The Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigated 9 UCR homicides in 2013, which is down from 19 homicides investigated in 2012. This is the lowest number of homicides recorded in the Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction for the past 8 years, and the second lowest in 18 years (there were 6 UCR homicides recorded in 2005). The reduced number of homicides contributed to Polk County’s historic overall crime reduction as reported in the first six months of 2013.
According to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics, reported semi-annually and annually to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), crime in the PCSO primary law enforcement response area was down 5.44% in the first six months of 2013 as compared to the first six months of 2012 - one reason for the decrease - homicides were down 70% during this time frame. The 2012 crime rate (the most recent year for which full year statistics are available—2013 overall statistics are not yet reported), which is the number of crimes per 100 residents, in is 2.48. This is the lowest crime rate ever measured in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, breaking the previous record low of 2.70 crimes per 100 from 2011. Reliable crime statistics in Polk County started in 1971, when the crime rate was recorded at 4.16 crimes per 100.
“Solving homicides is a priority. When we are assigned a homicide, our detectives, crime scene investigators, crime analysts, and support staff work non-stop around the clock, to solve the crime as quickly as possible. I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of the detectives and agency members assigned to the Homicide Unit, and of all the men and women in our agency who work to keep Polk County safe. As a team, using a holistic approach to fight crime, every member of the agency partners with the community to solve and deter crime. We are not satisfied until violent criminals are in jail where they can no longer victimize our citizens.” Sheriff Grady Judd
In addition to the nine UCR homicides investigated in 2013, one homicide was ruled justified by the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) of the 10th Judicial Circuit and two others were worked on behalf of municipalities, and one of those was also ruled justified by the SAO. 8 out of the 9 homicides in PCSO’s jurisdiction have been cleared by arrest. A person of interest has been identified in the other homicide investigation and a warrant for 35-year-old Taurus Terrell Moye’s arrest for Possession of Weapon by Convicted Felon has been issued. He is still at large.
By way of comparison, in 2012 the PCSO Homicide Unit investigated 19 homicides, all of which were cleared by arrest. Also in 2012, the PCSO Homicide Unit assisted other agencies with two homicide investigations and worked two additional cases ruled justified by the SAO.
In 2013 Homicide detectives also investigated: 388 natural deaths; 52 suicides; and 66 accidental deaths, 17 of which were child deaths. These investigations are among the other cases routinely assigned to the unit.
A summary of the 2013 homicides cases are:
March 12, 2013 – Victim Tony Helaire was killed by Suspect Samuel Betancourt, who was charged with Manslaughter (Auburndale Police Department);
March 25, 2013 – Victim Jesse Shivers was killed by Suspects Richard Virnet and Kenneth Perez-Cruz, both of whom were charged with Murder (Davenport area);
April 13, 2013 – Victim Joseph Coney was killed by Ben Furman and Isaiah Tillman; Coney’s death was ruled justified by the SAO (Lake Wales Police Department);
April 27, 2013 – Victim Travis Fogle was killed by Suspect Jamanus Beck, who was charged with Murder (Frostproof);
May 17, 2013 – William Pennypacker was killed by Nancy Pennypacker; the death was ruled justified by the SAO (Lakeland area);
June 9, 2013 – Victim Ubaldo Delgado-Medrano was killed by Suspect Victor Camacho, who was charged with Murder (Haines City area);
July 25, 2013 – Victim: 3-year-old Maylik Sheffield, found unresponsive in swimming pool. Suspect: Jennyse Frederick who was charged wtih Aggravated Manslaughter, Child Neglect (Davenport area);
July 26, 2013 – Victim: Heriberto Mejia, shot during an attempted robbery on 12/03/2012. His injuries required extended care and ultimately caused his death. Suspect: Terrence Drayton was charged with First Degree Murder (Winter Haven area);
August 4, 2013 – Victim: Carl Antonio Booker. Suspects: Alfred Shawn Ervin and Alexander Rodriguez who were both charged with Second Degree Murder (Winter Haven area);
August 28, 2013 – Victim: Calvin Scott. Suspect: Vanessa Lisbon who was charged with First Degree Murder (Auburndale area);
October 10, 2013 – Victim: Davonte Lewis. Ongoing investigation (35-year-old Taurus Terrell Moye (DOB 5/24/1978) has a warrant for his arrest for Possession of Weapon by Convicted Felon, and is wanted for questioning in this investigation.) – (Lakeland area)
October 11, 2013 – Victim: Margaret Scott. Suspect Joseph Sandrini who shot the victim then took his own life (Lakeland area).
Uniform Crime Report (UCR)