towards Holland’s Explorer.
The road rage accelerated, and continued heading northbound, to a point where Aviles-Manfredy swerved his truck and deliberately used the front quarter panel of the truck to strike the Explorer.
Meanwhile, Holland told police he refused to let Aviles-Manfredy pass him for fear Aviles-Manfredy would shoot him.
By the time the two men stopped the rage and parked at the Speedway at 1545 Blanding Blvd., police questioned both of them and examined Holland’s Explorer. A legal Concealed Weapons permit holder at the time, Aviles-Manfredy told police he feared for his life that night and said that when he fired shots, he was aiming for Holland’s tires, not him. Police also pointed out in their report that instead of calling 911, Aviles-Manfredy chose to fire a gun and did not attempt to de-escalate the rage but stoked it making it more dangerous.
Police charged Aviles-Manfredy with attempted murder because of the proximity of one bullet to the driver’s body.
“The trajectory of one of the bullet’s fired, would have penetrated the driver’s seat had it not been stopped by a lap-top computer that was located in the rear of the vehicle,” writes the officer.
A second bullet from Aviles-Manfredy’s 9-millimter handgun was on the back floorboard.
The First District Court of Appeal ruling orders Circuit Court officials to hold what’s called an immunity hearing to determine whether Aviles-Manfredy can claim Stand Your Ground.
Under Florida law, the prosecution bears the burden of proof.
“If, on the other hand, the trial court determines that Appellant is not entitled to immunity from prosecution, it shall enter an order containing its findings and reinstate [Aviles-Manfredy’s] convictions.”
Aviles-Manfredy is currently serving his sentence at the Bridges of Jacksonville but will soon be heading back to a Clay County courtroom for an immunity hearing.
OP Man facing animal cruelty charge
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – An Orange Park man turned himself over to authorities last Wednesday at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Green Cove Springs where he was charged with one count of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
According to the warrant, Robert Andrew Kuchler, 38, allegedly used a bow to shoot a cat in the face with an arrow in the Oakdale subdivision off Moody Avenue in November.
A resident of the subdivision told a CCSO investigator that on Nov. 17 she found a bloody arrow in her driveway. The next night, she took in an injured stray cat that had been bleeding.
“The cat had what appeared to be a hole in the left side of its face above its eye and a possible exit hole on the left side of its neck,” states the warrant.
During a canvas of the neighborhood, the officer found a deer stand commonly used by hunters in the driveway of a home a few houses from the woman who reported the abuse. About five minutes later, Kuchler – dressed in a camouflage outfit – returned home and was interviewed by the investigating officer. On Dec. 28, CCSO obtained a warrant for Kuchler’s arrest.
Since being booked on Jan. 2, Kuchler is free from jail after posting $1,002 bond.
Lake Asbury teen dies in head-on crash
LAKE ASBURY – Nineteen-year-old Jonathan Edward Barnes of Lake Asbury was killed in a head-on collision that took place Jan. 2 on Henley Road at Lake Asbury Drive, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
FHP said Barnes was driving a 2001 Nissan Maxima heading southbound on Henley Road when he crossed over into the oncoming lanes. His Nissan struck the left side of a 2007 Ford Expedition driven by Jennifer C. Bathelor, 44, of Middleburg, who was not injured.
After impact, Barnes’ Nissan was struck by the front of a 2018 Nissan Maxima driven by Anthony Barrett Wells, 50, of Green Cove Springs.
FHP traffic crash investigators said both Barnes Nissan and Wells’ Nissan left the roadway and came to final rest in the right travel lane, while the Ford Expedition came to rest in the roadway.
FHP said Wells and his passenger, Erica Wells, 46, also of Green Cove Springs, were treated for minor injuries at Orange Park Medical Center where Barnes was pronounced dead.
Domestic call ends in felony charges
ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park area man faces charges of strangulation, false imprisonment and domestic battery.
According to a report from The Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Christopher Carl Fuller, 27, slapped and strangled his girlfriend around 2:30 a.m. in their home on Dec. 30.
A CCSO officer was dispatched to Fuller’s Blanding Boulevard residence after getting reports of an assault. The officer arrived at the location and spoke with the victim and noticed injuries on her neck and arms.
The victim reported that, unprovoked, Fuller slapped her across the left side of her face and choked her until she almost lost consciousness. She said Fuller bit her right ear, though the officer reported he noticed no visible injury.
According to the police report, “throughout the incident the defendant would not allow the victim to leave the room.”
The officer reported that the victim had circular bruises on her arms and a red bruise in the middle of her neck, injuries consistent with the reported assault.
Police arrested Fuller on Jan. 2 and booked him in the Clay County Jail, where at press time, he remained with bond set at $30,008.
Man faces one, possibly two vehicle theft charges
ORANGE PARK – A Jacksonville man faces grand theft auto and drug charges after an investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
Police arrested Steven Timothy Kelley, 20, at 2 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 4 after an officer found him asleep in the front seat of his car in the parking lot at 1731 Wells Road in Orange Park.
According to the police report, a random license plate check of the white Toyota sedan “revealed the vehicle was reported stolen out of Duval County.”
While searching the vehicle, the officer found a spoon on the car dashboard containing a substance that, after a field test, proved to be heroin.
Police also recovered several syringes from the car and approximately one gram of marijuana in the center console of the vehicle.
Upon searching the defendant’s person, the officer reported locating the driver’s license to which the stolen vehicle was registered.
Kelley was taken into custody and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin, marijuana possession and unauthorized use of a stolen driver’s license.
While in custody, CCSO officers found that Kelley was also a suspect in a separate vehicle theft investigation involving a white Ford F150, for which he was charged by CCSO. There is no word on whether he will be charged with the theft of the Toyota sedan. At press time, Kelley remained in the Clay County Jail with his bond set at $65,013.
Arizona man set to go on trial for soliciting a teen for sex
JACKSONVILLE – An Arizona man who is serving with the U.S. Navy in the Jacksonville area is set to go on trial in federal court next month on charges he was having sex with at least one Clay County teen girl.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office worked with federal law enforcement last year to arrest Erold Martin Panopio on November 26, 2018. He is set to go on trial in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville on Feb. 4.
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Panopio used a cellphone and a computer to chat with and then meet a 15-year-old girl for sex between Nov. 6 and Nov. 26. He faces one count of lewd or lascivious battery on a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age.
The investigation began on August 29, 2018 when CCSO detectives Ryan Ellis and Adam Spearman gave a federal agent information about the victim. On October 26, 2018, the two CCSO detectives met with a Clay Behavioral Health counselor who said the teen’s guardian told her the girl had been communicating online with an older man. On November 5, 2018, the CCSO detectives found that the girl had been communicating with Panopio via SnapChat. They also found a video on the phone of Panopio having sex with what appeared to be two teen girls.
A federal grand jury indicted Panopio on Dec. 6, paving the way for his trial next month.