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Man Indicted on Murder

On May 18, the Lakeland Police Department officially formed the cold-case team of Detective Scott Kercher and Detective Brad Grice. In light of this recent focus on cold cases and attention by the State Attorney’s Office and The Ledgers series on cold cases, “It takes a community to solve a murder”, an indictment was served yesterday on Sylvester Nathaniel Smith, 32 yrs old,  for First Degree Murder. We are hoping that this is one many cases to come as a result of the newly formed Cold Case Unit.

 

On October 24, 2013 at approximately 10:12 p.m., several 911 calls were received about gunshots in the area of Gilmore Avenue and Parker Street. Patrol Officers responded and upon arrival located, Thomas Howard Garrison, 43 yrs old, with two gunshot wounds. Garrison was found lying at the end of the driveway at 708 East Parker Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Sylvester Nathaniel Smith is already incarcerated in the Polk County Jail on 3cts of Aggravated Battery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. These charges stem from a January 19th shooting at the Elks Lodge; 1026 N. Texas Avenue in which one victim was shot 5 times, another victim 1 time and a bystander was hit in the face with the handgun knocking him to the ground.  Smith was identified as the suspect in that case and has been in jail.

No other details are being released on the indictment at this time. A copy is attached.

  

Homicide Victim Identified


On March 31, at 7:55 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department received a call in reference to an adult male found deceased in a ditch in the area of 1100 Prospect Street. The Violent Crimes Detectives responded to the scene and canvassed the area for witnesses as well as looking for any additional evidence. The State Attorney's Office and  Medical Examiner responded to the scene to assist with the investigation. The autopsy performed later in the evening revealed that the victim had been shot numerous times. Detectives are not releasing how many times he was shot at this time. The victim has been identified as Demetrice Tavontate Stacy, B/M, DOB 9/14/91, 1437 North Webster Avenue, Lakeland, Fla.

This is investigation is still ongoing at this time and there have been no arrest. Anyone with information can call the Lakeland Police Department at 834-8950.   



Jimmy Jermaine Brown Arrested for March 8th, Homicide

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, at approximately 8:23 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 833 N. Florence Avenue in reference to a homicide. Inside the dwelling officers discovered Gregory Allen Ross Jr. (B/M 06/17/94) deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. At the time of the homicide, the dwelling was being utilized as an illegal drug distribution point commonly known as a drug trap house. Evidence found inside the dwelling included firearms and illegal drugs. Crime scene personnel recovered spent bullet casings and projectiles inside the dwelling.

On Monday, March 10, 2014, an autopsy was conducted at the Medical Examiner’s Office by Dr. Nelson. The results of the procedure identified five gunshot wounds to the decedent, to include shots to the head and upper torso area.

According to two witnesses that were in the dwelling prior to the homicide, only four people were inside which consisted of: Jimmy Brown, the decedent and two witnesses. Both witnesses had left the dwelling when they heard five separate gunshots. One of the witnesses returned to the dwelling and observed Jimmy Brown running out the front door. The witness followed Jimmy Brown for several blocks before catching up with him. The witness stated that Jimmy Brown told him he had robbed the decedent of an amount of drugs, to include powder cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana, which he showed the witness. Jimmy Brown told the witness he accidentally shot the decedent during a struggle.

Detectives obtained the arrest warrant on March 11th and attempted to locate Brown at various locations throughout the evening. Jimmy Brown later turned himself in at the Lakeland Police Department yesterday evening without incident and was later transported to the Polk County Jail.

Brown was charged with  Murder in the 1st Degree with a Firearm, Armed Robbery with a Firearm and Witness Tampering.


Update on Homicide Case from March 8th, 2014

Update on Homicide Case - Gregory Allen Ross, 19 yrs old.

The location the victim was shot at, 833 N. Florence Avenue is what is commonly called a “Trap House” (Term used to define a crack house, or the surroundings in which a drug dealer would use to make their profit).
Items of evidentiary value were located in the house which would indicate drug activity. No other details will be discussed on items located inside the house.

On 2/28/14 at 11:23 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in reference to Ross being shot in the right thigh. Ross stated that while walking west on 13th Street near Kettles Avenue, he heard what sounded like “firecrackers” and then realized he had been shot. Ross walked to LRMC at this time. Ross stated he saw no vehicle or person that could have caused this injury. Officers discovered dark marks near his wound that were consistent with stippling (Shots fired from close range leaving marks are discolorations of the skin caused by burning gunpowder) indicating the injury was self-inflicted or by an “unknown” person up close.  Ross gave several conflicting statements to responding officers at LRMC. 

Detectives are still working the case, attending the autopsy today and following up on leads. Anyone with additional information on this case should call Det. Hurley at 863-834-8973.