It’s been a sluggish fall term in Dade Superior Court, with most cases continued and not much going before juries.
The case of Charles “Charlie” Wooten did in fact find its way before a judge and jurors on Tuesday. Wooten was found guilty on three charges: possession of methamphetamine, for which he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and a $2500 fine; possession of marijuana, less than one ounce, for which he was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement; and theft by receiving stolen property, for which he got 10 years. Two additional charges for possession of a controlled substance were not prosecuted.
Wooten is to serve those sentences concurrently and all on probation, subject to substance abuse evaluations.
Another case against Wooten, for reckless driving and attempting to elude an officer, is also scheduled for this term but has not yet been heard.
The trial of his son, Charles Kevin Wooten (right), also scheduled for this October, has been continued until Dade’s Superior’s April term. Wooten had recently hired a new attorney, Leah Davis Madden, who needed time to prepare a defense.
The younger Wooten faces a laundry list of drug trafficking charges as well as traffic infractions and a count of receiving stolen property.
The Planet has already reported yet another deferment of the trial of former Dade Sheriff Patrick Cannon. Another trial of local interest that, like Cannon’s, will also not happen this fall is that of Daniel Snyder.
Snyder (left) is accused of theft by taking, DUI, open container violation and giving false identification information to the law. The charges stem from Snyder’s alleged midnight ride the week before Christmas in a vehicle not his that wound him up in a place he wasn’t supposed to be, where a homeowner opened fire on him.
That homeowner, Wildwood’s Danny Hall, was subsequently charged with assault for his part in the events of that evening.
Snyder and Hall (right) would presumably have had a chance to tell their own versions of what happened that December night at each other’s trials. But Snyder, a resident of Indiana, did not show up for calendar call. A bench warrant was issued and a bond forfeiture hearing has been scheduled for next February.
As for the case against Danny Hall, it has not yet been dismissed or otherwise resolved yet; but the October term is still in session.
Another case The Planet was following from the 2016 holiday season was resolved in Dade Superior Court’s spring term but until now managed to elude The Planet’s gimlet eye: Maksimilian Bazelyuk (right) entered a negotiated guilty plea in April for several serious charges stemming from a hit-and-run accident on I-24 that injured two teens last Thanksgiving night.
Bazelyuk, who was 22 at the time of the incident, was originally reported as charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident, but those charges were no longer on the official record. Instead, he pled guilty to reckless driving and two charges of serious injury by vehicle, while hit-and-run and other traffic charges were listed as not prosecuted.
According to traffic reports, the accident happened on eastbound I-24 when Bazelyuk veered onto the shoulder to pass a vehicle in the right-hand lane. He struck the guardrail and ricocheted into the vehicle, which tumbled down the embankment, injuring its two young occupants. Bazelyuk continued eastward but was later arrested on I-59 when a Dade officer identified his damaged vehicle as matching one described as involved in the I-24 accident.
Bazelyuk was sentenced to 15 years on both of the injury-by-vehicle charges and 12 months for the reckless driving, all to be served concurrently, and all but six months on probation.
Another holiday arrestee also entered a guilty plea this October term. Brandon Bettis (right), then 26, led Dade deputies down a dirt road in North Dade during a bumpy chase after speeding away from a traffic stop on Dec. 15, then slammed into a patrol car and knocked over one of the deputies as he tried to escape. The officers fired shots to disable his car, and no one was hurt.
Bettis pled guilty to a dozen charges including aggravated assault against law officers, attempting to elude, bringing stolen property into the state and driving on a suspended license. He has not yet been sentenced.
The October court term continues this week and the next, when Superior Court Clark Kathy Page says she believes more cases may be heard. She was unable to predict or guess which ones, though.