Prosecutors charge teen as an adult for crash that killed Ocala couple in February (2024)

The State Attorney's Office has announced it will charge a 17-year-old boy as an adult in the traffic crash that killed a married couple earlier this year.

Here's what we know about that case:

Lawyers: Stuart Hyman of Orlando and Ocala attorney William Ramputi for the defense. Assistant State Attorney Marissa Meyer is prosecuting.

Judge: Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon.

When did the state make its filing decision known? On June 18. Records show the defendant, whose name is withheld by the Star Banner because of his age, was booked into the county jail at 12:11 p.m. June 19 and released at 2:55 a.m. June 20 after posting a $121,000 bond.

Prosecutors charge teen as an adult for crash that killed Ocala couple in February (1)

Where was the teen before his transfer to the county jail? At a juvenile facility.

When was he arrested? June 11.

Did he go to court then? Yes. He appeared in front of Circuit Judge Brad King the morning of June 12. The judge denied bail at that time.

What reasons did the state cite for charging the teen as an adult? The serious nature of the crime, the loss of life, his age, and the need to protect the community.

Charges: Two counts each of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide, and one count of DUI.

Prosecutors charge teen as an adult for crash that killed Ocala couple in February (2)

What happened? Ocala police officials said the boy was driving a Mercedes GLC sport utility vehicle that was speeding along Southeast 36th Avenue when it struck a Mazda from behind. The Mazda struck a concrete utility pole. A man in the car was ejected. His wife was trapped in the vehicle. Both died on scene, officers said.

They were identified as Spencer and Samantha Holden. He was 30 and she was 35.

The boy was transported to a hospital for treatment. The crash occurred in the 1300 block of Southeast 36th Avenue.

Authorities say the SUV was speeding at 127 mph at the time of impact. The speed limit on the roadway is 40 mph. Police say the boy's blood alcohol content was 0.084, which is above the state's legal limit of 0.08.

In other court news:

State v. Tiara Kirkland

Judge: County Judge Robert Landt.

Lawyers: Assistant State Attorney Tucker O'Neil and the Public Defender's Office.

When was Kirkland in court? On June 18. O'Neil told the judge that another judge had denied bail for Kirkland, 44, because she faces a separate charge in another jurisdiction. Landt told Kirkland, of Keystone Heights, who appeared via Zoom from the jail, she was not going to get bail.

About the case: Ocala police officials have charged Kirkland with DUI manslaughter. They say Kirkland was behind the wheel of a car that was traveling south on U.S. 441 on June 12. Two other cars, one in the inside lane, the other in the outside lane, were traveling north on U.S. 441.

Officers said Kirkland's vehicle was turning left onto Northwest 20th Street. One vehicle was able to swerve and avoid hitting Kirkland's car. That vehicle struck a curb, police officials said.

The other vehicle and Kirkland's car collided. Kirkland and the driver of the car that wasn't struck were not injured, authorities said.

Ethan Reeves, 22, of Anthony, a passenger in the car that hit Kirkland's car, died at the scene. The driver, later identified 28-year-old Kendrick Johnson, of Ocala, died June 16 at HCA Florida Ocala Hospital.

What was her blood alcohol content? According to police, it registered at 0.191 and 0.186. The state's legal limit is .08.

What's next? The judge said Kirkland's next court date is July 23 at 9 a.m. This will be her arraignment.

State v. Michael Aaron Patton

Judge: Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon.

Lawyers: Marcus Murden from Orlando for the defense and Assistant State Attorney Tucker O'Neil

When was Patton in court? June 17.

Why? The defense had filed a motion asking the judge to set bail.

What was the outcome? It was denied by the judge. Two months ago, Patton, a sovereign citizen, whose followers don't recognize government authority in several areas, was in court for his trial. The trial was postponed because Patton asked for and received a lawyer to represent him.

At the time, Patton did not have a lawyer. Patton had to sign documents after the hearing. When he refused to sign them properly, the judge held him in contempt and sent him to jail.

What was Patton's original charge? Grand theft and utter forged check.

Where's Patton now? At the county jail. The 50-year-old Brooksville man has been locked up since April 24.

About the case: Patton and his wife, a hom*osassa school teacher, were arrested by Ocala police officials in late 2022 and accused of purchasing two luxury vehicles from separate Ocala dealerships with counterfeit checks. The vehicles were a 2023 BMW X7 and a 2023 GMC 2500 Denali. The total price was close to $200,000.

Patton's wife entered a no contest plea in 2023 and was sentenced to pre-trial diversion, court records show.She completed her obligations in January.

State v. Rosa Ivelisse Kodjafachian

Judge: Circuit Judge Robert Hodges.

Lawyers: Defense lawyer Jack Maro and Assistant State Attorney Laura Hope.

Charge: Secondary metal recycler fail to keep required records.

What happened? According to Maro, after the state presented its case to the jury, he asked the judge for a judgment of acquittal. This is a standard defense move after the state rests its case at trial. This time, the judge agreed with Maro that the state had not proven its case.

With the motion granted, the 46-year-old Ocklawaha woman was found not guilty. She already was out of jail, having previously posted a $40,000 bond.

In court: Judge denies bail for man wounded by a police officer last month

About the case: Kodjafachian was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies in 2021 for allegedly having more than three dozencatalytic converters inside her residence.

Contact Austin L. Miller at austin.miller@starbanner.com

This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: Ocala teen behind wheel of vehicle that killed couple charged as an adult

Prosecutors charge teen as an adult for crash that killed Ocala couple in February (2024)
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