Around the region

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 12:14 a.m.

18-year-old charged with sexual battery

An 18-year-old Gainesville resident has been charged with five counts of sexual battery on a girl who was 12 or younger.

According to Gainesville Police, the situation was discovered just before midnight Tuesday at the girl's home in northeast Gainesville. Investigators said two juveniles walked in the girl's parents' bedroom and saw her performing oral sex on the suspect.

Police spokeswoman Summer Hallett said that after the suspect was read his Miranda rights he told investigators that similar acts had been performed five or six times previously in the parents' bedroom.

"He said the previous event to this one was two or three weeks ago," Hallett said. "He also said he thought the girl was 14 years old," a crime that carries lesser penalties.

The suspect, Jessie Littles, was being held at the Alachua County Jail without bond on Wednesday.

-Karen Voyles

FHP: Man arrested for trafficking cocaine

A driver pulled over by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper for a broken taillight wound up at the Alachua County Jail for allegedly trafficking in crack cocaine.

The incident happened on Interstate 75 near the Williston Road exit around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday. FHP Sgt. John Gourley pulled over a 2003 Honda Accord that had been traveling north on the interstate with a taillight that was not working.

After Gourley determined the driver's license had been suspended, an FHP drug detection dog was walked around the Honda and the dog signaled the likely presence of drugs. Troopers reported finding 53 grams of crack cocaine - with an estimated street value of $9,000 - under the passenger seat.

The driver was identified as Antonio Troutman, 33, of Orlando who was charged with trafficking in crack cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and driving while his license was suspended.

-Karen Voyles

Police continue search in alleged home robbery

Gainesville Police are continuing an investigation of a reported home invasion robbery late Tuesday.

The alleged incident happened just after 11 p.m. at an apartment located at 6522 NW 25th Terrace.

One person told police that while leaving an apartment a man armed with a shotgun approached. The person reported fleeing from the armed man without incident.

Two others who had been in the apartment told police that they opened the door when they heard a commotion outside. The two said they were confronted by a man with a shotgun. One reported victim told investigators that the man took an undetermined amount of cash before fleeing on foot.

Others in the area reported hearing gunshots, but the three alleged victims denied any shots had been fired.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call police at 332-2400.

-Karen Voyles

Man accused in robbery held by immigration

A man accused of robbing a Dixie County store now is in the custody of immigration officials, deputies reported this week.

Dixie County Sheriff's deputies arrested Jose Castillo, 43, of Old Town, minutes after an April 23 robbery at Waco #8, 27764 SE Highway 19, Old Town.

A suspect entered the business and threatened the female clerk with a broken bottle before demanding cash from the woman, Dixie County Sheriff's Office Capt. Chad Reed reported. The man then fled with the stolen cash.

Officers from the Sheriff's Office set up a perimeter near the store to search for the robber. Using a bloodhound from the Cross City Correctional Institution K-9 team, officers located a suspect minutes later.

Investigators identified the man as Castillo and reported he was carrying the missing money and the broken bottle used in the robbery.

Reed said Castillo's legal status in the United States is in question and now is under review by immigration officials. Castillo has been placed in their custody. A criminal case against Castillo will depend on a determination whether or not he has been living in the country legally.

-Lise Fisher

GPD: Man arrested for stealing A/C copper

A man carrying a preferred customer card for a local recycling center was arrested early Wednesday for allegedly stealing copper from a small shopping plaza.

Gainesville Police said the incident happened behind Glenwood Plaza at 125 NW 23rd Ave. around 1:30 a.m. Witnesses heard noises behind the L-shaped plaza. Police said they found a man behind the building who appeared to be cutting copper off the plaza's commercial air conditioners. The man fled on a bicycle when police arrived.

Officer C. Owens and his canine partner Justice found the suspect in the laundry room of a house in the 300 block of NW 20th Ave., a home the suspect had no ties to, police said.

The suspect was identified as Daren G. Smith, 41, of Gainesville. He was charged with felony criminal mischief, theft, burglary, possession of burglary tools and resisting arrest without violence.

Investigators said it appeared about $1,000 worth of damage was done to the air conditioning units to take about $30 worth of copper.

Florida Department of Corrections records show Smith has prior convictions in Columbia and Indian River counties for theft and drug offenses.

-Karen Voyles

Police will be out in force for Gator Stompin'

Area officers will be out in Gainesville watching for alcohol violations this evening as college students celebrate the end of the spring semester.

Officers with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the Gainesville Police Department and the University of Florida Police Department will be part of the "Gator Stomp saturation detail."

The term refers to Gator Stompin', an event held at the end of each spring and fall semester, where participants visit different designated Gainesville bars and restaurants throughout the evening.

Officers will be working from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. in sections of downtown and midtown and will be looking for alcohol-related violations such as open container violations and underage drinking, UF Police reported.

-Lise Fisher

Funeral Friday for ex-student killed in Iraq

A funeral will be held Friday for a former University of Florida student killed in Iraq after he was kidnapped more than a year ago.

Jonathon Cote's family learned of his death last month after a body was found and later identified as the 25-year-old. Cote and four other employees of defense contractor Crescent Security Group disappeared in an Iraqi city near the Kuwait border in November 2006.

Cote's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. at Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 4375 Harris Hill Road, Williamsville, N.Y. Donations can be made through a Web site set up for Cote at under the link "Start Helping" or by mailing to FreeCote, P.O. Box 89, Getzville, N.Y., 14068-0089.

Cote started at UF in August 2005 and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He withdrew from school to work for the company, in part to earn money to help pay for school. Members of the fraternity have said they plan to fly to New York to attend Cote's funeral.

For more information about funeral arrangements, go to

-Lise Fisher

Gator Stompin' tonight; event benefits charity

More than 50 restaurants, bars and nightclubs are in participating in tonight's Gator Stompin', an annual pub crawl for charity in which participants purchase one badge to hear live music and sample food and drinks with a worldwide theme.

The event begins at 9 p.m. at two locations: Fat Tuesday, 116 SE 1st St., and at Gator City Sports Grill, 1728 W. University Ave. Participating restaurants include Saigon Legend, Tatu Sushi, Subway, WingZone and Gyro Plus, while nightclubs will include Rue Bar, 1982, Decadence and Mojitos.

Non-alcoholic drinks will be featured at such establishments as Sonic, Paradise Smoothie, Ben & Jerry's and Maude's Cafe, and the event's "Safe Ride" program will offer a free ride home for participants who take a Bestway cab to the event and purchase a Stompin' badge from the driver.

For a map of locations or more information, see Proceeds will benefit Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities find employment.

-Bill Dean

Dr. Enneking named as head of anesthesiology

Dr. Kayser Enneking has been named to head the department of anesthesiology in the University of Florida College of Medicine. She replaces Dr. Nikolaus Gravenstein, who has served as department chairman since 1997.

Enneking is a graduate of UF's College of Medicine who joined the faculty in 1991. She has been named to the list of Best Doctors in America and has received several teaching awards.

She grew up in Gainesville and attended college at Vanderbilt University. She completed her training in anesthesiology at the University of Texas and a fellowship at Harvard Medical School before returning to UF to teach.

-Diane Chun

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