Category Archives: Cape Coral / Southwest Florida

Karey Woolsey Seeking Commutation of Sentence

  • Woolsey was given 13 years in Federal Prison for Marijuana Trafficking and some related charges
  • There is a change.org petition encouraging his sentence be commuted by the Obama administration

We covered the case of Karey Lee Woolsey when he released an album while serving prison time for marijuana charges, and related witness tampering and money laundering charges. He took a plea and was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison, as opposed to risking even more time if he lost at trial. Woolsey is now hoping that changing attitudes regarding marijuana might convince the current presidential administration that such a lengthy sentence isn’t warranted for marijuana related charges.His mother is running a signature petition on change.org. At this time, Federal law still prohibits any possession of marijuana, so it’s not a case of a change in the laws under which he was sentenced. Still, the president has the power to commute a sentence, and AG Eric Holder has been making moves to reduce sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

Also, it appears Woolsey is releasing a new single for free next week, links for that and the petition are in the News Press story: http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/cape-coral/2014/04/17/musician-wants-sentence-tune-crime/7804625/

More on the Ashley Toye Sentence Being Overturned

 

Ashley Toye

Ashley Toye mug shot

NBC-2 has posted a story with some more details tonight, as does the News-Press. 

You can read the appellate opinion yourself on the 2nd DCA website. The court essentially said the other rulings about juvenile sentencing should apply retroactively, which means Toye is entitled to a resentencing hearing. It doesn’t mean she will be getting out of prison any time soon, but it likely means her life sentence will be reduced.

Ashley Toye’s Life Sentence Overturned

According to Wink news, Ashley Toye’s life sentence has been overturned. Toye was convicted of first degree murder for her involvement in the Cash Feenz murders. Her sentence was challenged when the Supreme Court ruled that automatic life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional. We’ll have more on Crimcourts soon.

Andrew Castor Guilty of 1st Degree Murder

After a week of jury selection and 3 days of evidence presentation, Andrew Castor has been found guilty of first degree murder of his neighbor. He had admitted to the stabbing, but claimed insanity at trial. The state is seeking the death penalty, and will be seeking a recommendation from the jury.

Evidence Presentation has Started in Andrew Castor Murder Trial

Andrew Castor

Andrew Castor

The jury was selected last week, and the state began presenting evidence in the case, today. Andrew Castor is facing the death penalty for the 2008 stabbing of his neighbor, Bianca Meza.

Greg Eagle Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

Cape Coral real estate developer Greg Eagle was sentenced to 6 years in Federal Prison, followed by 5 years of supervision after his release from custody. There will also be a restitution hearing at a later date to determine the amounts owed and which victims should receive restitution payments. There was some repayment made previously to some victims. Eagle previously pled to 6 counts related to falsifications he made on bank documents, claiming he was the owner of a property that he was really a trustee for. He faced up to 30 years on each count. I haven’t heard what the court ultimately decided should be his guideline sentence range, but due to the $17 million dollar amount in question, and the number of victims, it was likely substantially higher. It sounds like his attorney at the Wilbur Smith firm did a good job of getting him a departure sentence below the guidelines, in spite of the earlier difference of opinion. Eagle has a few weeks to turn himself in to begin his sentence.

Cape Coral Death Penalty Case Starts Trial Today

Andrew Castor

Andrew Castor

Today begins the trial of Andrew Castor, charged with premeditated murder of his neighbor, Bianca Meza. The killing occurred in 2008, and the case has seen delays for witness availability issues and mental capacity questions. Jury selection begins today, and the state has previously filed a notice to seek the death penalty.  Castor allegedly admitted to the killing.

Greg Eagle Update : UPDATE

Greg Eagle was to be sentenced today for his plea to fraud charges in a land deal he brokered. He is facing 30 years on 6 counts he plead to. However, today he is requesting that his plea be withdrawn, as he wants to fight the case. His defense team is arguing that new information revealed in a different case, in New York, have led him to rethink his plea. Normally, it is difficult to withdraw a plea, and requires some significant change in circumstances. This new information may be sufficient to convince the court to allow him to withdraw. If he does, the case will be in a trial posture, but will be many months before any resolution is worked out, especially if it goes to trial. The dozens of people, many elderly, who lost their life saving when Mr. Eagle completed the deal will likely be disappointed if the case is not resolved today, or by plea.

In the meantime, Eagle’s realty license remains active, and he is still listed on the company website, http://www.eaglerealtyflorida.com/ , where “satisfaction soars”.

UPDATE: The judge will rule on the motion to withdraw plea next month.

Cape Coral Broker’s Federal Sentencing Delayed Again

Former Cape Coral real estate broker Greg Eagle, who has already admitted to the fraud charges he is facing in Federal court, got another reprieve on his sentencing. Originally set in July, it was reset for Monday, but it has been continued again, to November 12. It is not unusual for such sentencings to be continued in Federal court, especially on such large and complex financial cases. The continuance can still be seen as a victory for the Defense, as Eagle is facing a potentially long prison sentence, that could put him away fro the rest of his life. The News-Press article has a good summary of the case.

Cape Coral Arson Conviction Overturned on Appeal

The Court of Appeal for the Second District of Florida ruled Friday that the arson and defrauding an insurer convictions for a Cape Coral man should be overturned. Jesus Perez was convicted in Lee County after a fire burned his house down. The case was circumstantial: while there was no doubt a fire occurred, there was no direct evidence that Perez started the fire. The Second District simply found that the evidence simply did not show that he started the fire, much less that he did so intentionally. While one of the samples taken by investigators showed the possibility of gasoline, the control sample also showed the same, which indicates that both were contaminated.

Jesus Ventura Perez

Jesus Ventura Perez

How did Mr. Perez end up being convicted, and sentenced to prison, on such thin evidence. The reality of the system is that while defendants are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, the assumption often works against them. Perez had no way to prove how the fire started. Juries often want to give the state and its investigators the benefit of the doubt. As a society, we want to have faith in the those who are supposed to protect and serve. Unfortunately, that often means the presumption of innocence is more of a nice idea, than a reality. Fortunately for Mr. Perez, the appellate system granted relief in the end.

The State can ask for a rehearing, or appeal the case to the Florida Supreme Court, but barring a major change, the conviction will be reversed. Mr. Perez has already served nearly two years in prison, but is will get him out earlier, and he will not have to serve the 10 years of probation that had been ordered to follow his incarceration. That’s a big win for my friends at Brown, Suarez & Rios, who handled the appeal.