Arrest Week – Part 2

Erika Hankammer (left, 30) was booked early Wednesday for battery. Her reported address is in Countrypark off SW 18th between Boca Rio and Lyons. She’s a Patriots fan and was released after half a day in custody. The case is being treated as domestic violence. We see no criminal history for her, with a couple old traffic tickets.
Terrell Newson (center, 27) was arrested Tuesday for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery. The Boca Rio Banyan resident has not been released yet, and might not be helping himself with the nickname “Cut Throat” though we’re not sure that’s him. We see multiple felony and misdemeanor cases for him dating back to 2007, most of which seem to be domestic incidents and court records indicate that for this case as well.
On the right, Destiny Griffin (18, Sandalfoot Cove) was arrested Monday for battery. The courts are treating it as a domestic incident. In 2013 she had a few traffic tickets and a retail theft case in the courts. This incident might cut into her babysitting business.

See more arrests from this week: Arrest Week Part 1.

Arrested early Wednesday was David Ellis (left, 28) from the Sandalfoot trailers on four larceny counts including one felony grand theft. He has not been released yet. The case looks a little quirk as the offenses allegedly occurred in late February but he wasn’t arrested until 2 1/2 months later. He has a few prior incidents in the county from back in 2007 or before, and a few more in Broward.
Raymond Colletto (center, 41) was arrested for cruelty toward a child and/or child abuse. The Sun-Sentinel reports he was drunk and bit his nephew in the face. His reported address is in Colonnade near off Jog south of Yamato. Court records show what look like a couple DUI cases (1995 and 2008) and a couple previous violent domestic incidents (2008 and 2013) as well.
Cristian Norena-Lopez (right, 26) was arrested Monday for burglary. He was released the next evening. We see no court history for him. Boca PD alleges he “attempted to enter an occupied vehicle” in a bank drive-through lane.
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His reported address is in the Boca Gardens townhomes south of Clint Moore between 441 and Lyons. Incidentally we’ve had recent reader reports of misbehaving skateboarders in and near that neighborhood.
See more arrests from this week: Arrest Week Part 1.

Arrest Week – Part 1

Here are some of the arrests reported by the Sheriff in the past week. For starters, we have two who were in our last arrest report:
Ali Can (left, 23) and Deanna Fraschilla (right, 50) were in our early May weekend arrest report. Can had been arrested for vague charges of loitering and resisting, while Fraschilla was booked on mischief charges for causing property damage. The latter incident was written up in more detail in the Sun-Sentinel.
Now both have been arrested for burglary and/or related charges. Can, whose reported address is just off Del Prado Circle, was booked by Boca PD Tuesday afternoon charged with burglary while armed and larceny for stealing a firearm. He is being held on those two charges on $15,000 bond, and was also recommitted on the earlier charges.
Hopefully Can can find a way to get by with a little help from his friends. One tried to reach out to him the day he was arrested:
Fraschilla, of the Boca Rio Banyan townhomes was arrested the next day for unarmed burglary, criminal mischief, and resisting, along with a contempt of court charge for violating a court injunction (perhaps related to the previous arrest). She has not been released yet either. We don’t see any bond amount but the contempt may override any possible release. She had a 2008 felony charge for burglary and battery and did 5 years probation for that.

See more arrests from this week: Arrest Week Part 2.

Next up three arrests related to driving:
Andres Gonzalez-Monroy (left, 26) was arrested for DUI by Boca city police, booked early Thursday morning and released several hours later. His reported address is an apartment near the corner of SW 18th and Lyons. He’s had several traffic cases dating back to 2006.
Boca PD indicates that he refused a breath test, which is the approach recommended by most defense lawyers.
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In the middle, Marko Milosavljevic (31) was arrested for driving with a suspended license, fraudulently using someone else’s ID, and resisting an officer. His reported address is in Gables Town Colony, and our friends at Boca News Now reported he was arrested for marijuana and illegally carrying a firearm last year after firing a handgun into the air in the Town Center parking lot. Court records indicate he did 4 months in jail for that. We see four previous felony cases for him dating back to 2002, along with a number of misdemeanors and traffic offenses.
Sandalfoot Blvd’s Austin Lane (right, 24) was arrested by Boca PD and booked Tuesday morning for DUI. We see no criminal history with a few traffic cases. An Olympic Heights graduate, he was a key player on their basketball team several years ago. He’s also a fan of the Heat and the Dolphins but the beer in this photo of him with the Heat’s Udonis Haslem may not help his DUI case.
See more arrests from this week: Arrest Week Part 2.

11 Weekend Arrests: DUI, Drugs & Mischief

As always with our arrest reports, the arrestees are innocent until proven guilty. And don’t let our arrest reports scare you about West Boca – our crime rate is lower than East Boca and much lower than the county average.
James Chick (left, 28) and Gary Sheerer (right, 32) were both arrested by Delray Beach police, accused of dealing in stolen property. They were booked early Sunday morning. Chick was released about 12 hours later, while Sheerer remains in custody. By their reported addresses, the two are roommates on Watergate Circle near the Glades library.
Chick has over 4 pages of cases in the county including a couple felony arrests, though most are traffic. One was from April of 2013 where he was “adjudicated guilty by the court” of “aggravated grand retail theft” in August of 2013. He was sentenced to 9 months in county jail minus about 4 months in credit time.
Sheerer’s record is worse and he was arrested on the same April 2013 date as Chick for roughly the same offenses. He was also sentenced to about nine months, with almost six months of credit time.
Nicole Santini (above left, 26) of the Boca Entrada – Emerald Bay Club apartments was arrested Friday night and released Saturday afternoon, charged with aggravated battery involving a deadly weapon. The court record has it marked as “dating violence.” She had a previous domestic violence misdemeanor charge in 2010 that was dropped.
18-year-old Michael Brenner (center) was arrested and released Sunday morning for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription (Percocet per the Boca Police blotter). A resident of Woodfield Hunt Club, and student at North Broward Prep, he was recruited as a baseball player by Saint Louis University, with “game-changing speed.”
Deanna Fraschilla (right, 50) of the Boca Rio Banyan townhomes was arrested Saturday for criminal mischief causing property damage, and for resisting an officer without violence. She was released a couple hours after she was booked without having to post a bond. A Google search revealed a Cape Cod arrest in 2005. In Palm Beach County, court records show mostly traffic tickets but also a felony burglary in 2008 for which she got 5 years probation.
There were three DUI arrests from Boca this weekend. Above left is Keith Martin (23), who was booked early Saturday morning and released before noon. His reported address is in the Mizner Courts apartments off Military Trail. The former FAU student is an aspiring entrepreneur interested in new video technologies.
Adriana Capawana (center, 45) was arrested by Boca PD, booked Sunday morning and released a few hours later. The Boca police blotter indicates her blood alcohol content was 0.17, though West Boca News does not consider breath testing to be a reliable indicator of intoxication. Her reported address in Boca Country Club (near Clint Moore and Congress) appears to be owned and inhabited by an unrelated couple.
Benjamin Collins (right, 22) was also booked for DUI Saturday morning and released shortly after noon. Residing in Boca Barwood near the corner of Lyons and SW 18th, the Spanish River graduate has attended University of Texas and traveled in France.
We see no prior criminal history for any of the DUI arrestees.
Margo Wishbow (center, 61) was arrested on a probation violation. That probation appears to come from a DUI arrest in February 2013. The Century Village resident has a few pages of cases in Palm Beach County with mostly misdemeanors and one felony theft in 2012 that was reduced to a misdemeanor.
Ali Can (right, 23) was booked Monday morning on charges of loitering/prowling and resisting an officer without violence. Both counts are generally vague and the Boca PD blotter is remarkably thin on details. His history is clean other than a couple of traffic cases. This one will probably be dismissed.

The Schneider DUI Homicide Case: Analysis

This article contains both facts and opinions. The opinion content will be set off in block quotes like this one. Warren Redlich is a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer in New York and Florida, and has taken over 50 cases through jury verdict. In the late 1990s he won three awards from Allstate, including being named their top trial lawyer in the northeastern United States.

schneider-dui-manslaughterAs we previously reported, Mark Schneider was recently charged with DUI Homicide and Negligent Vehicular Manslaughter.
The accident occurred on Palmetto Park at or near its intersection with Toledo Road, between Powerline and St. Andrews. The location is near the YMCA. It’s a quiet section of Palmetto Park Road. Toledo Road comes in from the north in a “T” intersection. There is no road going south. There are no commercial businesses or driveways in this area and the speed limit is relatively high at 50 mph.

West Boca News has obtained the probable cause affidavit that was filed in support of the charges. Here are some pieces of that paperwork, along with analysis.
Please note that the images are larger than shown on the screen. If you click on them you will see a larger and more readable version – phone users may need to zoom.
On the first page you can see that he’s accused of “DUI Manslaughter” (§316.193(3)(c)(3)) and “Vehicle Homicide.” The first error, and a minor one, is that the officer indicated the “manslaughter” statute, §782.07(1). The correct statute for Vehicular Homicide is §782.071, and that is entered correctly in the court docket. The “§” symbol is an abbreviation for “Section“.
These are the same charges that were filed against Angela Stracar in the fatal accident a few years ago near the entrance to Boca Isles South. Stracar’s conviction was reversed on appeal last fall.
The details start flowing on page 2:
Schneider and another driver (Reed) were heading westbound on Palmetto approaching Toledo. Velasco (the victim) was stopped at the light heading the same direction. One thing worth noting is the vehicles. Schneider’s Hyundai Genesis weighed roughly 3300 pounds while Velasco’s Hyundai Accent weighed roughly 2400 pounds. It’s a harsh reality of physics that occupants of smaller cars are much more vulnerable in collisions. The 2010 Accent did not perform well in crash tests.
The affidavit asserts that “numerous witnesses” said Schneider was going “well in excess” of the speed limit, that he was “changing lanes frequently,” and that he lost control after making a sudden lane change, striking one vehicle and going into a skid.

Witness testimony at trial is rarely this simple and some police officers exaggerate. Years ago I had a case where the arresting officer initially testified that he pulled my client over in part because he was changing lanes frequently. On cross-examination we learned that this meant two lane changes in a 1.5 mile stretch of road.
It is extremely difficult for witnesses to estimate vehicle speeds. Humans do not have radar eyes. However, as we will see below, there is other evidence on the speed that may (or may not) be more reliable.

Page 3 further describes the mechanics of the collision, with Schneider’s vehicle striking Velasco’s, and forcing her onto the median where she then hit a tree.
It then indicates that Velasco’s vehicle hit a tree “with the left rear quarter panel behind the driver’s door, and then “rotated slightly” before coming to rest.

The mechanics of this collision do not seem that extreme. The Genesis and Accent were traveling the same general direction and while the collision may have been somewhat severe, Schneider does not appear to have experienced any major injuries. The Accent’s collision with the tree also appears minor as written here, since the vehicle only rotated slightly. The point of impact on the car was behind the driver’s door, so it should not have caused any part of the car to crush into her.
I do not have the accident reconstruction yet (PBSO says it’s exempt from the Sunshine Law and they’re probably right), but there is a strong chance that Ms. Velasco was not wearing her seatbelt. When I see accident cases like this, badly injured occupants are often unrestrained, leaving them to bounce around the car and hitting hard surfaces. The Accent did have a full complement of airbags but they can’t cover all hard surfaces.
With that said, if the State proves recklessness or DUI, the potential lack of a seatbelt on the victim probably will not help Schneider.

Also noteworthy from page 3 is that the lab results for blood on Schneider’s airbag have not come back yet. The affidavit is dated April 1, 2014, over six months after the accident. There is no explanation in the affidavit for why it has taken this long.
Page 4 has a lot more information:
The investigator describes his observations of Schneider at the scene, including “red watery eyes, an odor of an alcohol type beverage,” and comments about emotions. The officer asked Schneider for a blood sample and Schneider “started to ask questions.” They then took Schneider’s blood without a warrant.

It is likely that this blood evidence will be thrown out. On the facts as stated here in the probable cause affidavit, there was not enough to justify a warrantless blood draw. Schneider had not been arrested and he had not refused to give a blood sample. Starting to ask questions does not constitute a refusal.
The officer’s statements about Schneider at the scene are dubious. He points to red watery eyes to suggest intoxication, but the guy was just in a car crash and there was blood on his airbag. The “odor of an alcohol type beverage” is something I’ve heard many officers say, even in cases where the driver had no alcohol at all. Alcohol is odorless and there many different smells consistent with alcoholic beverages and other sources. Comments about his emotions could be related to alcohol or drugs, or to the fact that he’d just been in an accident, or could reflect a mental health problem (see below).

Blood tests showed a high level of alcohol in the blood with a BAC of nearly 0.18. That is dramatically higher than the legal limit of 0.08, and would typically mean somewhere in the neighborhood of ten drinks. The blood also showed marijuana at 5.7 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter) and Fluoxetine (Prozac) at 290 ng/ml.

The marijuana level is probably not high enough to cause impairment. See Expert Panel on DUI Cannabis. Similarly the Prozac level is within the therapeutic range (see Mayo Medical Laboratories) and is considered a low risk for impairment. With that said, combining the alcohol, marijuana and Prozac might increase the risk of impairment. It would be difficult to find an expert to testify credibly on this since research on such drug combinations is rare.
What’s striking is the decision to draw blood so quickly without a warrant. BAC levels drop by roughly 0.015 per hour as the liver processes the alcohol out of our blood. If someone has a BAC over 0.08, it would take 5-6 hours for the BAC to drop to zero. Here with Schneider’s blood at 0.18, it would have taken roughly 12 hours. If they had waited, a prosecution expert would have been able to explain that to a jury and that would have supported a DUI Homicide charge.
Please also note that the presence of Prozac in his blood suggests a mental health problem, which could explain Schneider’s allegedly erratic behavior on the scene.

The last substantive paragraph is the biggest problem for Mr. Schneider. Computer data from the car says he was going over 90 mph on a 50 mph road.

We can’t know at this stage if this evidence is reliable. The State will have to get witnesses together, including an expert witness, to make sure the evidence can be used in Court and to explain it to a jury.

This takes us back to the language of the Stracar decision.
The evidence presented at trial showed that appellant’s actions, while certainly negligent, did not rise to the level of recklessness sufficient to sustain the convictions for vehicular homicide. See … State v. Esposito … (reversing conviction for vehicular homicide where evidence at trial merely demonstrated negligence with no evidence of intoxication, speeding, erratic driving, or failure to observe traffic regulations); Berube … (reversing vehicular homicide conviction where driver executed improper left turn across oncoming traffic and there was no evidence that driver was intoxicated, distracted from the road, or speeding). The presence of central nervous system depressants in appellant’s blood stream after the crash, in and of itself, is insufficient to support a finding of reckless driving. … W.E.B. v. State … (reversing conviction for vehicular homicide where, although driver had consumed several beers hours prior to the accident, there was no evidence of impairment).

Unlike Stracar, here there is evidence that Mr. Schneider was speeding and driving erratically. If – and only if – the prosecution is able to prove those points to a jury, he is likely to be convicted of Vehicular Homicide. The DUI Homicide charge is unlikely to survive due to the warrantless blood draw.
As we noted in our previous article on Schneider’s DUI Homicide arrest, this prosecution was delayed for unknown reasons. The incident occurred in late September and charges were not filed until early April. A delay like that suggests the prosecution has some other problem we don’t know about yet. We also wonder if the previous arrest of Mr. Schneider for resisting without violence (which was quickly dismissed) creates a potential double jeopardy problem.

Boca and West Boca DUI Report

Hernandez-Gutierrez, James Young, and Scott Parmelee
Hernandez-Gutierrez, James Young, and Scott Parmelee

Alberto Hernandez-Gutierrez (above left, 19) was arrested by Boca Police and booked early on the 17th. His reported address is an apartment in Boca Entrada west of 441 near the Broward line.
West Boca’s James Young (above center, 58) was arrested by Boca PD and booked early on the 20th for DUI and for refusing a DUI test after a license suspension. The latter charge suggests a previous DUI and we see what looks like one in the court records from way back in 1997. His reported address is an apartment in Bella Lago near the west end of Boca Del Mar Drive.
Scott Parmelee (right, 44), who may use the nickname Boca Scott, was arrested and booked early on the 22nd by the Sheriff. The charges include DUI, drug equipment, driving with a suspended license. He faces a probation violation due to an incident back in July of 2012 where he was adjudicated guilty of attempted burglary. He was also found guilty on a cocaine charge back in 2006. Parmelee’s reported address is in Boca Country Club northwest of the intersection of Congress and Clint Moore.

WarrenWarren Redlich, founder of West Boca News, is a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer who handles cases in Florida and New York. He has handled many DUI cases and is the author of Fair DUI: Stay Safe and Sane in a World Gone MADD. He can be reached at 888-RED-LAWYER (888-733-5299), or by e-mail at [email protected]. All arrestees are innocent until proven guilty.

West Boca’s Nixon Charlotin (above left, 35) was arrested for DUI by Boca PD and booked in the morning of the 23rd. The Boca blotter shows Florida Highway Patrol was involved, probably because it happened on I-95. His reported address is an apartment in Boca Entrada.
Nicole Melillo (center, 31) was arrested by Delray PD for DUI and booked early on the 22nd. Her reported address is in the Wimbledon Villas near Town Center, and she may work for a health care related company. While she does have some history of traffic tickets dating back to 2004, we see nothing more serious in the county.
Michael Quick (right, 46) was arrested by Boca PD and booked early on the 20th. The charges include DUI and Hit and Run with property damage. Mr. Quick made news back in December when he got caught on camera stealing donations from a church in Boca. We see over 40 cases in the county court system for him dating back to 1997, including 13 felonies.