4 charged in detective's killing face judge
Updated On: Apr 24 2012 06:01:50 PM EDT
The man, two women and a 16-year-old who are charged in the death of Clay County Detective David White and the shooting of Detective Matthew Hanlin are ordered held without bail at a brief hearing Tuesday morning.
Jennifer Alder, Jerry Daniels, Chasity Prescott and Ryan Wilder appeared from the Clay County Jail by video monitor.
Sheriff Rick Beseler, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Steven Donaway and State Attorney Angela Corey announced Monday afternoon that the four people who were in the Middleburg home Feb. 16 when Ted Tilley shot both detectives would all be charged with murder.
Tilley was shot and killed by other deputies as he ran out the back of the suspected meth lab, which was being raided by a Clay County Sheriff's Office narcotics team.
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 only with felony drug possession.
"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 of the charges.
On Monday, the murder charges were announced:
- Alder, 38, of Middleburg, a former girlfriend of Tilley, was charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, one county of second-degree murder and trafficking in methamphetamines.
- Prescott, 35, of Middleburg, another former girlfriend of Tilley, was 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, a friend of Tilley's, was 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 now charged with third-degree murder and possession with intent to sell, deliver, manufacture and purchase controlled substances.
Three of the suspects are also charged with murder for Tilley's death.
"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.
While the law allows anyone who was committing a criminal act at the time of a killing to be charged with murder, a lawyer for Alder told Channel 4 that he thinks that first-degree murder is a stretch.
"Right off hand, my first impression is I don't think they can, but again, I don't have complete knowledge of all the facts, so I really need to investigate that and determine whether there's some facts as a basis for that charge," Alder's attorney, Ted Zentner, said.
Public defenders are representing the other suspects.
Beseler said at least one of the suspects from the meth lab 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.
Arraignment for the four suspects was set for 9 a.m. May 23.
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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