Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

gun.jpgFollowing an altercation at a teen party at Club Menage in Jacksonville, Florida, three juveniles were shot – one fatally. According to Lt. Larry Schmitt, two of the victims were female. One female was treated and released at the scene while the other was transported to Shands Jacksonville with non-life threatening injuries. The other victim, who was fatally shot, was a male.

The shots were the result of an altercation outside Club Menage, a club that hosts teen parties for teenagers between the ages of 13 to 18. According to Schmitt, it appeared the boy who was fatally shot was involved in the altercation that continued outside of the club. The boys fatality becomes at least the 70th recorded homicide in Jacksonville, Florida (Duval County) for the year. If you would like to read more on this story please see 3 juveniles shot, one fatally, outside of Jacksonville, Florida club.

This boy’s death is a tragedy for his family and community. A person who has killed or seriously injured another minor destroys two lives – the victim’s and his or her own life. Parents and guardians should teach their child that violence is never the answer.


On September 7, 2010 at Dr. Phillips High School in Florida, a 15-year-old student claimed that a group of football players beat him up in a locker room. One of the students, whose name will not be released due to student privacy laws, was suspended for 10 days. The suspension was upheld on appeal. Matthew J. Olszewski, one of the lawyers representing the disciplined student, said his client was being made a scapegoat in the alleged hazing incident. Olszewski said he would take discussions to the next level, which may involve the Orange County School Board. The parents of the alleged victim have threatened to sue the school district. If you would like to read more on this story please see Alleged hazing incident by high school football players at Dr. Phillips High School.

Hazing is a term used to describe various ritual and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation as a means of a way of initiating someone into a group. Hazing, over the years, has been popular in colleges and universities when a pledge was being initiated into his or her fraternity or sorority. Hazing has been declared an illegal activity in many schools, colleges and universities. Teachers and other authoritative figures should make their students aware of the dangers of hazing, focusing on both the mental and physical consequences of the act.


Heather Lovett, a 21-year-old woman of Bradenton, Florida and owner of Our Kids Home Daycare was arrested and charged with child neglect after a toddler in her care had to be rushed the the emergency room. The 22-month-old toddler had bruises all over her body, including her head, face and neck as well as dried blood in her ears. According to a police report, the toddler also had injuries consistent with a sexual assault.

Lovett told police that her boyfriend’s 13-year-old son was at the daycare during the time the toddler incurred the injuries. When detectives confronted the teenage boy, he gave them numerous accounts as to what happened to the toddler. Eventually, detectives say the teenager admitted to “losing control” and punching the toddler at least 20 times in the face and body. The boy said he became enraged after the toddler threw a golf ball at his face. The 13-year-old did not admit to any sexual abuse. He was charged with aggravated child abuse, but could face additional charges.

This is not the first time the police have responded to a complaint at Lovett’s daycare. In June 2010, detectives investigated a claim of child molestation at the daycare after a 3-year-old boy said he was abused. According to a police report, the suspect in that investigation was a 15-year-old boy and brother of the 13-year-old arrested in this case. Investigators said, the 15-year-old denied the allegations against him.

Each criminal defense in this case has a right to a lawyer and speedy trial. If you would like to read more about this story see Teenager accused of abusing a 2-month-old toddler at Bradenton, Florida daycare facility.
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In Mulberry, Florida,a man (Aaron Neal) was arrested for allegations involving the punching of a child in the face. The case was investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The criminal incident apparently was witnessed by others. The child suffered personal injuries to the head and ear. Neal was charged with aggravated child abuse and child cruelty. See Man Punches 7 Year Old Child Causing Personal Injuries.

Children should not be subjected to assaults and other violent acts that cause or could cause serious personal injuries.

Sports%20Karate%20Child%20Safety.jpgIn Florida, children engage in sports activities every day. There are thousands of dedicated coaches and volunteers in youth sports in Florida. These coaches provide hours of instruction, coaching, and mentoring to children every week. The majority of coaches are caring individuals who have the child’s best interest in mind. There are some coaches out there who prey on children or otherwise ignore the needs and best interests of children. In some cases, the child suffers serious personal injuries as well as psychological injuries when a coach fails to provide adequate supervision or when the coach himself or herself actually preys on the child and engaging in illegal and inappropriate sexual molestation and assault of the child.

In Osceola County, Florida, a martial arts instructor (John Durinick) is accused of molesting / assaulting / raping a former student. Mr. Durinick was arrested on charges involving a 14 year old girl. The allegations are that Durinick attacked the girl at the John Emmons Tae Kwon Do Martial Arts Studio in 2008. This case is interesting in that the accusations are against a person trained and skilled in subduing another person. Mr. Durinick will be entitled to defend himself against these criminal accusations by a Florida criminal defense lawyer / attorney. Prosecutors and the public defender / private criminal defense counsel will argue over the testimony and evidence presented on this matter. See Former Osceola martial-arts instructor accused of raping 14-year-old girl.

While background checks would not prevent every incidents from happening, background checks are a valuable action to take to insure that those with a known criminal history are kept away from children. It is also important for parents to attend all practices and games / matches of their children. Of course, this is not practical for every parent or every practice; however, active parent participation can help prevent incidents from taking place.


Shaken Baby Syndrome injuries can last a lifetime and even result in the death of a child immediately. In some cases, the child survives only to live a life challenged by brain damage resulting from Shaken Baby Syndrome. In the case of Christina Welch, she survived for 19 years with severe brain damage from being shaken by her father when she was just two months ago. When she died, an autopsy determined that Christina died from complications from severe brain damage / Shaken Baby Syndrome. Thereafter, the father was charged with her death. He later pled no contest to charges of Second Degree Murder and was issued a 15 year prison sentence. The father initially (19 years ago) received a 1 year prison term. When Christina died, the case was re-opened and charges were brought for her wrongful death.

Parents, child care providers, teachers, and others involved with the supervision and care of children should pay close attention to stories like this one. One bad act or incident can lead to years of disability and suffering by a child. You can read more about this story at Father Guilty Again When Child Dies Two Decades Later.

baby%20infant%20toddler%20white%20flowered%20girl%20shoes.jpgBabies continue to suffer serious personal injuries as a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Parents, caregivers, baby sitters, day care providers, and child care providers should never shake a baby as a form of discipline or as a measure to quiet a child. It is well known by pediatricians, neurologists, and other medical providers that shaking a baby can result in a serious child personal injury including:

*traumatic brain injury;

*brain swelling;


A former teacher at Cocoa Beach Junior / Senior High School was sentenced to a 50 year prison term for criminal charges involving child pornography. The defendant, Berne Schmidlkofer – age 65 – pleaded guilty to the charged that involved the production and distribution of child pornography involving a 6 year old child. The arrest was made after a tip was provided to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is quite frightening that just a few years ago that this man was teaching our children and serving as an apparent role model for children. You can read more about this story at Former Teacher Receives 50 Year Prison Term.

Gun.jpgSixteen year old high school student Tiphne Hollis was a sophomore at Ed White High School in Jacksonville Florida. She died after being shot while travelling through the area of Stockton Street north of Interstate 10 in a car full of other young girls.

Tiphne’s cousin reported that she and some other young ladies had been shopping together earlier in the day, and decided to go see a friend in what is considered a rough area of Jacksonville. The girls were driving down the street in an old police car with tinted windows when they heard a shot, followed by several more. Tiphne collapsed into her sister’s lap, and was pronounced dead at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center sometime later.

Tiphne’s family is shocked by her sudden death, saying that she was a peaceful and loving young woman who held a part-time job at a local daycare and had aspirations to attend college and become a real estate agent. Tiphne’s mother, Shanda, said the incident is like a nightmare from which she cannot wake up. Tiphne’s grandmother, Wynoma, is “stunned” by the violence in certain neighborhoods of Jacksonville. Tiphne’s mother agreed, saying she hoped her daughter’s death could serve as a wake-up call for residents to come together and stop crime.

Gun.jpgAfter an hour of deliberation, the jury in the DreShawna Davis murder trial returned an 8-4 verdict in favor of the death penalty for Rasheem DuBose, who had been found guilty of the girl’s murder. A separate jury recommended life sentences for his two younger brothers, who were involved in the fatal shooting. The judge in their case agreed with the jury’s recommendations. While Florida judges tend to follow jury recommendations, Dubose’s lawyer plans to argue for a lesser sentence of life in prison for his client.

According to court records, Dubose and his two brothers, Tajuane and Terrell, fired twenty nine shots into DreShawna Davis’ house in retaliation for her uncle trying to rob DuBose and force his pants down in public. Rasheem was found to have fired twenty three of the shots, including the one that killed DreShawna as she shielded her two younger cousins from the gunfire with her body.

The murder was just one in a series that have earned Jacksonville the dubious distinction of having the highest murder rate of any city in the state. Prosecutors hope the verdict sends a message to other would-be murderers that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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