Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Matt J, Jun 16, 2011.
I agree. This is not "tough love". It is disgusting.
The Sheriff WAS contacted by residents of Cassine the week prior to this incident concerning a man sleeping behind the restroom of the pool area. He left his sleeping bag and other items during the day and apparently came back to sleep at night sometimes. The residents were told by the sheriff's office to leave the sleeping bag in place and to contact them if/when they say him hanging out in that area. Sheriff's deputies began driving through the area at night. Perhaps this scared off the guy, or perhaps he came back in the wee hours of the morning, because residents were never able to catch him sleeping there.
I think it is so sad that something of this magnitude brought the issue of the homeless people to light. The thing that really gets me is that they are allowed to camp on the beach where as if you or I tried to do that at night, they would run us off. I don't think they should be run off, but I think they should have some kind of help whether they like it or not. If having a choice of not being allowed to "live" on the beach and getting help or leave the area with no help, perhaps they would take the help and just maybe, just maybe, get their life back. We see how easy it is for someone that does not get the help they need can suddenly snap. There is no way of predicting what may happen, but there is a way to hopefully prevent anything like this from happening again and that is to keep the beaches free from anyone camping on the beach, as it should be, and giving them a roof of some sort as well as other help that they may need. I am not saying that someone with a home could not snap and do something awful like this, but at least we do not worry the locals or the tourists having them "live" on our (what everyone calls Paradise) beautiful beaches. I would be nervous of anyone camping on the beach at night if I went walking on the beach in the dark at night with just a flashlight. Bottom line - there is no camping on the beach so why are they allowed to stay there. There should be some program to help them. I feel for them, but at the same time, that is not where they belong. Again, I am so upset that it took something as horrible as this to bring this issue to light. Courtney does not have a second chance to be afraid of homeless people or not since the one she encountered made sure of that. I feel so bad for her family and cannot even begin to know how they must fee. Some of us moved here because of the beauty and serenty and safey of SoWa only to have it blakened by this horrific crime. Courtney never got to enjoy the beauty of SoWal. I sure hope someone does what they can to move the homeless from the beaches since no one is allowed to camp on the beach period. Maybe we should all go sleep on the beach one night as a testimony to this problem and someone wll notice. Life is so difficult for everyone right now with the recession and living on the beach is not the answer. They sure have a beautifu view and no bills to pay. I am sure I will get some critical responses to this post. That is not what this is about, it is about keeping this place safe by doing everything we can in our power to possibly prevent some other horrific crime. Perhaps the only good that will come out of Courtney's death is to bring this issue to light. I'm pretty shocked, because I moved here for the people and am really surprised at how judgmental and critical people are to those who post what they don't agree with. So have at it!!!
Sorry that last post was so long. It was not my intention, just an emotional subject!!
I was told that the night before the murder, Steven Cozzie had actually been trespassing at The Retreat. He had been found in the pool house and was chased away by their security. It appears that the residents of Cassine and SoWal law enforcement had been successful at removing him from their neighborhood and he simply moved on and found other places to spend the night the week prior to the incident. Blue Mountain Beach is a long walk from Seagrove.
Blue Mountain, Seagrove, Gul Place, wherever; we all frequent the same areas or at least I do. I would bet that if there were homeless peole living under walkovers in Seaside (because of the high tourist attraction there) they would not be there for long. I almost rented a house in Cassine and stayed there as well as Seagrove (for 30 days) before I landed where I did. I had no preference, just wanted to live in this friendly, beautiful and serene place away from the violence and the stress of the city. I stayed all over 30A until I found a permanent place where I did. This is not about who lives where, etc. it is about 30A itself and what it means to people and why they visit here. This is the last place anyone would have probably thought this would occur. There are bad apples everywhere and no place is perfect, but when I moved here people told me they leave doors unlocked, etc. b/c nothing bad ever happens here. It can happen anywhere and that is why I have always locked my doors no matter what people told me. It is just a sad and horrible situation which myself and I am sure others feel could have been prevented in a number of ways.
Courtney's family is going through a nightmare that will never be over. I think that is all that matters and that we do all we can to prevent something like this from ever happening again without hurting anyone, but helping them when they do not know what is best for themselves. Signing off for good now. I will say one thing before I go, people are very judgmental here and I moved here because I thought they were not and that this would be a peaceful place to live where I could just pay my bills, and live in peace. It is a very clickish place although a very beautiful one. Why can't we have our own opinions without comments about them? I just want to live my life in peace as I am sure Courtney and her family wanted to do here as well.
But a short skateboard or bike ride.
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — A Walton County grand jury has indicted Steven Cozzie on four felony charges, including premeditated murder.
The 22-year-old Seagrove Beach man has been charged with first-degree, premeditated murder, aggravated child abuse, armed kidnapping and sexual battery, according to a news release from the state attorney’s office.
He's pleading "not guilty."
The State has not yet decided whether they will go for the death penalty or not.
So are there anymore recent updates? We are visiting soon and will be staying in Cassine Gardens. One of the draws of this area was the thought of letting my older children have a little more freedom with biking but think that will be out of the question now.
Also, I am not familiar with the Bramble walkover - could someone explain where that is? Any other concerns? Thank you!
Your kids are in far more danger from not having proper lights and helmets while biking or crossing the road than something like this.
Please don't let what happened ruin your vacation. This is a safe are, and Cassine Gardens is great. Kids no matter what age should have parents involved in the decisions about where they roam to anywhere, not just here at the beach. This is a good oppurtunity to school your children about the dangers of talking to strangers, and never going off with them, and being aware of your surroundings at all times. And Scooterbug is right, please have your kids where helmets, have them yield to traffic and use a light on the bikes after dark.
I agree. I would say also that if you have a few kids, talk to them about sticking together...no matter what. No covering for your bro/sister with mom and dad so he/she can go meet someone. It's just not worth it.
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Steven Cozzie, the Seagrove Beach man charged with the murder of 15-year-old Courtney Wilkes, has requested a new court-appointed attorney.
Cozzie, 22, sent a handwritten request to his public defender, Lenny Platteborze, earlier this month requesting that new counsel be appointed “because he does not feel comfortable with his current representation,” according to a motion Platteborze filed last Thursday in Walton County Circuit Court.
In the motion, Platteborze requested a Nelson hearing, at which Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells will decide whether new counsel should be appointed. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Walton County Courthouse.
Read more: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/steven-42218-murder-new.html#ixzz1TOr9qTV0
If he wants a better lawyer, he can hire one himself instead of wasting my tax dollars with these stall tactics.
Private attorneys appointed in Cozzie murder case
September 09, 2011 8:47 PM
Lauren Sage Reinlie
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS —Two private attorneys have been appointed to represent Steven Cozzie, the 22-year-old Seagrove Beach man who is charged with killing a teenage girl last June.
His public defender, Lenny Platteborze, stepped down this week because of a conflict of interest with a witness in the case.
“The public defender’s office represents a material witness in the defendant’s case,” Platteborze said in a document filed in Walton County Circuit Court late last month. “The prosecutor agrees there is a conflict.”
On Thursday, Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells appointed attorneys Sharon Wilson from Pensacola and Jeremy Keich from DeFuniak Springs to represent Cozzie.
The state has said it intends to pursue the death penalty in the case.
Cozzie is charged with the murder of Courtney Wilkes, a 15-year-old girl from Lyons, Ga., who was killed June 16 while she was vacationing in Seagrove Beach with her family.
Wilkes’ body was found in some woods less than five hours after her family last saw her on the beach with Cozzie. She had been strangled with a shirt, badly beaten and sexually assaulted, according to court records.
By the middle of last month, Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore, who is prosecuting the case, had provided Platteborze with lists of at least 100 names of possible witnesses.
The lists include 18-year-old Michael Spencer, who Walton County sheriff’s deputies said led them to Wilkes’ body. Spencer told deputies Cozzie had taken him into the woods to show him what he had done shortly after the killing, according to court records.
Spencer also told deputies that Cozzie had talked about wanting to rape someone several days before the crime, according to court records.
Wilkes’ parents, Cozzie’s mother, employees at a Tom Thumb store near where Wilkes’ body was found and several students at Northwest Florida State College also were on the witness lists.
Copies of DNA evidence reports were provided to Platteborze on Aug. 3, according to court records.
Elmore said he doesn’t expect the change in representation to slow down the case.
“It really to my mind shouldn’t affect it too much,” Elmore said.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15 to determine when both sides will be ready to argue the case.
Read more: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/cozzie-43478-defuniak-murder.html#ixzz1ZRJgU0Q2
Forgot to add my comment, which is, is it common for the public defender to represent witnesses? Is the witness being charged with something?
My guess (just based on the article) is that the witness committed a separate crime and the public defender represented them or is scheduled to.
My question is why not just have that witness get a new lawyer?
The Cozzie trial in the news reminded me of the thread where people were getting all mad about JT. Haven't seen him around in a while. Hope he is well.
He is well. He hangs out in Seaside and my wife sees him often.
Separate names with a comma.