Office of The State Attorney, Fifth Judicial Circuit, Florida
Serving the Citizens of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, and Sumter Counties
Office of The State Attorney, Fifth Judicial Circuit, Florida
Serving the Citizens of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, and Sumter Counties

Newsroom

HOLDING FOUND GUILTY AND SENTENCED TO LIFE FOR SEXUAL BATTERY OF A CHILD

(Marion County, FL) Earlier today, jurors rendered a guilty verdict in the courtroom of the Honorable Judge Pope during the trial of 47-year-old Christopher Lee Holding. Holding was found guilty on all seven charges, including Sexual Battery of a Victim Older than 12 but less than 18 years of age.

(Marion County, FL) Earlier today, jurors rendered a guilty verdict in the courtroom of the Honorable Judge Pope during the trial of 47-year-old Christopher Lee Holding. Holding was found guilty on all seven charges, including Sexual Battery of a Victim Older than 12 but less than 18 years of age.

After jurors delivered their verdict to the court, Judge Pope sentenced Holding to Life in the Florida Department of Corrections.

“I cannot even begin to fathom the pain and suffering this victim endured from Holding,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “The weight of the trauma they will have to carry the rest of their life is despairing and incomparable. I am extremely pleased with this sentencing after fully examining all the evidence and considering the surrounding circumstances.”

In June of 2023, Holding was arrested by Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies after allegations of sexual misconduct between Holding and the victim were reported. During a forensic interview, the victim disclosed numerous reports of sexual abuse committed by Holding, spanning from 2017 to 2021.

The victim told investigators that the abuse started when they were only 13 years old and included numerous instances where Holding would tie or chain up the victim while sexually battering them.  Additional evidence revealed during the investigation supported the victim’s statement of repetitive abuse.    

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Katrina Self.

 

AUSTELL RECEIVES LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDER OF SUMTER COUNTY TEEN

(Sumter County, FL) Today, the honorable Judge Hatcher sentenced 26-year-old Bacarri Justice Austell to Life in the Florida Department of Corrections for the senseless murder of Chris’sean Williams just two days before the young teenager’s 17th birthday.

(Sumter County, FL) Today, the honorable Judge Hatcher sentenced 26-year-old Bacarri Justice Austell to Life in the Florida Department of Corrections for the senseless murder of Chris’sean Williams just two days before the young teenager’s 17th birthday.

 

“This life sentence echoes the profound consequences of not just one, but two young lives lost,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “As our community grapples with the tragedy of this teenager’s murder, may Austell’s sentence serve as a resolute reminder that our commitment to justice demands accountability for the choices we make.”

 

Back in November 2023, a Sumter County jury delivered a verdict of guilty against Austell for Second-Degree Murder with a firearm.

 

The jury ultimately found Austell possessed and discharged a firearm, resulting in the tragic death of 16-year-old  Chris’sean Williams. The incident unfolded at Royal Park, where Austell, during a video game gathering, pursued and fired four rounds at the victim, fatally striking him in the head.

 

Austell claimed he thought the victim was a person who had threatened him on a different day. In one of the many various statements he told law enforcement, Austell said he was in fear for his life and shot the victim. Despite this claim of justifiable use of deadly force, diligent work by Inspector Knight, Det. Warren, CID detectives, and the Forensic team of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) proved this claim false.

 

The SAO’s victim witness department played a crucial role in coordinating witnesses despite the inherent challenges in cases of this nature. Special acknowledgment to Sgt. Mullins of the SCSO, as well as K9 Rio, whose keen nose led to the discovery of the murder weapon.

 

Exceptional work by Assistant State Attorney Donald “Sonny” McCathran Jr. and Daniel Geraghty for their firm commitment to seeking justice for the Williams family.

FLORIDA HIGHWAY SHOOTING SUSPECT SENTENCED TO LIFE

(Sumter County, FL) Today, the Honorable Judge Hatcher sentenced Miguel Espinosa Navarro to Life in Prison with a 20-year Minimum Mandatory for a disturbing case that unfolded on June 27, 2020.

(Sumter County, FL) Today, the Honorable Judge Hatcher sentenced Miguel Espinosa Navarro to Life in Prison with a 20-year Minimum Mandatory for a disturbing case that unfolded on June 27, 2020.

Navarro while driving a black Ford F150 Raptor on I-75, recklessly discharged a firearm at passing vehicles. One shot went through a driver’s window, narrowly missing the occupants. Multiple 9-1-1 calls prompted Sumter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) patrol deputies to intervene, leading to a standoff where Navarro wielded his firearm.

Deputies successfully stopped traffic, ensuring the safety of motorists, during their attempts to subdue the suspect. Navarro fled in his pickup, ultimately crashing into a fence along the interstate. Following a brief struggle, deputies were able to apprehend him and locate the discarded firearm.

Body cam videos and a passing motorist’s recording of the incident were pivotal during the trial. A Sumter County jury delivered a guilty verdict on September 13, 2023, finding Navarro guilty on six counts of Attempted Second Degree Murder with a Firearm, 2 counts of Shooting into an occupied vehicle and Fleeing or Attempting to Elude with recklessness or high speed.

“Justice prevailed in the face of reckless violence,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “The sentencing of Navarro sends a resolute message that endangering lives through senseless acts will be met with severe consequences.”

Our office would like to recognize those SCSO deputies who actively engaged and apprehended Navarro during this dangerous situation. Their swift actions ensured no citizens were injured by Navarro’s depraved behavior.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol troopers, Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab analysts, along with Assistant State Attorneys Sonny McCathran and Dan Geraghty played crucial roles in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.

 

LAKE COUNTY MAN INDICTED FOR SEXUAL BATTERY OF A CHILD

(Lake County, FL)- State Attorney, William “Bill” Gladson, announces the grand jury indictment of Joseph Andrew Giampa.

(Lake County, FL)- State Attorney, William “Bill” Gladson, announces the grand jury indictment of Joseph Andrew Giampa.

Giampa has been indicted for six counts of Sexual Battery Upon a Person Under Twelve Years of Age and three counts of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child.

Given the severity of the crime and its impact on the community, the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office has filed a notice that it intends to seek the death penalty pursuant to Florida Statutes 794.011(2)(a) and 921.1425.

The decision to pursue the highest penalty reflects the gravity of the charges and the State Attorney’s Office’s dedication to holding criminals accountable for their actions. The State Attorney’s Office acknowledges the sensitivity of this matter and the impact it has on the community. Our commitment to ensuring justice and protecting the vulnerable remains unwavering.

As legal proceedings unfold, our office asks for respect for the legal process and the privacy of those involved. We will continue to work diligently to bring this case to a just resolution.

GUILTY VERDICT IN SECOND-DEGREE MURDER CASE OF TRAGIC MISTAKEN IDENTITY

(Marion County, FL) Yesterday afternoon, a jury found 44-year-old Jennifer Sue Hill guilty of second-degree murder following a roadside shooting in Ocklawaha that resulted in the death of 39-year-old Michael Tron Hofacker.

(Marion County, FL) Yesterday afternoon, a jury found 44-year-old Jennifer Sue Hill guilty of second-degree murder following a roadside shooting in Ocklawaha that resulted in the death of 39-year-old Michael Tron Hofacker.

The incident unfolded on November 28, 2020, around 7:30 p.m. in the 3200 block of S. Highway 314A. Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene to investigate. Initial reports indicated Hill perceived a threat, thinking Michael had a gun, leading to a fatal shot to the head. Tragically, he succumbed to his injuries.

Eyewitness accounts suggest that Hill wrongly identified the victim as someone else named Michael. The witness, a friend of the victim, stated that the victim did not pose a threat and was unarmed at the time of the incident.

“This incident underscores why people should not take matters into their own hands and trust law enforcement,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “As the legal process continues, our hearts go out to the family affected by this deeply regrettable incident.”

Hill’s inconsistent statements during the investigation raised questions, with no evidence discovered to corroborate the victim possessing a firearm during the incident. Hill was subsequently arrested on November 29, 2020.

Hill’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 1, 2024, at 9 a.m.

Assistant State Attorneys Sasha Kidney and Wynn Vickers successfully prosecuted this case.

JURORS DELIVER GUILTY VERDICT IN FATAL BATTERY CASE

(Marion County, FL) Today, jurors returned a guilty verdict for 36-year-old Chad Paul Anciaux, who was accused of a vicious attack on his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Powell. The brutal battery resulted in the death of Jennifer on November 16, 2020.

(Marion County, FL) Today, jurors returned a guilty verdict for 36-year-old Chad Paul Anciaux, who was accused of a vicious attack on his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Powell. The brutal battery resulted in the death of Jennifer on November 16, 2020.

The incident took place on November 6, 2020, at the Stage Stop Inn, located off Silver Springs Blvd. Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the hotel after a caller advised a female was beaten by a male with a baseball bat.

When officials responded, they located the victim lying on the sidewalk with a large amount of blood near her head. Investigators interviewed witnesses on scene who indicated Anciaux had chased the victim out of the hotel room and struck her repeatedly with a metal baseball bat. Video surveillance evidence from the hotel corroborated witnesses’ statements.

The investigation revealed that Anciaux, after allegedly chasing Powell from a motel room, brutally struck her nearly 20 times with a baseball bat. The victim was hospitalized and later succumbed to her injuries.

“Today’s verdict sends a clear message that acts of violence will not be tolerated,” stated William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “Anciaux will spend the rest of his life behind bars, an appropriate sentence that reflects the severity of this heinous crime.”

Officials searched for Anciaux, who was apprehended shortly thereafter, despite his resistance during the arrest. Additionally, Anciaux previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison on a charge of failure to register as a sexual offender (having previously failed to register as a sexual predator in Florida, with a prior misdemeanor sex crime conviction from Iowa).

Assistant State Attorneys Toby Hunt and Amy Berndt successfully prosecuted the case.

INVERNESS MAN FOUND GUILTY FOR FATAL 2021 HIT AND RUN

(Citrus County, FL) Yesterday, the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office secured a guilty verdict in the fatal hit-and-run case against 37-year-old Mark Anthony Wieder. Jurors deliberated for nearly 45 minutes before finding Wieder guilty on charges of failing to stop at a crash involving a death and leaving a crash involving property damages.

(Citrus County, FL) Yesterday, the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office secured a guilty verdict in the fatal hit-and-run case against 37-year-old Mark Anthony Wieder. Jurors deliberated for nearly 45 minutes before finding Wieder guilty on charges of failing to stop at a crash involving a death and leaving a crash involving property damages.

“The gravity of a fatal hit and run cannot be overstated. Tragedies like that of Kathryn Gosman, not only result in the loss of a precious life but leave families shattered,” commented William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “Those responsible will eventually recognize the seriousness of their actions and should prepare to face the full consequences of such.”

Wieder was originally arrested by Florida Highway Patrol troopers on April 7, 2022, following an incident on February 25, 2021, when 45-year-old Kathryn Gosman tragically lost her life in a hit-and-run on South Cascade Avenue. The victim, a dedicated worker at Angelo’s Pizzaria, was delivering pizzas to support her ill mother when she was fatally struck and left over 100 feet from the original impact site.

The Florida Highway Patrol’s investigation revealed that Wieder’s vehicle, a GMC Sierra pickup, exhibited damage consistent with the crash. Paint transfer analysis further linked the vehicle to Wieder’s GMC Envoy.

During the investigation, Wieder claimed he thought he had hit a deer. He failed to stop to inspect the damages and continued to a store without reporting the incident to authorities. The diligent work of FHP Corporal Brian Dokendorf subsequently led to Wieder’s arrest on April 7, 2023.

Mark Anthony Wieder is scheduled for sentencing on December 29, 2023.

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Blake Shore and Tara Hartman.

MARION COUNTY MAN FOUND GUILTY OF CHILD SEX OFFENSE CHARGE

(Marion County, FL) Yesterday, a jury found 28-year-old Johnathon Michael Apenzeller guilty of three felony counts of Lewd and Lascivious Battery and one felony count of Possession of Child Pornography.

(Marion County, FL) Yesterday, a jury found 28-year-old Johnathon Michael Apenzeller guilty of three felony counts of Lewd and Lascivious Battery and one felony count of Possession of Child Pornography.

“Cases such as this highlight the importance of safeguarding the well-being of our children,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “Our legal system stands firm against the exploitation of children and we will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who harms a child.”

On February 7, 2020, deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) originally responded to a residence in Silver Springs in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival, deputies were informed by the reportee that there was a video of Apenzeller engaged in sexual activities with the victim, who was 12 to 16 years of age.

After interviews were conducted with the reportee and victim, it was discovered that Apenzeller had engaged in multiple sexual acts with the minor child. In one instance, he even recorded those acts on his cell phone while inside the victim’s room.

Investigators then attempted to locate Apenzeller for an interview, which was met with negative results. After numerous attempts, an arrest warrant was issued for Apenzeller. Law Enforcement officials in Ohio located Apenzeller and arrested him on the warrant. He was subsequently transferred and booked into the Marion County Jail.

After being found guilty, the Honorable Judge Lisa Herndon ordered Apenzeller into custody to await his sentencing hearing which will take place on January 18, 2024.

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Katrina Self and Barbara Harris.

 

 

CONVICTED FELON PLEADED GUILTY FOR ARREST IN NARCOTICS SEARCH WARRANT

(Citrus County, FL) Earlier today, 43-year-old Joseph Singh II pleaded guilty to Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Sell Heroin, Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon, along with many other drug-related charges.

(Citrus County, FL) Earlier today, 43-year-old Joseph Singh II pleaded guilty to Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Sell Heroin, Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon, along with many other drug-related charges.

“Today’s sentencing is another significant step forward in ridding our communities from deadly drug traffickers like Singh,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “A 15-year sentence reflects the dedicated efforts of law enforcement, our prosecution team, and the judicial system working together to protect our citizens.”

Back in August of 2022, Singh was arrested by detectives with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives from CCSO’s Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) executed a search warrant at a residence off of North Charles Terrace in Hernando, FL. Officials were aware of ongoing narcotics sales at the residence and conducted an investigation that led to the execution of the narcotics search warrant.

Upon arrival at the residence, TIU detectives located Singh, along with co-defendant Michael Guinan, Jr. After securing both individuals, detectives proceeded with the execution of the search warrant. Various narcotics, drug paraphernalia, eighteen firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, body-armor, four silencers, an explosive device, and a large amount of cash were seized.

Singh was arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine, possession with intent to sell heroin, ten counts possession of firearm by a convicted felon, rent/own/lease drug dwelling, possession of a destructive device, two counts grand theft, two counts grand theft of firearm, possession of a controlled substance (xanax), possession of a bulletproof vest in the commission of a felony, and possession of paraphernalia.

He had previously been arrested during the CCSO’s Operation Deck the Cells and was out on bond for sales of fentanyl when this arrest was made.

Singh was sentenced to 15 years in the Florida Department of Corrections, which carries a 7-year minimum mandatory. Additionally, Singh was ordered to pay $100,000 in court fees and fines.

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Nick Caporicci and Tara Hartman.

https://www.facebook.com/FLSAO5th/posts/pfbid0NYrae39tJFRjP9apiBqupgJ6t2QG4vvREyc56E8uuM2mQUo4HV2dCLumCSoGKyrcl 

STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE SECURES CONVICTION IN FATAL DUI MOTORCYCLE COLLISION

(Hernando County, FL) The Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office announces a significant development in the case against 60-year-old James Daniel Carnley II, following a fatal incident on May 15, 2020 that took the life of 25-year-old Devon Robert Graham. A swift verdict was reached, with jurors taking just five minutes to find James Carnley guilty of Driving Under the Influence Manslaughter.

(Hernando County, FL) The Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office announces a significant development in the case against 60-year-old James Daniel Carnley II, following a fatal incident on May 15, 2020 that took the life of 25-year-old Devon Robert Graham. A swift verdict was reached, with jurors taking just five minutes to find James Carnley guilty of Driving Under the Influence Manslaughter.

“This conviction underscores our commitment to holding individuals accountable for their actions, particularly when they jeopardize the safety of others through reckless behavior,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “Our office remains steadfast in its pursuit of justice, ensuring that victims and their families find resolution through the legal process.”

Back in May of 2020, Carnley, leaving the Publix shopping center on Happy Days Lane, turned left onto US 19 North. In a tragic turn of events, he violated the right-of-way, colliding with Devon Graham’s motorcycle, who had no time to react. The impact was forceful, propelling Mr. Graham across US 19 onto the grassy shoulder. Regrettably, Mr. Graham was pronounced dead at the scene.

Florida Highway Patrol conducted a meticulous traffic homicide investigation, revealing that Carnley’s blood alcohol level was .125, exceeding the legal limit in the State of Florida. Additionally, his blood contained quantities of THC. The evidence, including a voluntary blood draw and testimony from civilian witnesses, members of the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Dr. Bruce Goldberger, was presented during the trial.

His sentencing is scheduled for December 21, 2023, where the State Attorney’s Office will seek the maximum sanction of 15 years in Florida state prison.

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Robert Lewis.