Law and public safety

Driver accused of crashing into patrol cars during fast chase, punching police dog

A 23-year-old man is facing charges after deputies say he fled and eluded police after speeding on Archer Road, resisted arrest and punched a K-9. Matthew Cornish was driving 90 mph in a 45 mph zone on Sunday morning when he led police on a high-speed chase. He crashed into two police cars trying to get away and drove through a front yard causing $2,000 in damages. After eluding police multiple times, he crashed into a tree, and his truck rolled over. Deputies caught up to him at the 5300 block of Southwest 70th Terrace. When deputies searched his car, they found a bag of marijunana and two bags containing almost 7 grams of cocaine. He is being charged with eight offenses, including aggravated assault on law enforcement, marijuana and cocaine possession, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and hitting a police dog.

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Grand jury indicts man on murder charge in shooting at apartment complex

A grand jury on Monday indicted 35-year-old Michael Gregory Davis of Gainesville on charges of premeditated murder in the death of Calvin Leon Woodard Jr. Davis will face arraignment and trial at a later date. Alachua County Sheriff’s officers responded to reports of a man shot at an apartment complex near the Oaks Mall in June. Deputies found Woodard at the scene with a gunshot wound to the chest. He later died from his injury. Davis also had his phone privileges revoked at the Alachua County jail due to an open felony obstruction of justice case, in which he attempted to tell witnesses from the homicide investigation to retract their statements. Davis is scheduled for case management on Nov. 15 for the premeditated murder of Woodard.

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National initiative turns to the arts in Gainesville to address youth gun violence

Gainesville and eight other U.S. cities have joined a national initiative called One Nation/One Project that uses the arts to improve community well-being. Each city selects an issue for the focus of the project. The Gainesville City Commission recognized youth gun violence as its local issue. The commission said it has allocated 2% – or $648,172 – of American Rescue Plan Act money to fund the project, which will address youth violence through arts and culture interventions.

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Two men arrested on charges related to running a human sex trafficking business in a Gainesville group home

Two men were arrested Tuesday and accused of running a human sex trafficking business in a Gainesville group home. The arrests happened at a Gate gas station on 3001 NW 13th Street at 4 p.m. The suspects' identities were confirmed as 20-year-old Kevarius Nyrtell King and 25-year-old Justin Terrel Hoyt. The victim was living in the Safe Hands Group Home, a housing service partnered with homeless shelters and co-owned by King since a little less than a year ago. The two men forced the victim into multiple sexual acts, sometimes without her consent, with dozens of men in the group home. Police were able to report the crime as the victim had told the staff at the Tower Road Branch Library that she was a victim of human trafficking and to alert the authorities. Through a search warrant of the group home, police were able to confirm the identities of King and Hoyt and later arrest and charge them with human sex trafficking. King and Hoyt are currently booked in the Alachua County Jail, each with release bonds set at $250,000.

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Prosecutors drop charges against teen accused in high school bomb threat

Alachua Courthouse, Courthouse

Prosecutors in Gainesville have dropped a highly publicized felony criminal case against a teenager they accused of sending a bomb threat to his high school last year. They said they could not determine who was at the keyboard of the laptop used to send the threatening message. The case involved 17-year-old Reginald Javon Copeland Jr., who was among several students accused of sending multiple bomb threats over a week’s time to Eastside High last year. The decision to drop the case against the teen came last week in Alachua County Circuit Court, nearly a year after Copeland was initially arrested.

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Alachua County makes history with approval of equitable criminal sentencing technology

Alachua County made the joint-effort of state attorney Brian Kramer and public defender Stacy Scott a historic reality: Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit will become Florida’s first judicial circuit to integrate equitable sentencing software as an official part of its case management system and plea-bargaining process. Roughly 95% of cases are settled in plea negotiations. Known as the Equity in Sentencing Analysis System (ESAS), this fairly new software provides legal practitioners with a searchable database of statewide sentencing data from the Florida Department of Corrections going back to 1998.

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Cape Coral residents deal with limited food and water supplies after Hurricane Ian devastated the area

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Those impacted by Hurricane Ian on the Gulf Coast were hit hard by flooding and other storm damage, now they’re also facing the prospect of dwindling food and water supplies. The Lee County government announced Saturday that they have opened 8 Points of Distribution (PODS) where residents …

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