Dramatic Footage Released from Waffle House Shooting in Fort Myers

Dakota Fields, the deceased

Dakota Fields, the deceased

Yesterday the State Attorney’s Office released the surveillance video from the Waffle House shooting in Fort Myers a few months ago. The video clearly shows Dakota Fields rush the door to attack Jehrardd Williams, who was standing inside with a firearm. Fields died in his friend’s vehicle after an accident as they were trying to get him to the hospital.

The legal issue at the case, which is a clear instance of self-defense, was the level of force justified. Mr. Williams used deadly force to defend himself, but there was no indication that Fields, or his friends, were armed. Does the Stand Your Ground law permit someone to used deadly force (discharge of a firearm is always deadly force in Florida), against someone who is unarmed? It can. It’s a case by case basis: deadly force is permissible if a person reasonably believes they are in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm. [emphasis mine] The State decided that in this case, it could not prove otherwise beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.

Local reporter Stacey Deffenbaugh  asked me Thursday, after the manslaughter verdict in a another stand your ground case, how many stand your ground trials had occurred since the law passed in 2005. There’s no way of knowing for sure, as not all cases are murders. Further a lot of the cases not only don’t go to trial, but do not get filed on because the prosecutors recognize the difficulty of proof.

Also, don’t start fights at Waffle House.

Here’s the Waffle House story and footage at the News-Press.

The Best Thing on the Internet Today is the Sex on the Beach Trial in Bradenton

Follow the full live tweet with Bradenton.com’s Kate Irby: 

So far Grandma, and Great-Grandma have testified to the incident, and that their young grandchildren saw it. Because young children are alleged victims, the charges are felonies. That means the defendants could be facing prison time, felony convictions, and possibly sex offender designations. The testimony so far is engrossing…

Earlier: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/sex-on-the-beach-isnt-a-drink-in-bradenton/

Bradenton Sex on the Beach Case is in Trial

Video of Sex on the Beach

Video of Sex on the Beach

Trial is underway for the couple charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition for allegedly having sex on a Bradenton Beach a few months back. Salacious!

http://www.bradenton.com/2015/05/01/5775622/couple-charged-with-having-sex.html

The Real Billy Retherford and Dustin Jaye

Deadly Sins dealt with 2 Fort Myers stories tonight. I’m always curious about whether the actors in the reenactment look anything like the real people. In this case, not too much. I will say, the real Billy Ray Retherford and Dustin Jaye are/were a lot scarier looking than their TV counterparts:

Billy Ray Rertherford's last booking photo

Billy Ray Rertherford’s last booking photo

Dustin Jaye booking photo

Dustin Jaye booking photo

  • And some of the other players in the story:
Allison Jaye booking photo

Allison Jaye booking photo

Allison Jaye had to be brought back from prison to testify in the trial.

  • She actually did go through a blond phase when younger:
Allison Jaye earlier booking

Allison Jaye earlier booking

  • And Allison’s friend, Sarah Grenier has also been in trouble with the law:
Sarah Grenier booking photo

Sarah Grenier booking photo

  • And the innocent victim of the crime, from a photo Naples News found on Facebook:
Debra Striano (Facebook)

Debra Striano (Facebook)

Russell Myers, speaking after the incident

Russell Myers, speaking after the incident

Greg Imhoff, killed by Billy Retherford

Greg Imhoff, killed by Billy Retherford

Also, here’s Billy Ray Retherford’s last prison release photo. Both he and Jaye had gotten out of prison not long before. As such, they would have been classified as Prison Releasee Reoffenders, meaning that they were facing mandatory sentences of life in prison. Life is also mandatory in Florida for a First Degree Murder such as this. Jaye was sentenced to life after trial, in spite of being defended by experienced attorney Ed Kelly. His appeal is still pending.

Billy Retherford (prison photo)

Billy Retherford (prison photo)

The other story on Deadly Sins tonight was the Fred Cooper murder, known locally as the Gateway case. Here is Fred Dewitt Cooper’s Booking Photo on that case:

Fred Cooper Booking Photo

Fred Cooper Booking Photo

Fred Cooper was convicted at trial for killing Steven and Michelle Andrews. He was tried twice, the first trial in 2008 ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury. The trial was then moved to a different venue, because it came out that the jury as been influenced by the extensive local media coverage. The second trial was conducted in 2009 in the Tampa area. Cooper was convicted of First Degree Murder, and the State sought the death penalty. The jury only recommended life in prison, and he was given three life sentences. Cooper had been to prison before, but not for violence, and had stayed out of trouble for 10 years before these brutal killings. Cooper’s conviction was upheld on appeal. His motion for post-conviction relief was denied, and that decision is currently on appeal. Here’s a more recent photo:

Fred Cooper in 2014

Fred Cooper in 2014

The Fort Myers Episode of Deadly Sins Airs at 9:00 pm on Investigation Discovery

The Delirium in Paradise episode of Deadly Sins is about to air, featuring 2 Fort Myers area cases, and several Southwest Floridians talking about the story, including yours truly. Tune in to hear about the Gateway Murder by Fred Cooper, and the murders of Dustin Jaye and Billy Ray Retherford in San Carlos Park. I’m a commentator on the latter story.

UPDATE: Here’s the follow-up post on the cases: http://wp.me/p2xg12-MN

Locally, channels 387 and 111 (on Xfinity). Here’s the preview teaser:

Russell’s Fanny Pack is Real

Russell Myers in the Deadly Sins Reenactment

Russell Myers in the Deadly Sins Reenactment

Several people who watched the preview teaser for tonight’s ‘Deadly Sins’ episode, got a kick out of the fanny pack worn by Russell Myers. There really was a fanny pack, and it turns out to be a key piece of evidence in the crime. The pack, with blood droplets and deposit slips in Myer’s and Ms. Striano’s name was found in killer Billy Retherford’s bedroom during the investigation!

UPDATE: Here’s the follow-up post on the cases: http://wp.me/p2xg12-MN

Check out the Teaser for the Fort Myers Episode of Deadly Sins (airing tonight)

Investigation Discovery has a preview of tonight’s episode from Fort Myers, “Sunshine State of Delirium” It’s on at 9:00 pm on Investigation Discovery, Chan. 111 or 387 on Comcast Xfinity in Fort Myers. Check it out, I’m on it! The episode deals with the Gateway murder (Fred Cooper) and the cases of Dustin Jaye and Billy Retherford, who killed Debbie Striano.

http://www.investigationdiscovery.com/tv-shows/deadly-sins/husbands-escort-obsession-turns-deadly/

Attorney Spencer Cordell on

Attorney Spencer Cordell on “Deadly Sins”