In the first full day of Deviaun Toler’s trial on first degree felony charges of aggravated child abuse, his defense attorney said Toler disciplined his 20-month-old son the way he’d been disciplined when he was a child, and argued that the child had suffered from a stroke, not a skull fracture inflicted by Toler.
Flagler, Palm Coast & Other Local
Keith Johansen, 39, is accused of murdering his wife Brandi Celenza at their F-Section home in Palm Coast in 2018. In opening arguments at his trial this morning, his attorney, discarding previous defenses of suicide or an accidental shooting, said it was self-defense, because Celenza had pointed a gun at Johansen.
Rymfire was again locked down early this afternoon when authorities got a call from a child reporting the same claim as seven weeks ago: a shooting in a classroom–the same classroom that had been the supposed location of the shooting in early September.
Deviaun Toler, 29, is on trial on four charges of child abuse, two of them first-degree felony aggravated child abuse charges, and faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted. He objected to the make-up of a jury of four men and four women, all white but one.
One of the more high-profile trials of the last few years in Flagler–Court TV will be covering it–the case hinges on indirect evidence. The admissibility of some of that evidence has yet to be decided. The prosecution has surveillance video clips from inside the house graphically revealing sexual situations underscoring infidelities cleaving the couple’s relationship on one hand and Johansen’s violent temper, threats and racism on the other.
What would under most circumstances been a five-minute discussion, if that, turned into a rehash of prosecutorial accusations, recriminations and seemingly vain explanations that underscored how far board members now diverge from each other, whether on matters of fact or perception.
They are two of the most lurid, high-profile, long-lasting cases on the felony docket of Flagler County’s court: Keith Johansen, 39, faces a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of his wife Brandi Celenza. Deviaun Antriel Toler, 29, faces two counts of first-degree aggravated child abuse. Life in prison is at stake for the relatively young defendants in both cases. And today, both cases were set for trial the week of October 25.
Florida’s sentencing guidelines statute details the primary purpose of sentencing is to punish, not to rehabilitate. Honor demands vengeance. Respect commands justice. Two significantly different approaches.
In an effort to stem heart attacks in young athletes–about 3 percent of athletes are at risk–AdventHealth is sponsoring the first free ECG screening for local high school athletes next week, and will ask the Flagler County School Board to make the screenings mandatory by next year. There are some 900 athletes participating in dozens of sports in the two high schools.
Marion Leo Gavins Jr., 20, pleaded guilty today and was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the murder of Curtis Gray, 18, in April 2019 outside a smoke shop in Palm Coast, a killing that shook the Flagler Palm Coast High and Matanzas High communities and that led his mother to create an enduring non-profit in Gray’s name.
In February 2020, some 46,560 Flagler residents held jobs. In September, 46,653 did so, the highest-ever number of jobs recorded in the county’s history. The figure does not represent job creation in the county, but rather the number of residents holding jobs anywhere.
The cases against Bob Newshomle, long-time owner and operator of Flagler Tax Services, began emerging soon after he shot himself in an apparent suicide attempt in August. The Sheriff’s Office was overwhelmed with complaints about Newsholme’s tax business, resulting in allegations of grand theft, organized scheme to defraud, and embezzlement.
Hammock Harbour, the controversial plan for a 240-boat dry-storage facility next to Hammock Hardware in the Scenic A1A corridor, is moving forward with a new development application within the month despite recent hurdles, its developer says. And the parcel is up for sale with a $5 million price tag. It was purchased just three years ago for $850,000.
The satiric barbs of “Urinetown” come fast and furious, taking aim at fascism, capitalism, authoritarianism, corporate greed, police brutality, political corruption, abuse of the poor, and the tensions between personal freedoms versus societal good. “Everywhere you turn, it’s poking fun at something,” says Director John Sbordone.
Preserve Flagler Beach and Bulow Creek, the group opposing The Gardens development along John Anderson Highway, is asking the Fifth District Court of Appeal to quash a decision by Circuit Judge Terence Perkins that found the County Commission acted within the law when it cleared the development in November 2020.
Glasgow sits proudly on the banks of the river Clyde, once the heart of Scotland’s industrial glory and now a launchpad for its green energy transition. It’s a fitting host for the United Nations’ climate conference, COP26, where world leaders will be discussing how their countries will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.
Florida and Beyond
ADHD affects more than 6 million U.S. children. People who have ADHD develop symptoms by age 12, and it usually continues into adolescence and young adulthood. The condition can affect people throughout their whole life.
All eyes on the courthouse as the week begins with jury selection in a pair of high-profile trials–Keith Johansen on a charge of first degree murder in the death of Brandi Celenza, his wife, in 2018, and Deviaun Antriel Toler on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated child abuse.
By James Colgrove The ongoing battles over Covid-19 vaccination in the U.S. are likely to get more heated when the Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use of a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, expected later this fall. California has announced it will require the vaccine for elementary school attendance once it receives full FDA […]
Briefs and Releases
More Florida and Beyond
The Biden administration is turning its back on offshore drilling rigs such as Deepwater Horizon. Instead, it’s planning for wind farms along the entire coastline. When it comes to wind, though, Florida is known more for its balmy breezes than any steady gusts that would make wind turbines an energetic proposition.
The African American Cultural Society is celebrating its 30th Anniversary at 4 p.m. with a plated dinner in the society’s recently renovated Founders Gallery. City Repertory Theatre’s production of “Urinetown” has a matinee.
We still need to be wary of health consequences, despite the absence of strong links between screen time and children’s health. The researchers–the study involved almost 12,000 nine-to-ten-year-olds from 24 diverse sites across the United States–suggested screen time was not a direct cause of depression or anxiety and was linked to improved peer relations, but their findings came with caveats.
“Urinetown” at City Repertory Theatre, the Stetson Symphonic Band in concert, Richard Flanagan’s unknown terrorist on people’s love of the Devil.
At the center of the current conflict between Trump and the congressional committee is the status of presidential papers: Are they public or private? If they’re in the National Archives, they’re not necessarily private. Ex-presidents do not have the ability as former presidents to assert blanket executive privilege.
Unemployment figures are released this morning, “Urinetown” at City Repertory Theatre, a discussion of domestic violence on WNZF’s Free For All Fridays, Bach at the Jacksonville Symphony, and the vanished Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, and a little touch of Caligula.
The founders agreed on one principle: They were unrelenting on the notion that circumstances often emerge that require public officials to pass acts that abridge individual freedoms. Even George Washington forced his troops to be vaccinated.
Gov. Ron DeSantis called Thursday for a special legislative session next month to erect roadblocks against Covid-19 vaccination mandates being advanced by the White House. Democrats criticized DeSantis over his call for a special session, noting that the state’s economic rebound was bolstered by companies such as Disney, which is requiring employees to be vaccinated. Democrats also described DeSantis’ requested legislation as “anti-business.”