Five Gilchrist and Alachua county men were recently sentenced to prison for multiple crimes in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.
According to a State Attorney’s Office release, the five criminals were convicted over the past two weeks.
Career criminals convicted in Alachua and Gilchrist counties
On May 25, Judge James Colaw accepted an open plea deal and sentenced three men involved in diesel theft in multiple jurisdictions.
The case stemmed from a Florida Department of Agriculture investigation that was worked in conjunction with the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) on March 16, 2022.
Officers made contact with Alfredo Marrero Quintana, 44, Jose Luis Hernandez Verano, 50, and Leonardo Jesus Cordero Valdes, 29, at the Circle K located at 1515 N. Main St. in Gainesville.
The Florida Department of Agriculture law enforcement investigators were conducting a multi-county investigation into gas theft. According to the release, “The investigators made contact with Hernandez, Valdes and Quintana in possession of three different pickup trucks with modified gas tanks, or bladders, and fuel dispenser pulsar devices that override gas flow at pumps and skimmers.”
The three suspects were observed stealing thousands of gallons of gas between Sumter and Hillsborough and Alachua County.
Colaw sentenced the three men as follows:
- Marrero was sentenced to 48 months in the Florida Department of Corrections followed by two years supervised probation.
- Verano was sentenced to 40 months in the Florida Department of Corrections followed by two years of supervised probation
- Cordero was sentenced to 60 months of supervised probation.
2015 Gilchrist County homicide suspect receives 45-year sentence
On May 30, Judge David Kreider sentenced Phillip David Wheeler, 43, to 45 years in the Florida Department of Corrections for the second-degree murders and armed burglary of Kevin Lawrence Staley and Kevin Justice Staley with 25-year minimum mandatory guidelines under Florida’s 10-20-Life statute.
The incident occurred on Nov. 5, 2015, when Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) deputies found Kevin Lawrence Staley and Kevin Justice Staley dead. An investigation by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents identified Wheeler as a suspect. Wheeler was arrested on May 11, 2017.
Habitual felony receives 30-year sentence for attacking his lawyer
On June 4, Kreider sentenced Obadiah Savoy Dillard, 45, to 30 years in the Florida Department of Corrections after an Alachua County Jury found Dillard guilty of aggravated battery with great bodily harm.
Dillard, who was arrested on an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) investigation, attacked his defense counsel on Nov. 15, 2022, while awaiting court proceedings.
At the trial, State Attorney Brian Kramer presented a video and two witnesses of the attack and, after six minutes of deliberation, the jury found Dillard guilty.