4 charged in deputy's murder, 3 will be in court today
Updated On: Apr 24 2012 06:26:45 AM EDT
At least three out of the four suspects who are charged in the murder of Clay County Detective David White and the shooting of Detective Matthew Hanlin are scheduled to be in court Tuesday morning. The 4th suspect is a 16-year-old and will also be in court if he is not still in the juvenile holding facility.
Sheriff Rick Beseler, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Steven Donaway and State Attorney Angela Corey announced Monday afternoon that Jennifer Alder, Jerry Daniels, Chasity Prescott and Ryan Wilder were each charged in connection with the shootings.
"It doesn't make it any easier for us to go on without David, but it's an appropriate step towards bringing this to an end," Beseler said.
After the Feb. 16 raid, Beseler identified Ted Tilley, 36, as the gunman who shot both detectives as they came in the front door of the house. He was shot and killed that night by other deputies as he ran out the back of the house.
While everyone who was in the house at the time was questioned, the only person taken into custody that night was 16-year-old Daniels. At the time, he was charged with felony drug possession.
The charges announced Monday include:
- Alder, 38, of Middleburg, was a former girlfriend of Tilley. She is charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, one county of second-degree murder and trafficking in methamphetamines.
- Daniels, of Middleburg, is the son of Prescott. In addition to the drug charge filed the night of the killings, he is charged with third-degree murder and possession with intent to sell, deliver, manufacture and purchase controlled substances.
- Prescott, 35, of Middleburg, is another former girlfriend of Tilley and mother of Daniels. She is charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, one county of second-degree murder, trafficking in methamphetamines and burglary.
- Wilder, 30, of Orange Park, was a friend of Tilley's. He is charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, one county of second-degree murder and trafficking in methamphetamines.
"In this particular case, we have both an innocent police officer killed, which accounts for first-degree murder, and then we have one of the bad guys killed. That accounts for second-degree felony murder," Corey said.
Beseler said while the three adults were released after being questioned that night, at least one of the suspects continued to buy chemicals and make meth after the raid.
"We kept pretty close tabs on them the entire time and it made it fairly easy to locate them when the warrants were actually signed and take them down," Beseler said.
Authorities say 14 grams of meth and other firearms were found inside the house. The FDLE investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.
A neighbor who asked not to be identified was shocked by the allegations.
"I cannot believe that. I don't even know what to say, to know they're our neighbors," said the neighbor. "When you think it's miles away and then you find out that your neighbors are part of it, that's very, very concerning."
The father of Alder didn't answer questions when Channel 4 showed up at his home.
"Can you come back another time? We're dealing with a lot right now, trying to figure things out. We need some space right now," he said.
Channel 4 Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson said prosecutors need to be methodical with their case.
"Make sure they apply the correct charges on every account," he said. "You have to have all your ducks in a row so when you get to court, your case will be solid."
White was the first Clay County deputy to be killed in the line of duty in nearly 40 years. Hanlin was shot in the arm and is recovering.
White is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two children.
"Jennifer White is so appreciative of all the support that has come from the community and the Sheriff's Office and is grateful to know the people who are ultimately responsible for her husband's death are now going to be held accountable," Beseler said.
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