State Attorney targets gun crimes, violent offenders

Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 11:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 11:56 p.m.

A new unit has been created by the Eighth Circuit State Attorney's Office in Gainesville to have a prosecutor deal specifically with violent offender cases involving firearms to prosecute them to the fullest extent possible.

"His charge will be to take the violent offender and the person who uses a gun in the commission of a crime and go after him so that we can get him out of here," State Attorney Bill Cervone said.

Weapons crimes can garner stricter penalties depending on the number of convictions and other factors. The team will concentrate on firearms crimes to ensure that the cases are prosecuted to take advantage of the laws and meet their standards.

Prosecutor Adam Urra and an investigator have been assigned to the unit, said spokesman Spencer Mann.

"Those cases are tricky. With 10/20/Life and enhanced penalties, the impact in sentencing and prosecution can be a lot greater, so it needs some specialization to it," Mann said. "With firearms, there are other sentencing and filing issues that you really have to pay attention to. You may have people designated as repeat violent offenders, and if firearms are used, there are enhanced penalties."

Mann said the circuit has more firearms cases than it would like, but is not out of line with other areas.

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Here's a reminder for ATV owners: Northeast Park is off limits.

Gainesville Police issued citations to five men who were caught zipping around the park at 400 NE 16th Ave. shortly before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Officers said they were checking out a noise complaint from a resident near the park when they spotted the ATVs. The five men were issued notices to appear in court to explain to a judge why they thought off-roading in a city park in the middle of the night was a good idea.

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A homeless man wanted for questioning in a series of car burglaries was being chased by Gainesville Police Tuesday afternoon. Officers said Jesse Deroberts, 25, was apparently trying to get away from them when he dove into the pond at North Florida Regional Medical Center and began paddling furiously to get to the other side.

Officers said Deroberts was about half way across the pond when he looked up and realized officers had surrounded it.

That's when officers said they saw Deroberts stop swimming and come to the realization that he could wade to shore from any point in the pond. The pond is only 3-feet deep, police said.

Deroberts was not charged with the car burglaries but was arrested on a warrant from another county.

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