PBSO deputy’s daughter to undergo mental evaluation before trial

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s daughter charged with accessory after the fact in a 2015 homicide case will undergo a mental evaluation per her attorney’s request.

On Wednesday, Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer granted attorney Michael Salnick’s motion for 18-year-old Kaitlyn Tucciarone to be assessed while she awaits trial.

“I’m interested to know the results of mental health going forward,” the judge said.

On Aug. 28, Tucciarone told investigators she watched her then-boyfriend Mike Cadet shoot Michael Sears, a 31-year-old father of three, then helped him dispose of the body. Sheriff’s deputies said she messaged friends asking them how they should get rid of the body before she and Sears dumped it in a retention pond, according to authorities.

In his motion, Salnick wrote he has “reasonable belief” his client needs to be evaluated by a forensic psychologist, but did not go into details. He wrote the 18-year-old is already receiving treatment for substance abuse since she was released on in-house arrest.

 Tucciarone’s father, Jason, was also arrested in 2015 for battery.

Ex-NFL player Preston Parker gets three years probation for drug charges

A former NFL player and Atlantic High School star who was arrested by Boca Raton police for possession of drugs in March pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday morning.

Preston Parker (right), a former FSU football player who played in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants, talks with attorney Jason Weiss before accepting a plea deal in Palm Beach County court on drugs and weapons charges Tuesday morning, June 28, 2016. Parker was sentenced to probation. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Preston Parker (right), a former FSU football player who played in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants, talks with attorney Jason Weiss before accepting a plea deal in Palm Beach County court on drugs and weapons charges Tuesday morning, June 28, 2016. Parker was sentenced to probation. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Preston Parker, 29, plead to possession of cocaine and paraphernalia and will be on probation for three years. Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer warned Parker if he violated his probation he could see up to 16 years in prison. Parker told the judge he plans to be back in the NFL.

“You’ve been given a lot of opportunities, this is your last chance,” she said. “I do hope you go back to NFL, but you need to do well on probation first.”

Parker, a Delray Beach resident, was arrested March 31 when police say he ran a stop sign then as police attempted to pull him over for a traffic stop, he was driving as slow as 5 mph along Interstate-95. Police found drugs and a gun, which he had a concealed permit for, in his possession. After his arrest and release in that case, he was arrest by Boynton Beach Police for possession of marijuana. That case remains open.

Parker was on the All-State first-team while at Atlantic High School, went to Florida State University on a scholarship then started his professional career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010 and joined the New York Giants in 2014. Parker was cut by the Giants in September.

Man police say raped girl, 15, on New Year’s Eve pleads to lesser charges

A 32-year-old man who Boynton Beach police said raped a 15-year-old girl after giving her alcohol on New Year’s Eve pleaded to lesser charges Monday afternoon.

Fabian Rubio pleaded guilty to one count of battery on a child after initially being charged with sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The state dropped the delinquency charges Monday.

Fabian Rubio
Fabian Rubio

Rubio will be on probation for three years, cannot have contact with the teen involved in the case or any minors and must submit to a substance abuse evaluation. He will not be registered as a sex offender because his charges were reduced.

On Dec. 31, 2015, Rubio and the 15 year old girl were at several parties for New Year’s Eve, according to police. The teen told investigators Rubio gave her tequila and other alcoholic beverages throughout the night. She said later in the night Rubio took off her clothing and forced himself on her as she allegedly said “No, no, no,”  according to the police report.  When brought in by the police, Rubio admitted he had sex with the girl without a condom but told them he thought she was 17-years-old, not 15-years-old.

Before they reached the plea in the afternoon, both Rubio’s attorney, Marc Shiner, and Assistant State Attorney Justin Hoover went forward with motions Monday morning before Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jack Cox believing they would go to trial.

 

Ex-WPB employee who made bomb threats, set car on fire can step outside

The former West Palm Beach employee who police say set his car on fire and made a bomb threat against the city was given permission to have a little more space while he awaits trial on house arrest.

In court Monday, Judge Charles Burton granted part of Douglas Ellington’s motion to be able to work outside his home but still within the fenced property to do things like mow the lawn and get ready for hurricane season.

Douglas Ellington
Douglas Ellington

But, Burton denied the other part of his attorney’s motion to lift the 24/7 adult-supervision condition. Ellington’s public defender, Ilana Marcus, wrote the supervision has caused “hardship upon his family,” but she did not go into details.

“Mr. Ellington, hang in there,” Burton said.

On Feb. 29, Ellington drove his car to the West Palm Beach water management site on Roebuck Road near Florida’s Turnpike and set his car on fire, according to city police. As the 52-year-old left, he stopped an employee, told him to get out of his truck and placed what he claimed was a bomb on his car, police said. The state attorney said the “fake bomb” was just one step away from being functional. Investigators also discovered Ellington had researched how to build bombs online.

Around the same time, Ellington was arrested for making bomb threats against the city of Riviera Beach. The state did not file charges in that case.

Since he was placed on house arrest, Ellington has been treated by Veterans Affairs Medical Center, as part of the conditions of his release. In court, Marcus mentioned Ellington was declared competent to stand trial in June

Ellington’s trial date is set for Oct. 26.

Supreme Court throws out Texas abortion law, impact in Florida expected

The U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-3 vote, on Monday threw out a Texas abortion law that opponents claimed was an end-run around the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman’s right to choose.

The United States Supreme Court. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The United States Supreme Court. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The decision is expected to have an impact on efforts in Florida to stop a restrictive abortion law from taking effect July 1. At a hearing Wednesday in Tallahassee, Planned Parenthood affiliates statewide will ask U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to issue an injunction, blocking the implementation of the measure that stripped funding from chapters throughout the state and, they claim, increased the state’s control over abortion.

Click here to read decision.

In today’s much-anticipated decision, the nation’s high court ruled that the Texas abortion law created an undue burden on women seeking to exercise their constitutional rights.

The measure required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and required clinics to meet the same standards as outpatient surgical centers. Less than a dozen clinics, mostly in urban parts of the state, could meet the requirements, leaving tens of thousands of Texas women without access to reproductive health care, opponents said. Supporters claimed it was to keep women safe.

“We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in an opinion joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.

In Breyer’s majority opinion, he noted that the law purported to cure an ill that didn’t exist. Quoting from a lower court decision, he wrote: “The great weight of evidence demonstrates that, before the act’s passage, abortion in Texas was extremely safe with particularly low rates of serious complications and virtually no deaths occurring on account of the procedure.”

Ginsburg, in a separate concurring opinion, underscored statements from the American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that called abortion “one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States.”

To hinder access to it, as the Texas law sought to do in the guise of protecting women, would endanger women instead, she wrote. “When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in
desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux,  at great risk to their health and safety,” she wrote.

Denouncing the ruling, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, disagreed. “Abortion claims the lives of unborn children, and too often endangers their mothers, as well,” Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications for the Catholic bishops said in a statement. “This ruling contradicts the consensus among medical groups that such measures protect women’s lives.”

In a dissent, Thomas said the high court has once again rewritten the constitution to allow abortion clinics to thrive, unchecked. “I write separately to emphasize how today’s decision perpetuates the Court’s habit of applying different rules to different constitutional rights — especially the putative right to abortion,” he wrote.

West Palm Beach civil rights attorney Jim Green, who is representing Planned Parenthood in its battle to overturn Florida’s recently-passed abortion law, said the “undue burden” test that sunk the Texas law will play a key role in his arguments Wednesday to Hinkle.

“The question is, are these restrictions necessary, and the court held that they obviously weren’t,” he said. That decision could bolster his position that Florida’s law is yet another attack on women’s reproductive freedoms.

Florida’s law cut federal funding Planned Parenthood received through the state for non-abortion services, changed the definition of gestation and gave state workers the right to inspect at least 50 percent of medical records at abortion clinics. None of the provisions make women safer, Green said.

They simply create confusion, uncertainty and invade women’s privacy as part of efforts to make it more difficult for women to get abortions, he said.

In court papers, state officials disagreed. They claim Planned Parenthood has no constitutional right to government money. Further, they said, they always had the right to inspect patient records. The  definition of trimesters was changed to clarify, not obfuscate, they said.

Florida officials weren’t immediately available for comment on what effect, if any, the high court’s decision would have on the state’s case.

Check back for further updates.

 

Accused fake teen doc gets a new lawyer and new trial date

Malachi Love-Robinson, a 19-year-old accused of practicing medicine without a license, got a new lawyer and a new trial date on Thursday.

Malachi Love-Robinson
Malachi Love-Robinson leaves court after a hearing Thursday morning, June 23, 2016. Malachi Love Robinson, the teen arrested earlier this year for allegedly impersonating a doctor, now has a new attorney and a new trial date. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Since attorney Leonard Feuer is new to the case, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx agreed to move Love-Robinson’s trial from July 18 to Sept. 6. But, she said, she wants no further delays. Because of the age of some of the alleged victims she said it’s imperative that the case be brought to trial quickly.

Love-Robinson, who attracted national attention and earned the moniker, “Dr. Love,” after his arrest in February on charges that he masqueraded as a physician, is also charged with stealing large sums of money from two elderly women.

While he was in court with his new attorney, he did not address Marx or reporters. He fired his former attorney on Monday and Marx gave him three days to hire a new one.

He has said he never pretended to be a medical doctor. He said he called himself a doctor because he earned a doctoral degree from the Universal Life Church Seminary, an online institution, according to documents released by the Florida Department of Health. According to the seminary’s website, anyone can buy a doctorate in divinity for $29.95.

He was arrested at his West Palm Beach holistic medicine practice. He rejected a plea deal that would send him to prison for three years. Prosecutors said the deal is still on the table.

Previous coverage

Teen in fake doctor case fires lawyer, gets 3 days to find new one

Teen who faked being a doctor offered deal for three years in prison

Judge orders mental health assessment for teen ‘doctor’

Teen ‘doctor’ case: State found fake degrees during probe

Teen accused of posing as doctor butt of ‘Today’ show jokes, walks out on ABC interview

Post exclusive: Teen ‘doctor’ denies all fraud accusations

PBSO: Teen arrested for pretending to be doctor in West Palm Beach

Lake Worth man, serving a 270-year sentence, wins chance for freedom

A Lake Worth man who is serving a 270-year sentence for a series of violent home invasion robberies he committed when he was 17 will benefit from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that juvenile offenders must be given hope that they may one day live outside prison walls.

Ramon Rosario (Florida Department of Corrections)
Ramon Rosario (Florida Department of Corrections)

Ramon Rosario, who was implicated in the 2010 murders of two clerks at a Circle K in Greenacres, wasn’t handed a life term that the high court declared unconstitutional for juveniles, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath said at a brief hearing on Wednesday.

But the total sentence Rosario received after pleading guilty to 15 charges, including racketeering, home invasion robbery with a firearm and kidnapping with a firearm, is what courts have called the “functional equivalent” of a life sentence with no chance for parole, he said. Rosario’s scheduled release date is 2280.

Under two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions that means Rosario must receive a new sentence, Colbath said. Rosario, now 23,  is to return to court on July 7 after a new attorney is appointed to represent him.

While the Supreme Court said juveniles are amenable to rehabilitation and therefore must be given a chance at some point to show they can return to society, the justices didn’t provide much guidance to states, like Florida, which outlawed parole years ago, Colbath said. He urged Assistant State Attorney Andrew Slater to meet with Rosario’s new attorney and victims to craft a sentence that will pass constitutional muster.

Based on other rulings in similar cases, Rosario will be an old man if and when he is released.

Prosecutors said Rosario was part of a group, that called itself the “Headshot Committee,” that committed a spree of violent home robberies in the northern part of the county in May and June 2010. Their motto, police said, was “thuggin’ to get money.”

He was shot by a Boca Raton police officer after he pulled a gun on her when she attempted to stop a car on Spanish Isles Drive, records show. The driver of the car fled. Rosario identified the driver as Robert Alvarez.

Alvarez, along with Darnell Razz, was ultimately convicted of fatally shooting Circle K clerks Ralston Muller and Michael Dean Bennett in a botched robbery that netted the robbers $71.

Rosario at one point confessed that he murdered the convenience store clerks but refused to give details. As part of a plea deal, he agreed to testify against his former gang mates. When he refused, the 270-year sentence was imposed.

 

Accused fake teen doc fires lawyer; has three days to find a new one

Malachi Love-Robinson, a West Palm Beach teen accused of practicing medicine without a license, has until Thursday to hire a new lawyer after a judge on Monday said she has no intentions of delaying his trial set for next month.

Malachi Love-Robinson leaves court after a hearing Wednesday morning, April 20, 2016. The teen is accused of posing as a doctor, operating New Birth New Life Medical Center in West Palm Beach. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Malachi Love-Robinson leaves court after a hearing in April. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

“Throw a stone, you’ll hit 10 lawyers,” Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx told Love-Robinson while approving his request to fire his current lawyer but rejecting his request for 30 days to hire a new one.

Attorney Craig Lawson, who was in court, said Love-Robinson has contacted him about representing him on various charges, including practicing medicine and naturopathy without a license, forgery and identity theft. He is also accused of stealing $2,800 in checks from an elderly woman’s home.

“If he comes up with the money, I’ll represent him,” Lawson said. He said he has no worries about preparing for a July 18 trial date. “I’m a former prosecutor. I can be ready for trial in a heartbeat,” he said.

Marx ordered Love-Robinson to return to court Thursday with a new lawyer in tow.

Love-Robinson, 19, made national headlines when he was arrested in February after a narcotics task force raided his West Palm Beach alternative medicine practice. Favoring white lab coats, adorned with a stethoscope, investigators said he visited banks, walked hospital hallways and treated patients, pretending to  be a doctor.

He has disputed the allegations, claiming he never masqueraded as a medical doctor. He said he used the title “doctor” because he earned a doctoral degree from Universal Life Church Seminary, an online institution, according to documents released by the Florida Department of Health. According to the seminary’s website, anyone can buy a doctorate in divinity for $29.95, the same price as bachelor’s or a master’s of divinity degree.

Assistant State Attorney Michael Rachel in April offered Love-Robinson a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for three years. The deal, Rachel said, is still on the table. “It’s up to him,” he said.

Lawson said Love-Robinson has indicated he plans to go to trial.

In addition to criminal charges, Grieco Mazda of Delray Beach in April got a $5,300 judgment against him. According to court records, he gave the dealership an $1,800 check for a down payment on a $27,000 Mazda. The check was rejected by a bank for insufficient funds.

 

Nouman Raja, charged in Corey Jones death, pleads not guilty

Ex-officer Nouman Raja, charged with the shooting death of Corey Jones, enters court Thursday morning, June 2, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Ex-officer Nouman Raja, charged with the shooting death of Corey Jones, enters court Thursday morning, June 2, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Nouman Raja, the former Palm Beach Gardens officer charged in the death of drummer Corey Jones, has entered a written plea of not guilty to one charge each of attempted murder and manslaughter by culpable negligence.

In doing so, the 38-year-old has waived an arraignment scheduled for Tuesday, which would have marked his first court appearance since the day after Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced his arrest June 1.

» RELATED: Full coverage of the Corey Jones shooting

The next scheduled court date for Raja will be July 14 before Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer.

According to his arrest report, Raja, who was in plainclothes working a burglary detail, approached Jones in an unmarked police van while the drummer was on the line with roadside assistance trying to get his broken-down SUV towed from the exit ramp of Interstate 95 at PGA Blvd.

In their exchange, caught on an AT&T roadside assistance line, Raja asked Jones if he was “good,” several times before yelling at him to get his hands in the air and quickly firing the first three of what would be six shots.

Jones, 31, was shot through both his arms and once in his chest, which is the shot that killed him.

 

Angry outburst marks sentencing of Delray brothers in double murder

Before his father’s killers were sentenced to life in prison Friday, Reginald Taylor Jr. had to be removed from Palm Beach County Circuit Court for an outburst during the hearing.

The killers, two half brothers, received multiple life sentences Friday for their roles in the murders of two convenience store patrons in a violent Christmastime robbery four years ago.

Pasco Reynolds (left) and Travis Jackson
Pasco Reynolds (left) and Travis Jackson

Travis Jackson and Pasco Reylonds received the sentences in the deaths of 68-year-old Alfonso Hunter and 52-year-old Reginald Taylor.

In sentencing the two, Circuit Judge Charles Burton classified both as prison releasee reoffenders, which made them eligible for higher penalties.

The sentence came at the end of an emotional hearing where victim Reginald Taylor’s son had to be led from the courtroom and subdued by a group of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies after an angry outburst.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies try to calm Reginald Taylor Jr., right on the ground, and other family members outside Circuit judge Charles Burton's courtroom Friday June 10, 2016 at the Palm Beach Courthouse after an outburst during the sentencing of Travis Jackson and Pasco Reylonds who were changed with killing Reginald Taylor. (Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies try to calm Reginald Taylor Jr., right on the ground, and other family members outside Circuit judge Charles Burton’s courtroom Friday June 10, 2016 at the Palm Beach Courthouse after an outburst during the sentencing of Travis Jackson and Pasco Reylonds who were changed with killing Reginald Taylor. (Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies remove Reginald Taylor Jr. from Circuit judge Charles Burton's courtroom Friday June 10, 2016 at the Palm Beach Courthouse after an outburst during the sentencing of Travis Jackson and Pasco Reylonds who were changed with killing his father Reginald Taylor. (Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies remove Reginald Taylor Jr. from Circuit judge Charles Burton’s courtroom Friday June 10, 2016 at the Palm Beach Courthouse after an outburst during the sentencing of Travis Jackson and Pasco Reylonds who were changed with killing his father Reginald Taylor. (Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post)