Boca Raton nanny killer Jerry Wiggins dies in prison

The man serving a life sentence for a slew of crimes that included the 2004 rape and murder of a 26-year-old woman died in prison just before the Christmas holiday, prison records confirm.

Jerry Lee Wiggins, 40, was on Friday listed as deceased in the Florida Department of Corrections website. The site does not list a date of death, nor the circumstances of his death.

Jerry Lee Wiggins
Jerry Lee Wiggins

He is listed on the site as a “released” inmate, and the release date listed is Dec. 20.

Wiggins was convicted in October 2014 for the 2004 rape and murder of 26-year-old nanny Monica Rivera Valdizan. He was also serving a 15-year sentence for the 2003 rape of a Broward County girl and a total 90 years – 50 years for attempted murder and 40 years for armed burglary – for a 2003 home invasion robbery.

His attorneys in each trial argued that, with a severely low IQ and documented mental illnesses, that he was mentally unfit to stand trial.

A psychologist found Wiggins “marginally competent” during the nanny murder trial.

Lake Clarke Shores murder case ends with plea

Nicholas Agatheas DOC photo
Nicholas Agatheas DOC photo

A last-minute plea deal has ended what could have been a second trial in a Lake Clarke Shores murder case from more than a decade ago.

Nicholas Agatheas, 40, accepted an agreement Monday that will send him to prison for 22 years for the 2005 murder of Thomas Villano in Lake Clarke Shores.

The penalty is much lower than the life sentence he received in 2006 after his first trial in the case.

His attorneys and prosecutors reached the plea deal allowing him to plead guilty to a lesser second-degree murder charge before what was to have been his second trial in the case.

Villano found shot eight times inside his Lake Clarke Shores home.

At his first trial, prosecutors called to the stand Agatheas’ former girlfriend, who testified that he had admitted killing Villano shortly after they saw television coverage of his death.

The girlfriend testified Agatheas also told her he had left his T-shirt at the scene. Investigators found a discarded T-shirt in Villano’s ransacked home. Though investigators could not initially make a match, improved DNA technology years later linked Agatheas to the shirt.

In the new trial, Agatheas defense attorneys were expected to argue that because Agatheas worked for Villano’s small restaurant equipment company, the shirt could have been at Villano’s home after Agatheas did other work there.

Joseph Walker sentenced to life for murder of girlfriend’s brother

gavelTaking the life of his girlfriend’s disabled brother earned Joseph Walker a trip to spend the rest of his own life in prison, a judge decided Friday.

Circuit Judge Krista Marx sentenced the 22-year-old to life in prison in at the end of a short hearing that comes nearly a month after a jury convicted Walker of second-degree murder in the March 2013 stabbing death of 38-year-old Tyrone Richardson.

Prosecutors in his trial claimed that Walker killed Richardson in anger after Richardson told him to stop dating his sister, Rhandi.

Walker later claimed he stabbed Richardson in self-defense.

Walker’s relatives in letters to Marx on his behalf described him as a loving brother who doted on his nieces and nephews, helped his mother and had aspirations for a career as a physical therapist.

“Wrong place at the wrong time,” Walker’s uncle, Ellis Green, said about his nephew’s case. “He’s praying and the family is praying. I hope for the best. Not for the worst.”

At the time of his death, Richardson lived in an independent living facility. His sister had asked if she and Walker could stay with him on the night he was killed because Walker’s mother had kicked him out of the house and Walker had plans to move to Georgia the next day.

According to arrest reports, Richardson hesitated, asking his sister to call their parents and get their approval first.

Walker in 2014 was on probation, having been found guilty in December 16, 2011 of robbery with a firearm and dealing in stolen property.

VERDICT: Fort Pierce man GUILTY in death of Belle Glade man

gavelUPDATE 5:55 p.m.: A Palm Beach County found a Fort Pierce man guilty of first degree murder in the 2014 masked shooting death of a 24-year-old Belle Glade man.

The verdict for Jaycobby Dukes late Thursday came after more than eight hours of deliberation that began Wednesday.

Circuit Judge Laura Johnson moved forward with a sentencing hearing immediately after the verdict, and – with a life sentence mandatory based on his conviction – handed the 24-year-old Dukes a life in prison punishment.

 

ORIGINAL POST: A jury’s second day of deliberation is ongoing in the trial of a 24-year-old Fort Pierce man accused of donning a mask and executing an enemy two years ago in a Belle Glade shooting caught on camera.

Whether Jaycobby Dukes was the one who killed 24-year-old Lennard “Boe” Cobb, or whether it could have been Dukes’ younger brother is a question that defense attorney Franklin Prince claims provides enough reasonable doubt for jurors to acquit Dukes on a first-degree murder charge.

But Assistant State Attorneys Emily Walters and Andrew Slater in their closing arguments to jurors Wednesday said the evidence was clear that Dukes was the masked man who shot Cobb outside the M&M Food Market at 449 Avenue A on May 13, 2014.

After deliberating briefly Wednesday, the panel returned Thursday and asked Circuit judge Laura Johnson to review the testimonies of five witnesses. Three witnesses said Dukes confessed that he shot Cobb over a longstanding feud.

If convicted, Dukes, who has a previous conviction for aggravated assault, faces life in prison.

Jury to decide case of Fort Pierce man accused of Belle Glade murder

gavelA jury will soon begin deciding the case of a 24-year-old Fort Pierce man accused of settling an old beef with a fatal gunshot to his enemy’s head outside a Belle Glade grocery store two years ago.

Jaycobby Dukes has been on trial since last week in the May 13, 2014 shooting death of Lennard “Boe” Cobb, who himself was 24 when he was shot to death in a surprise attack on the south side of the M & M Food Market on 449 Avenue A.

Before closing arguments began in the case Wednesday, Dukes testified in his own defenses and denied shooting Cobb, whose family members say beat Dukes badly while both of them were behind bars in an escalation of an ongoing feud between members of their families.

Assistant State Attorney Ashleigh Walters told jurors afterward that there was a “mountain” of evidence implicating Dukes in the case, including the fact that he confessed to three separate people  – including a jailhouse informant – and was linked by DNA to sneakers that matched the shoes the killer was seen wearing in surveillance video.

Walters said even slight inconsistencies in witness testimony, including the fact that one witness said he saw Dukes with a gun before the shooting and another said he never saw a gun, made it all the more clear that Dukes was the killer.

“If all these people were going to come together, over a week and a half, and come here to lie to you to build a case against him, wouldn’t they have come up with a better lie,” Walters said.

But defense attorney Franklin Prince countered that the inconsistencies in the testimony were too big to ignore, portraying Dukes’ brother as the possible killer.

Prince also explained the fact that Dukes called a witness in the case Tuesday night to talk to her about her testimony as his interest in making sure the truth came out, knowing he planned to testify.

“He’s not a lawyer,” Prince said. “He just wanted to make sure she came in and tell the truth.”

Before Circuit Judge Laura Johnson sent jurors back to deliberate, Assistant State Attorney Andrew Slater told them “truth” was Dukes’ enemy.

Among his lies, he said, was calling a relative who is a law enforcement officer and claiming not to be in Belle Glade on the day of the murder, a statement he later recanted.

“He could’ve said: ‘Hey cuz, I was in Belle Glade and I know my name is ringing in the streets, but it wasn’t me.’ But he wasn’t interested in telling the truth so he told Big lie number 1,” Slater said.

Charges dropped against Gardens man accused of double murder

Prosecutors on Thursday abruptly dropped charges against a former Palm Beach Gardens man who was set to go to trial for the October 2015 shooting deaths of two men he once called his friends.

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Jury selection had already begun in Joshua Brown’s case Thursday, but court records show that at some point in the afternoon, Assistant State Attorney Lauren Godden and Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Ramsey had a hearing outside the prospective jurors’ presence with Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley.

Godden in that hearing announced that the state would be dropping the two first degree murder charges in the deaths of 33-year-old Brian Tanksley and 20-year-old Sean Pollum. Prosecutors also dropped related robbery and gun charges.

The announcement brought an abrupt end to a case that began in March when Brown, who lived in Palm Beach Gardens at the time of the shooting, was tracked to Washington County, in the northeast end of Tennessee, and captured by U.S. Marshals.

Five months earlier, police found the bodies of Pollum and Tanksley, a local hip-hop artist known by the stage name “Cook Em Up, in an apartment on Tamarind Avenue.

Brown initially told police he had an alibi and had last seen Tanskley when he, Tanksley and another unidentified man hung out at a casino a day before the murders. He also said he’d only seen Pollum in passing when he came to pick up Tanksley,.

According to arrest records, police almost immediately discovered inconsistencies in Brown’s story and later found his DNA on hairs recovered from Pollum’s hands.

After his March arrest, Brown’s case became the subject of an appellate court fight after prosecutors tried to extend the deadline on his speedy trial because lead crime scene investigator Douglas Stryjek was being deployed that month to Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force.

Kelley later denied that request but prosecutors appealed it. An appellate court sided with Kelley, and after Ramsey invoked Brown’s right to a speedy trial, Kelley set Thursday’s trial date.

There was no reason listed for the dropped charges in court records Thursday, but prosecutors indicated they would be filing a written order formalizing the decision.

Brown, 22, has been free on bail since August.

 

Trial begins for Fort Pierce man accused of Belle Glade masked murder

Coins covered in blood spilled from Lennard Cobb’s pocket when crime scene investigators found him, shot through the back of the head, outside a Belle Glade grocery store more than two years ago.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s crime scene investigator Amy Oetinger told jurors after they viewed photos of Cobb’s body Wednesday that she also found a hat, sunglasses and a set of keys under Cobbs’ arm – all signs he was likely caught completely off guard when a masked man approached him on May 13, 2014 and shot him to death.

Prosecutors say that man is Jaycobby Dukes, a Fort Pierce resident who they say killed Cobb to settle a feud that family members say started more than five years earlier between relatives of both men.

jaycobby-dukesCobb, 24, was found shot to death in the afternoon outside the M&M Food Market at 449 Avenue A.

Surveillance footage from the market showed a masked man, wearing white Nike sneakers and carrying a black handgun, approached him and shot him in the back of the head before he could turn around.

Detectives interviewed Dukes the next day after a witness told them Dukes was seen in the area, but Dukes told them he’d been in Fort Pierce the entire previous day.

The investigation traced back to Dukes after investigators got information from more witnesses, including one who saw Dukes “sweating like hell, breathing heavy, panicked and acting abnormal,” according to Dukes’ arrest report. Investigators say another witness said Dukes confessed to him outright before explaining that Cobb had allegedly threatened Dukes while Dukes was incarcerated.

Family members this week said what actually happened between Cobb and Dukes was a 2012 fight while both men were housed at the Palm Beach County jail.

Cobb’s relatives say Cobb approached Dukes about having pulled a gun on one of Cobb’s relatives and her young child before Dukes’ arrest, and added that Cobb beat Dukes up badly in the ensuing scuffle.

Court records show both men at the time were serving sentences on separate aggravated assault cases. Dukes was released in February 2014, less than three months before Cobb was killed.

Assistant State Attorneys Andrew Slater and Lauren Godden and defense attorney Franklin Price delivered their opening statements in the case late Tuesday.

While prosecutors presented the case to jurors as a classic premeditated murder, Prince in his opening statements denied his client’s involvement and hinted at potential credibility issues with some of the state witnesses.

The trial is expected to continue into next week. Dukes, now 24, could face life in prison if convicted as charged.

Lake Worth cab driver killing earns pair 15, 30 year sentences

sccmgcgiA judge sentenced Christian Eberhardt and Brian Javon Brown to 30 and 15 years in prison respectively Thursday on manslaughter convictions connected to the 2012 shooting death of a taxi cab driver in Lake Worth.

The sentences come nearly two months after the men escaped what would have been definite life sentences on first degree murder charges in the death of Madsen Paul, who died days after prosecutors say the pair’s attempt to rob him during a cab ride went wrong.

“He was a very hard-working man, an innocent man,” Chief Assistant State Attorney Adrienne Ellis told Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley of Paul. “I don’t believe that you can get anymore callous and cold than what happened to him that day.”

The higher sentence for Eberhardt, 24, came because jurors accepted prosecutors’ assertion that he was the triggerman and convicted him of manslaughter with a firearm, which carries a 30 year maximum sentence.

Brown’s conviction on a simple manslaughter charge carried a 15-year maximum, but the punishment was mandatory since Kelley sentenced the 25-year-old as a reoffender who had recently been released from prison at the time of Madsen’s death.

Court records show Brown had confessed to shooting Paul before the trial in hopes of getting a 15-year plea deal with prosecutors, but they ultimately rejected his version of events and took the case to trial.

Eberhardt’s family members say they will be appealing his sentence based on that information.

Madelene Paul on her way out of court said her thoughts were only of her father, the man she called her best friend.

“Now he can finally rest in peace,” she said.

Lake Worth man gets life in first degree murder of pregnant wife

LAKE WORTH — Donna Rowley Daniels moved from Florida to Ohio last May to live with Jenny Johnston, who says she cared for Daniels like her own daughter. Paul Daniels was living with his two teenage children next door. He and Donna Daniels met and quickly fell in love. "He became smitten with her. He said he loved her more than anything in the world," Johnston said in a phone interview Thursday. The two married in August, and were expecting a baby. The couple and the teens moved into a rented unit in a triplex on Stevens Road in suburban Lake Worth in December. Early Thursday morning, their home was blocked off with crime scene tape. Donna Daniels, 27, was found lying face down in a white Mitsubishi with multiple gun shot wounds in her back. Paul Daniels, 36, was found lying next to the car on the ground with a gunshot wound in his head and a 9 mm handgun next to him. Detectives say Paul Daniels shot his wife, who was five months pregnant, shot his 13-year-old son in the leg and then shot himself in the head. Daniels was charged with first-degree murder. Now at Delray Medical Center, he is expected to survive his injuries. His son was released Thursday from Delray Medical Center. Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies arrived at 4482 Stevens Rd. at about 2 a.m. and found Paul Daniels' son and 12-year-old daughter outside crying, according to a sheriff's office probable cause affidavit. The girl told deputies that her father and his wife were fighting when Paul Daniels pulled out a gun and shot his wife, the affidavit said. "I thought he was going to shoot me so I ran," she said. Officials with the state Department of Children and Families, which initiated an investigation hours after the incident, said the boy and girl have been placed together in a foster home. "The children are safe and well," said DCF spokesman Mark Riordan. The agency is exploring options to place children with relatives, he said. Vivian Chao, who lives in the same triplex
LAKE WORTH — Donna Rowley Daniels moved from Florida to Ohio last May to live with Jenny Johnston, who says she cared for Daniels like her own daughter.
Paul Daniels was living with his two teenage children next door. He and Donna Daniels met and quickly fell in love. The two married in August 2011, and were expecting a baby.
Detectives say Paul Daniels shot his wife, who was five months pregnant, shot his 13-year-old son in the leg and then shot himself in the head.
Daniels was charged with first-degree murder.

UPDATE 2:31 p.m.: A Palm Beach County jury has convicted Paul Daniels of first-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of his pregnant wife.

The verdict, which came after less than two hours of deliberations Wednesday, means the Lake Worth man faced a mandatory life in prison sentence.

Circuit Judge Krista Marx sentenced him immediately after the verdict.

ORIGINAL POST: A Palm Beach County jury is now deciding the murder trial of Paul Daniels, the 40-year-old Lake Worth man accused in the 2012 shooting death of his  pregnant wife, Donna.

Assistant State Attorneys Reid Scott and Kristen Grimes this week have called Daniels’ actions in the early hours of March 1, 2012 a clear-cut case of premeditated murder that the couple’s own children witnessed after they argued at their home in the 4400 Block of Stevens Road.

The children later told police that Donna Daniels, who was five months pregnant, ran out of the house around 2:30 a.m. Paul Daniels followed her out with a gun shot her five times in the back, and then tried to kill himself.

Donna Daniels, 27, was found lying face down in a white Mitsubishi with multiple gun shot wounds in her back. Paul Daniels, 36, was found lying next to the car on the ground with a gunshot wound in his head and a 9 mm handgun next to him.

“He’d had enough of her,” Grimes told jurors. “They’d been fighting all day, maybe that baby wasn’t his. Try as she might, she wasn’t going anywhere.”

Defense attorneys Ruth Martinez-Estes and Jennifer Klee, on the other hand, have argued that Daniels is guilty of nothing more than the lesser charge of culpable negligence.

Martinez-Estes told jurors that witnesses in the case lied in their testimony to protect Donna Daniels, who records show was using drugs at the time of her death.

In spite of their troubles nad her drug use, Martinez- Estes said, Daniels was still there for his wife, and still loved her.

“He did not want to kill his wife,” Martinez-Estes said. “He just had a lapse of judgement that day. He was not himself.”

The last arguments jurors heard before they began deliberating at noon were from Scott, who described how Daniels stood over his wife and shot her five times.

“This wasn’t a sudden event. This had been brewing, they had been fighting, Scott said. “Reasonable people cool off. Reasonable people don’t do this, murderers do this.”

Circuit Judge Krista Marx sent jurors back to begin deliberations at noon Wednesday.

 

 

Accused serial rapist found guilty by PBC jury in 2009 attack near Palm Springs

A Palm Beach County jury on Thursday found accused serial rapist Baltazar Gabriel Delgado-Ros guilty of sexual battery with a deadly weapon and burglary in the 2009 rape of a suburban Lake Worth woman, charges that could send the 30-year-old former Lake Worth man to prison for two life terms.

Balatazar Gabriel Delgado Ros appears in court Wednesday Morning. Authorities believe Balatazar Gabriel Delgado Ros, 28, to be a serial rapist who attacked five women from Jupiter to Lake Worth. The first attack was in 2009, the last was reported in early October of 2011. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Balatazar Gabriel Delgado Ros appears in court in 2014 (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

The verdict, that brought tears of relief to his 35-year-old victim, came after roughly two hours of deliberation over two days following a two-day trial.

“I am so thankful to the jurors for seeing the truth in this case and helping me finally get justice,” the woman, who is not being identified due to the nature of the attack, said after the verdict. “After seven years we can finally start to heal and put this behind us.”

In a written statement she read to Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer, she said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression and still suffers panic attacks. She asked the judge to give Delgado-Ros the maximum punishment when he is sentenced on Jan. 10.

“I don’t want him to ever have the chance to hurt another woman,” she said. “No one should have to go through what I did.”

However, four other woman from Jupiter to Lake Worth claim they too were raped by Delgado-Ros from 2009-2011 before he was arrested in his native Guatemala in 2014 and brought back here to stand trial. He is to be tried in February in connection with one of the other attacks.

His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Maurissa Jones, sought to persuade the jury that he did not break into the woman’s house near Palm Springs and rape her. Instead, she argued, he was friends with the woman’s then-husband, who was in jail at the time awaiting deportation, and the sex was consensual.

Check back for further updates.