Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Commissioner Mike Joyner Honored

September 19, 2018

The Florida Intelligence Unit (FIU), one of the oldest established law enforcement associations in Florida, bestowed their highest honor on Commissioner Mike Joyner last night during the Levy County Board of County Commissioners meeting. The newly named “Mike Joyner Officer of the Year” award was presented by FIU President Tully Sparkman and FIU Legal Counsel Paula Sparkman and highlighted just of few of the many accomplishments Commissioner Joyner attained during his 30 plus years of service as a dedicated law enforcement officer in Florida. Commissioner Joyner is one of only a select few that are “life time” members of the FIU.

Commission Joyner began his law enforcement career in Jefferson County, Florida in 1973. He is attributed with saving four lives in three separate events and was awarded for these acts of heroism. In 1986 while employed with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office he spearheaded an undercover operation lasting over 18 months that netted 72 arrests with a 100% conviction rate. He went undercover seven times in state prisons in four different states and gained information that solved multiple cold case homicides. Commissioner Joyner is also credited with gaining critical information during an undercover operation that ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. 

Commissioner Joyner retired from law enforcement in 2005 after serving with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and Marion County Sheriff’s Office, but continues his service to all of these communities and law enforcement agencies that he worked for throughout these years. Continuing his commitment to community and deeply entrenched in Levy County, Commissioner Joyner also enjoys the time he is now able to spend with family and friends. In dedication to the growth and development of the Levy County community as our commissioner, he also enjoys farming and working with his cattle.  

Pictured with his now forever named “Mike Joyner Officer of the Year” award, Commissioner Joyner spoke that he would have never been able to attain any of these accomplishments had it not been for the support of his wife and children. He then said they deserved the award more than he and presented the statue, made in his likeness to his wife, Diane.  

Saturday, September 15, 2018

In Custody Death

September 15, 2018
This morning at approximately 4:15 a.m. Levy County Detention staff discovered a female inmate deceased in her cell. Megan R Downing (9-28-80) of Williston was in custody after her arrest on September 12, 2018 by the Williston Police Department.
Downing was being housed in the medical department at the Levy County Detention Facility for unspecified medical issues. She was under constant video monitoring throughout the night. Staff did not notice any unusual occurrences.
The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division in cooperation with the 8th Circuit Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation. At this time the cause of death has not been determined. No suspicious circumstances have been discovered.
Mrs. Downing is survived by her husband and four children. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tired, Muddy and Tased

September 12, 2018

Stephen Baker (7-5-91) of Inglis was a wanted man until he turned into the wrong driveway. Corporal Franco Almeida responded to 18351 SE Butler Road in Inglis on September 2nd to a report of theft. Baker drove through the main gate of the property in a jacked up Dodge truck while Corporal Almeida was on scene conducting his investigation. Corporal Almeida recognized Baker from past professional contacts and knew he did not have a valid driver’s license and had warrants for his arrest.  

Baker attempted to flee the property after seeing our deputy, but became stuck in the mud in a low lying area of the property. Upon exiting his vehicle he tried to run away. This is when he got to experience a tool of our trade, the Taser. Corporal Almeida ordered Baker to surrender, and when he didn’t, utilized his Taser to stop his attempt to flee. 

Sheriff’s Office policy states that after someone has been shot with a Taser, EMS will be summoned to evaluate the subject and remove the Taser probes. This is exactly what Corporal Almeida did. Muddy and handcuffed, Baker attempted to escape again. Running out of the back of the ambulance with his hands cuffed behind his back; he thought by fleeing into a flooded area of the property Corporal Almeida wouldn’t follow. He grossly underestimated the determination of our deputy and was quickly apprehended again. 

Baker went to jail tired, muddy and tased, and with a few more criminal charges. Added to the charges on his warrant (fleeing and attempting to elude LEO and DWLSR habitual) were resisting arrest without violence and escape. He is being held in the custody of the Levy County Detention Facility in lieu of a $160,000.00 bond.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Probation Search Turns Violent

September 4, 2018

On August 31, 2018 members of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division assisted the Florida Department of Probation and Parole in a probationary search of a home located at 8031 NW 168 Lane in Fanning Springs. Probation and Parole requested the Sheriff’s Office assistance due to the past violent nature of the defendant, Bradsman Lamont Williams (8-6-84).

Two probation officers and four investigators arrived at the home and met with Williams who was verbally combative with officers during the initial encounter. Probations officers gave Williams instructions to remain seated on his couch inside the living room area under the watch of LCSO Investigator Justin VanDuren while the residential search was conducted. 

Investigator VanDuren noticed Williams was acting suspicious and paying a lot of attention to a coffee table covered with a blanket near the couch. Investigator VanDuren saw lumps under the blanket and while lifting it was struck by Williams. Investigator VanDuren saw Williams attempting to bite at a plastic baggie. A fight ensued between Williams and on-scene officers during which Williams kicked over the table, scattering its contents. Williams was able to shove a package of what was suspected to be illegal drugs into his mouth before he was able to be controlled and cuffed. 

The blanket concealed quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine already packaged for sale. The packages of suspected drugs Williams attempted to swallow was recovered and confirmed to be cocaine.  

Investigators and Probation Officers escorted Williams from his home and into the front yard. Williams had been handcuffed and shackled and was seated on a chair while investigators applied for a search warrant for the home and a marked patrol unit was summoned to transport him to jail. However, Williams was not finished fighting, he sprung from the chair and attempted to get back inside of his home. He was met at the door by a probation officer and investigator. A second fight ensued and Williams was again controlled.

Three officers sustained minor injuries during these altercations with Williams. A total of 9.79 grams of methamphetamine, of which 8 baggies had been pre-packaged for sale, was seized. Five baggies of cocaine totaling 2.6 grams were also seized. Digital scales, empty baggies, spoons and measuring devices were also seized.

Williams was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, destroying/tampering with evidence and two counts of resisting arrest with violence. Williams is being held at the Levy County Detention Facility and his bond has been set at $1,775,000.00. His probation was also revoked and a “No Bond” is assigned to that violation.

Brothers Arrested for Grand Theft

James Goins

Matthew Goins

September 4, 2018

Levy County deputies responded to 11421 NW 112 Place, the Springside Retirement Community, on August 20, 2018 to a report of the theft of an enclosed trailer. The complainant, a friend of the owner, discovered the trailer missing and reported the theft in the absence of the owner. The complainant was able to provide deputies with the owner’s information who when contacted, gave a description of what was inside the trailer. The owner told deputies he stored two kayaks, a mower and recumbent bicycles and other tools in the trailer which had a combined value of over $5,000.00.

Investigators discovered two kayaks matching the description of the stolen ones had been pawned at a local pawn shop in Gainesville. Investigators were able to confirm these were the stolen kayaks and learned James Goins (2-25-86) of Chiefland had pawned them.  

Additional investigation revealed witnesses who observed the trailer parked at Goins’ home testified to seeing Samantha Gath riding a lawn mower matching the stolen mower description. Investigators learned Gath was in custody in Dixie County on unrelated charges and interviewed her there. She identified her boyfriend, James Goins and his brother Matthew Goins (3-10-91), as participating in the theft of the trailer. She provided information on where other stolen items could be located.

Investigators located both James and Matthew Goins and placed them under arrest for grand theft. Both James and Matthew cooperated with investigators and additional stolen property was recovered. 

James Goins is being held at the Levy County Detention Facility. His bond was set at $20,000 for the grand theft and he has been additionally charged with violation of probation. Matthew Goins is being held on a $20,000 bond. Charges on Gath are pending. Additional charges are expected to be filed in both Alachua and Gilchrist counties as a result of this investigation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Concerned Citizen Tip Leads to Drug Arrest

August 14, 2018

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division and Criminal Investigations Division responded to the area of Williston Highlands near the Williston Golf Course on August 10th to citizen complaints of suspicious activity. Citizens saw what they believed were drug transactions occurring in their neighborhood in the late evening hours and were able to provide deputies with vehicle descriptions and tag numbers. 

Patrol Deputy Kellie Ward and CID Investigator Justin VanDuren teamed up and stopped one of the described vehicles. The driver, identified as Mandy Sears (8-2-78) of Williston was found to be driving a vehicle with the wrong tag on it. Her driver’s license had also been suspended. Sears cooperated during the traffic stop and deputies located crack cocaine and Molly hidden in the vehicle. 

Sears was arrested and charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of a controlled substance (Molly), driving while license suspended or revoked and attaching a tag not assigned to a vehicle. She was booked in at the Levy County Detention Bureau where she is being held on a $35,000.00 bond.