Williston teenagers arrested in slaying

Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 1:29 a.m.
Four more Williston teenagers were arrested Monday in connection with the slaying of Jacob Langworthy.
Langworthy, 18, was found by a relative with a gunshot wound to the back of his head Wednesday shortly after 3 p.m. inside his home near the intersection of Levy Street and State Road 121.
Langworthy died less than 24 hours later at Shands at the University of Florida.
The first suspect arrested in the case was Berny Serrano, 18. He was arrested at Williston High School the day that Langworthy died and is being held without bond on charges of murder, two counts of burglary while armed and one count of burglary.
On Monday, the Levy County Sheriff's Office arrested four other Williston High students and charged each of them with home invasion robbery with a firearm. They were identified as: Courtney R. Grant, 16; Kenny Gross, 18; Michael A. Hill, 18; and Theophilus D. Lee, 16. Bond was set at $250,000 for each of the suspects.
Court records show that the four students and Serrano are accused of planning and discussing how they would go to Langworthy's house to rob him of drugs and money and that Serrano showed the other four teens a small-caliber handgun he was carrying with him to Langworthy's home. The group allegedly used a pay phone near the high school to call Langworthy's home to confirm that he was home, then proceeded after Langworthy, a former Williston High student, answered the phone.
"We understand from our interviews that when drugs and money were not found inside the house, other items were taken instead, like CD, a cell phone and an X-Box controller," said sheriff's spokesman Capt. Chuck Bastak.
Additional details about the crimes were not being released as investigators continued working on the case to try to corroborate witnesses' and suspects' versions of the events.
Team rosters sent to The Sun earlier in the school year identified Grant, Gross and Lee as members of the Williston football team. School staff members and students said that along with Hill, they have been students at Williston schools for most of their lives. Serrano moved to Levy County several months ago from New York.
Levy County School Superintendent Cliff Norris said that he is prohibited by law from discussing specific students' situation. However, Norris also said that under state law an administrative hearing is held for any students charged with a felony.
"The hearing is used to determine whether the commission of that felony has adverse affect on the school or school system, and if it does, we can suspend that student until their (criminal) case is resolved," Norris said.
The state law also requires the district to continue providing an educational service to students suspended for felony cases. "So we may be able to do that by enrolling a student at an alternative school or providing instruction at their home or even at a local jail if that is where a student is staying," Norris said.
Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or voylesk@gvillesun.com.

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