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Ex-Flagler Beach Cop Juratovac Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison in Attempted Murder of Flagler Firefighter

| January 24, 2014

Nathaniel Juratovac looks back at his spouse--a St. Johns County Sheriff;'s deputy--moments after his sentence in a St. Augustine courtroom, and before he was taken into custody. He will serve four years in prison. (c FlaglerLive)

Nathaniel Juratovac looks back at his spouse–a St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputy–moments after his sentence in a St. Augustine courtroom, and before he was taken into custody. He will serve four years in prison. (c FlaglerLive)

Nathaniel Juratovac, the 41-year-old ex-Flagler Beach cop who twice shot an unarmed Flagler County firefighter in what was then termed a road-rage incident by the side of U.S. 1 was sentenced this afternoon to 51 months in prison in a plea agreement. Had he been convicted at trial, he could have faced up to 25 years in prison on the attempted murder charge.

Jared Parkey, the victim–who was shot in the neck and the kidney–was in the courtroom with his wife Ashley. He looked on as the judge read the sentence with neutral expressions. He declined to comment on the sentencing. He has been back at work with Flagler County Fire Rescue, where he’s been employed for seven years.

The shooting took place the evening of last March 29, just before 8 p.m., on Wildwood Drive on U.S. 1, north of the Flagler-St. Johns County line. It followed what one 911 caller had described as a game of chicken between Juratovac and Parkey as they drove north on U.S. 1 in separate cars. Both men were with their spouse. Each couple had a very young child in the car: the Parkeys’ 17-month-old daughter, and Juratovac’s 4-year-old daughter. (See details of the incident here.)

The Parkeys were returning from a family trip in South Florida. Juratovac and his wife, Robin, a deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, had been house-hunting. Juratovac was first to “brake-check” Parkey as they drove north. That triggered the chain of events that culminated in the shooting. Juratovac claimed that, while he started the incident with the brake-check, Parkey escalated it by eventually throwing a water jug out the window and at Juratovac’s car.

“After the water jug was thrown,” a police report stated at the time, “the eyewitness advised both the defendant and the victim’s vehicles collided and pulled off to the side of the roadway. Per eyewitness, after both vehicles came to a stop, the defendant existed his vehicle and walked around to the driver’s side of [Parkey’s] vehicle and shot the victim.”

After being run off the roadway, Parkey had told an investigator after the shooting, when he was at Shands hospital in Jacksonville, Parkey “immediately got out and walked to the rear of his vehicle and was confronted” by Juratovac, according to a police report. Parkey described seeing Juratovac “holding a gun with his arms straight out, in a ‘shooting stance.’ The victim stated to law enforcement that he was unarmed and his arms were in an outward direction, clearly indicating he had nothing in his hands when the defendant shot him.”

At the sentencing in St. Augustine, Juratovac spoke briefly, but only to say that he acted that night as, he claimed, any father or husband would act in defense of his family. “I’m at peace my with decision, and my family is safe today,” Juratovac said. His tone was even. He did not proffer any apologies or contrition. He avoided all eye contact with his victim. Restitution checks were part of the plea deal.

Assistant State Attorney Russ Bausch of the 18th Judicial District in Brevard County, prosecuted the case, because Juratovac’s situation as an ex-cop in Flagler Beach and his wife Robin as a current cop in St. Johns would have created a conflict of interest for prosecutors in the 7th Judicial Circuit, which covers St. Johns and Flagler. (Bausch was the prosecutor in the case that ended with the sentencing to prison last year of Jamesine Fischer in the hit-and-run death in Palm Coast of 76-year-old Francoise Pecqueur; Bausch was brought into the case because of local conflicts of interests with then-Sheriff Don Fleming, who had involved himself in the case.)

St. Augustine attorney Patrick Canan defended Juratovac.

Canan before the sentencing told Judge J. Michael Traynor that Juratovac “wanted to be able to talk to a jury and have a jury decide but the risk was too high.” Canan said that prosecuting and sentencing Juratovac under the attempted murder guidelines was unfair because Juratovac had never intended that day to find a victim and terrorize him, or shoot him. “Nathaniel Juratovac and his wife and his daughter were not looking to commit a crime that day, they were out looking at a house and they did not look for a family to terrorize,” the attorney said, then blaming Parkey for escalating the situation that had begun with Juratovac’s brake-checking.

Bausch, one of the state’s most skillful and seasoned prosecutors, countered Canan’s claims point by point.

“I didn’t know we were going to try the case here at the sentencing today, I thought we had all agreed what we were going to do,” Bausch said. “Mr Juratovac intended to shoot Mr. Parkey, he shot him twice, OK?” There was no question about those intentions when Juratovac pulled over and retrieved his gun, Bausch said.

He described the shots in the neck and the kidney area that Parkey sustained in terms familiar to cops, who call such shots, according to Bausch, “a double tap, in other words officers are trained to shoot like that.” Juratovac was putting his training to work that evening. “So the intent was there to put Mr. Parkey down and on the ground and in his grave,” Bausch said. “Make no mistake that this was not anything other than an intentional act.”

Juratovac, Bausch said, also had the ability to “get away from all this.” His wife, as a deputy, “never pulled her weapon out, she never saw the need to pull her weapon out, so you’ve got somebody there on the scene who’s also in law enforcement, Mr. Juratovac used to be in law enforcement, who never saw the necessity to pull her weapon out.”

Traynor had little interest in debating the matter. “The status of the law is what it is,” he said. “It’s not my job to make new law. It’s not my job to criticize or not to criticize. It’s my job to apply the law.”

He then added, with a stunning degree of equivalence that, in that moment, seemed to judge both men equally responsible for the outcome–as if reckless driving was equivalent to the shooting of a gun at an unarmed civilian–that it was “the actions of two people that day created a danger” not only to others in the two cars involved but to the public at large. He made the equivalence even more explicit: “We wouldn’t be in this situation today if two people hadn’t acted irresponsibly and recklessly on the highway.”

Juratovac was then sentenced to 51 months in prison, with credit for 84 days served (he posted bail on $300,000 bond), nine months of community control and five years’ probation, plus $618 in court costs.

Juratovac had repeatedly been in the news for the past decade, going back to his twin arrests of Lisa Tanner, the daughter of then State Attorney John Tanner, in a case that snowballed into a scandal involving jail-guard brutality at the Flagler County jail, numerous charges against police and deputies–including charges of perjury and falsifying documents against Juratovac, whom Lisa Tanner also accused of leering at her while she was in detention–and the interventions of two state attorneys’ investigations before most of the charges were dropped or reduced to apologies. Juratovac left the Flagler Beach Police Department and eventually started his own business.

When an ordinary felon is sentenced in Flagler County, at least two bailiffs stand nearby, including one behind him at all times, and both bailiffs then stand near him as he is finger-printed and swabbed for DNA, handcuffed, then escorted out, never being left alone. The handling of Juratovac was considerably less strict, with just one bailiff finger-printing him, leaving him alone at the fingerprinting station for a considerable amount of time–without handcuffs–bantering with him as if it were a routine transaction, then walking him briefly out of the courtroom, on a side door where convicted felons are usually taken, but leaving him there and telling him simply, “someone will come and get you.” Juratovac was handcuffed only at the last moment before being walked out of the courtroom, and with his hands in front of, not behind him.

“Take care of my baby,” he yelled out to his wife before he was escorted out.

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19 Responses for “Ex-Flagler Beach Cop Juratovac Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison in Attempted Murder of Flagler Firefighter”

  1. m&m says:

    You know what they do to ex-cops in prisons?? That may be some pay back..

    • joe basart says:

      they do nothing to them they go to protective custody .one cell with another cop or a snitch look it up and stop watching movies reading is essential.

      BY the way only a coward shoots and unarmed man and four years for attempted murder really ?come one a regular citizen with one petty theft charge would get ten years or better .

      To cops who risk your lives everyday and do the right thing .i salute you

      Dont keep the code cause the code is making you all look bad .

      And to the judge shame on you

  2. truth monitor says:

    Now let’s see what Jared Parky will be charged with due to his idiotic actions.

    • Just a thought says:

      Parky received his punishment. His sentence was two gun shots. He lost his cool and paid the price. Now let him be with his family.

    • jp says:

      Getting shot in the neck and kidney wasn’t enough? lol

    • A.S.F. says:

      @truth monitor says–Let’s just say that your comment is in questionable taste (to say the least.) No one deserves to get shot twice for a stupid petty thing like this, let alone getting shot in front of his family.

      • truth monitor says:

        @”just a thought and ASF. Thank you for your comments. I was looking at things in a different view.
        I still believe that Jared’s actions escalated this terrible situation.I was not present at the scene and no one else who posted comments were. I am sure that this story will not end soon and hopefully more facts will be released.

  3. confidential says:

    Same Jurotavac as mentioned in the links below…finally after so many times getting away with his abuses justice was done.
    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2006-12-19/news/TANNER19_1_lisa-tanner-arrests-flagler
    http://flaglerlive.com/13083/lisa-tanner-sheriff-brutality/

    Further more sinister things took place in 2006 like the death of Kevin Henderson, wife and daughter labeled murder suicide… with plastic bags over their heads tie to their necks…?

  4. A.S.F. says:

    This sentence is a disgrace. What kind of message does it send? If you are a cop, if your spouse is a cop, you get treated more leniently if you commit criminal acts? He shouts to his wife to take care of his baby when he is led out of court? Where was his concern for his child when he got out of his car and shot another human being? And his own words show that he is not in the least bit sorry (except, perhaps for himself.) He obviously won’t take repsonsibility, nor has he learned anything–except that he can count on being treated better than anyone else, just by virtue of having once been a cop. Disgusting!

  5. Seeing Red says:

    Disgusting show of “blueline” favoritism ! The creep should have gotten 25 years. Did I mention DISGUSTING ?

  6. Genie says:

    At least one cop didn’t get away with rage. Three in Fullerton CA beat a defenseless homeless man to death on camera…..and were acquitted. The same is happening everywhere.

    These men are not what they used to be. Many of them are killing and getting away with it.

    .

  7. confidential says:

    I knew Kevin Henderson, wife and their daughter Cory for a number of years. They were always involved helping the community. They were both very active members in organizations like the Flagler Chamber of Commerce were he was a past Chairman, Belinda his wife was a member for many years of the Flagler Auditorium Board and she provided a bus transportation for the elderly that no longer drove, to go see the Auditorium shows…that was called the Broadway Shows bus. They were also sponsoring organizations like the Big Brothers Big Sisters and others.
    They took their pet dog Leona to the same groomer I took mine for years. Very few days before their murder they took Leona to the groomer as usual they did and were both very normal. Their groomer could not believe it either the “suicide part of it” of the tragedy in the news. Kevin and Belinda adored their daughter will never harm her in my wildest dreams. I saw their love for her since she was a 5 year old and her father will take her along to the FCOC and business events often.
    Also Kevin was seeing by a local resident doing his normal routing in the gym he frequented just few days before found murdered. If I remember well a year or less of their murder day, during the Flagler County Sheriff election campaign they published a one full color add page in the News Journal “supporting Sheriff Manfre” (that lost to Fleming) and this can be proven.
    Not a word was mentioned about how their dog Leona was found in the apartment being with her dead owners for few days on it..maybe no sufficient water or food? The dog was in the apartment because one of her neighbors saw Belinda older daughter taking ir away. A known member of the community then undermined the memory of this family stating that Kevin used to flash money around and show off all the time in also flashing limousines to the community events. I never saw that in the many years I knew this family or Kevin…totally fabricated story to match the rigged findings. Maybe this member of the community like others were affected by the stock market and investments gone sour for many of us then to no fault of our investments advisors….but by the Wall Street manipulation. At least two local financial advisors I known about the time told me that were concerned about the stock market down and the complaints they endure from their customers that make it hard for them. One left the practice for real estate, the other firm left Palm Coast because “peculiarly their office was engulfed in fire in the middle of the night” and this broker also did not believe the Henderson’s “suicide” but said we are safer quiet, look what happened to our office.
    Yes the Henderson’s were financial advisors but in the last two years or more Belinda after selling her shop in Palm Coast settled it in Volusia County and was a business insurance advisor no longer in financial investments. I believe that some of us take the stock market roller coaster as it comes, few may get back to their investment advisors with avengeance…specially if the advisor and family reside in a luxury restricted access condo. These are my reasons to believe in a sinister collution.

  8. confidential says:

    Very peculiar to say the least.

    Detective Steve Cole, head of the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division, said the preliminary reports “indicate both died of strangulation”. An autopsy on their daughter, 12-year-old Cori Henderson, is scheduled for Monday, police said.
    http://staugustine.com/stories/072406/news_072406022.shtml

  9. Confused says:

    Parkey and Ashley are wonderful and caring people. He is a great father and friend. They didn’t deserve this to happen to them. I thank god that our friend was lucky enough to not be injured more than he was. This EX-cop has psychological issues and hopefully they will be taken care of in jail. Hopefully he will find a nice man to take care of him.

    Stay strong Parkey – we love you

  10. Nancy N. says:

    An arrogant guy like that will never manage 9 months community control and 5 years probation (or even half that if he tries to make it to early termination) without messing up and getting more time. He better get an attitude adjustment while he’s locked up.

  11. Howard Duley says:

    WOW, did this guy get off easy. It doesn’t seem right. If it wasn’t for luck it would have been a murder charge. What’s wrong with the prosecutors. Can’t they get convictions with a trial?

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