ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
82°
Mostly Sunny
H 94° L 77°
  • clear-night
    82°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Sunny. H 94° L 77°
  • clear-day
    94°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Sunny. H 94° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    94°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 97° L 78°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Latest from Stephanie Brown

    Some 20 hours after it had to be shut down because of a massive wildfire burning on the Northside, I-95 has reopened between I-295 and SR 200. All southbound lanes and two of the three northbound lanes are now open for traffic. The Florida Highway Patrol says it is possible there could be closures again later, as conditions warrant. The Yellow Bluff Fire has now burned around 600 acres, including coming right up near I-95. The fire is causing heavy smoke that can, at time, limit visibility on roads in the area. The Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville says their efforts to contain this fire are limited by the marshy conditions in that area. Current containment is around 30%, but they continue to work on the ground to put in fire lines, and in the air by dropping water. The aim is to box the fire in, between I-95 and US 17, with dozers drawing a line on the south edge and specialized equipment putting in a line in the marsh on the north end. This all comes ahead of a very busy travel weekend. The Jacksonville International Airport is telling passengers to leave extra time both for their commute, and for getting through security. If closures happen again, the First Alert Traffic Team says US 17, Lem Turner or New Kings to State Road 200 in Callahan, or Heckscher to A1A then up to SR 200 are your alternates, but because so much traffic has been funneled on to those roads, you should expect heavy delays there are well.  Because of the backups, there were several reports of cars running out of gas in the delays. Our partner Action News Jax also found at least one gas station in Yulee that ran out of regular gas, because of the high demand. This is a developing story that will be updated through the afternoon.
  • The VA estimates 20 veterans take their own lives each day. It’s a tragedy that WOKV is shining the spotlight on, with the hope of reaching veterans in crisis- or anyone who knows a veteran that is struggling- and connecting them with help. FULL VIDEO: RESOURCES: -Veterans Crisis Line:  Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or  chat online. VA responders are available through this Crisis Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a confidential conversation. -Searchable resources: Find clinical care, counseling, and other resources near you. -Community Resource and Referral Center: This VA resource is open to walk-ins on weekdays from 8:30AM through 4:30PM for assistance with housing, mental health, substance abuse, nutrition, social services, peer support, and more. You can reach the Jacksonville CRRC at 904-798-2800. -North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System: VA care in the local region. -City of Jacksonville Military Affairs and Veterans Department: Free assistance in claiming VA benefits, employment, housing and utility payments -K9s For Warriors: Providing service dogs to veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and/or Military Sexual Trauma as a result of military service post-9/11. -Wounded Warrior Project: Empowering veterans who suffered a physical or mental injury, illnesses, or wound, in military service on or after 9/11. -Five Star Veterans Center: Safe housing, health and wellness services, family reunification, education help, and job preparedness. -Northeast Florida Women Veterans: Ensuring female veterans transition into the civilian community with the tools they need to become self-sufficient. -Operation New Uniform: Career training and skill development. -Onward to Opportunity: Free, comprehensive career skills program that provides civilian career training, professional certifications and job placement support to transitioning service members. These are just a few of the organizations that represent a range of resources for veterans- from emergency assistance for those in crisis, to housing and employment for those transitioning in to civilian life. If you know an organization that should be added to this list, please contact WOKV’s Stephanie Brown at stephanie.brown@coxinc.com.
  • A wildfire is burning in the Yellow Bluff area of Jacksonville’s Northside. Here is the latest information: Saturday 5/25, 7:05 PM: Containment of this fire has been boosted to 60%. The Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville says there are only minimal smoke impacts right now to the highway. Saturday 5/25, 1:10 PM: A small fire is being tended to west of I-95, around where the Yellow Bluff Fire is burning to the east of the highway. Saturday 5/25, 10:15 AM: This fire has burned a little more than 600 acres, and the Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville says containment is 55%. Friday 5/24 9:51 PM: The Yellow Bluff Fire is now said to be 50% contained according to City of Jacksonville’s Emergency Preparedness Division and EOC. At last update, it was only 30% contained. Friday 5/24, 2:10PM: The Yellow Bluff Fire is now 600 acres and still 30% contained, according to the Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville. FFS Jacksonville says they are working to build a box around the fire, with I-95 on the west, US 17 on the east, a dozer line on the south, and a wet line on the north. Until those lines are complete and the fire has burned all fuel within the boundaries, there will continue to be smoke and ash affecting the area. Only one lane of I-95 NB a few miles north of Pecan Park remains closed. All other NB and SB lanes of I-95 are open. Friday 5/24, 12PM: The Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville is calling in more resources to help contain the Yellow Bluff Fire Friday 5/24, 10:30AM: Two lanes of I-95 northbound and all lanes of I-95 southbound are now open. Friday 5/24, 10:30AM: All lanes of I-95 southbound are now open, northbound lanes remain closed. Friday 5/24, 7AM: As a wildfire continues to burn near the Duval-Nassau county line, I-95 has been closed in both directions, between  I-295 in northern Duval County to SR-200 in Yulee.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says your detour for I-95 northbound is I-295 east to U.S. 17/Main Street or I-295 west to Lem Turner or New Kings Road.  For I-95 southbound, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office suggests SR-200 to U.S. 17. The Florida Forest Service says the Yellowbluff Fire is now more than 450 acres in size and, as of Friday morning, 30% contained.
  • The Co-owner and Director of the Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool & Academy on the Westside has been arrested in connection to the investigation of a baby who died when she was left in the facility’s van for more than four hours. Jail records show Darryl Ewing has been arrested for child neglect. He was booked in to the Duval County Jail at 8:18 PM. A biography on the preschool’s  website identifies him as the director, but JSO calls him the co-owner of the facility. An infant died Wednesday, after being found unconscious and not breathing in a car seat in the back of the preschool’s van. This evening, JSO is giving more insight on what they say is Ewing’s role. JSO says the facility offers pickups for children, although the Florida Department of Children and Families says they weren’t informed of that, so they weren’t monitoring transportation regulations. On Wednesday. JSO says Ewing was the driver of the van and sole staff member on board. After picking up children, police say he got to the preschool around 8:25 AM and the children offloaded. A four-month-old was left in a car seat in the third row of the van, though. It wasn’t until the baby’s mother called a little after 1 PM to make after-school arrangements that police say the preschool realized the little girl hadn’t been checked in. JSO says the driver’s log kept by Ewing showed he noted two siblings of the baby, but not the victim herself. Police say the facility’s employees told them it is the van driver who is responsible for ensuring all children get off the van. A sign on the door of the preschool shows they intend to be closed through Monday. DCF says they are working to issue an emergency suspension that would force the facility to suspend operations. JSO says Ewing’s actions failed to provide the victim appropriate supervision, which ultimately contributed to her death.  Ewing refused to talk with detectives, according to JSO. Jail records show Ewing has multiple prior arrests dating back to 2008 but as recent as 2014, for driving or operating a vehicle without a valid license. He was designated a habitual traffic offender through these arrests. Police say this investigation is still active.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families is working to suspend operations at a Westside preschool, after a baby girl was left in the facility’s van for five hours, and died. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool & Academy picks up some of their children, but this morning, an infant was left in a car seat in the back of the facility’s van. That was around 8 AM, and it wasn’t until around 1 PM that JSO says the baby was found unconscious and not breathing. She was taken to the hospital, but died. “Every day, parents entrust child care providers with their most precious gifts. Tragically, today a family has just been notified of the gut-wrenching loss of their precious baby girl,” says a statement from DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. Poppell says DCF has opened a joint child death and child care licensing investigation, as it also works with law enforcement. They have started the administrative process of getting an emergency suspension order to stop operations at the facility. DCF additionally says the preschool did not notify them that they were transporting children, so transportation standards were not being monitored. Some of those standards include maintaining a driver’s log of each child that includes verification that each has left the vehicle, conducting a physical inspection of the vehicle to ensure no child is left behind, and having a second staff member perform similar verifications. The most recent inspection of this preschool took place last month, and there were no violations, according to online records. Overall, since the preschool was licensed in 2016, they have not had any Class I violations- which are the most serious- two Class II violations, and 13 Class III violations. At this time, no arrests have been made in connection to the baby’s death today. JSO says they’re working with the State Attorney’s Office to determine what charges are appropriate in this case and if any charges will be filed.
  • A one-time IB program teacher at Terry Parker High School has now pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography online. Jordan Schemmel changed his plea in federal court today, and now faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. He will also be required to register as a sex offender, and he may have a life term of supervised release. Schemmel was first arrested in October, and he initially pleaded not guilty to the charge. The criminal complaint says Schemmel had used Kik and seen things that were illegal, but said he removed himself from those groups. He also allegedly admitted to using Grindr, but said he would report any user he didn’t believe was over 18-years-old. The criminal complaint says Schemmel did ultimately admit to sending a video to someone on Kik- who was actually an undercover agent. He also allegedly told investigators he had other images and videos of child porn on his phone. The US Attorney’s Office says a total of 106 images and 28 videos showing the sexual abuse of a young child were found on Schemmel’s phone and thumbdrive. The court records show Schemmel said he knew child pornography was wrong, and he had tried unsuccessfully to stop himself, but he believed it was an addiction. The criminal complaint says Schemmel previously taught in both Duval and St. Johns counties. At the time of his arrest, the Duval County Public School District said they would remove Schemmel from any contact with students pending the outcome of an internal investigation, if he were to be released from prison. DCPS says Schemmel resigned his position in January, pending disciplinary action. Schemmel’s sentencing date is not immediately available.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is crediting multiple witnesses for helping their investigation of a double shooting in March, which has now led to an arrest. 19-year-old Cashmere Bland is accused of a robbery and shooting that happened on Atlantic Blvd. on March 16th. Police say Bland walked up to a vehicle with two people he knew inside, robbed the driver, and then opened fire. The driver was killed and the passenger was shot, but survived. Bland has been arrested for murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office confirms an infant has died, after being left in a preschool van for about five hours. The investigation is centered on Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool & Academy on Lenox Avenue. JSO says a little girl who’s only a few months old was not breathing when she was found in a car seat in the back of the van around 1PM. It’s believed she had been there since 8AM, when she was picked up by the preschool and taken to the facility. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department tried to resuscitate the infant at the scene, according to JSO. She was transported to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, but JSO says she has died. The preschool has 14 children at this time. None of the other children were hurt. JSO says they are meeting with the State Attorney’s Office to determine what charges are appropriate in this case, and whether those will be filed. No arrests have been made at this time. Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool & Academy is inspected by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Online records show the most recent inspection was last month, and there were no violations found. This is a developing story that will be updated in to the afternoon.
  • Through ShotSpotter, the Real Time Crime Center, the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, and other tools, there has been an investment in Jacksonville in technology that’s intended to aid the fight against violent crime. Now, the city has launched the Crime Gun Intelligence Center, where all of that information and the human resources that can piece it together will work every day. “It sounds very simple, but that’s a big step, so we can be efficient in how we do this work,” says Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams. Housed in the State Attorney’s Office in Downtown and built with one-million dollars from the City, the CGIC serves as the home base for several dozen employees from JSO, the ATF, and the SAO. The space is lined with white boards and filled with cubicles and meeting rooms, including one that prominently displays a “Violent Crime Dashboard”. That dashboard is put together daily by JSO analysts and shows incidents of violent crime, people and addresses connected to that type of activity, and other factors that JSO says they want to have front of mind at all times. This CGIC concept has already rolled out in other jurisdictions around the country, and includes several full-time assigned ATF agents. ATF Acting Deputy Director Regina Lombardo says their focus is two-fold: NIBIN, which process, tracks, and finds connections among ballistic evidence; and tracing capabilities that allow them to go after the traffickers who put guns on the street, and the people who pull the trigger. She says bringing those capabilities to this CGIC will make a big impact. “The shared purpose is to reduce violent crime, the shared purpose is to make the country safe from violent crime, violent gun crime,” Lombardo says. Jacksonville already uses NIBIN, and in fact has two sets of equipment to process that evidence and get timely results. The City has also been increasingly looking at technology to aid in investigations, including ShotSpotter to alert to gunshots, and the new Real Time Crime Center, which brings together different data sources to a uniform system and provides searchable video in conjunction with that information. One of those data feeds- City surveillance- is going through a big revamp in its own right as well. BEHIND THE SCENES: Inside Jacksonville’s Real Time Crime Center Just a few weeks ago, stakeholders credited this technology in leading to the arrest of Jamin Tolliver for three different shootings, including two that were deadly. That case was again highlighted today, and when WOKV asked the impact the Center specifically had, Williams said having that collaborative environment to look at the cases allowed for them to not only find the links, but bring everything to a relatively quick resolution. “This is the repository for all of the intelligence,” says State Attorney Melissa Nelson. “The collaborative approach and just the sharing of intelligence will have a successful result.” From a prosecutor’s standpoint, Nelson says using NIBIN as a lead generator- like in the Tolliver case- means they can not only disrupt violent crime trends, but find links before those trends grow larger. She says having SAO representatives assigned to the CGIC further helps find those links to open and prior cases. It’s that broad perspective that really speaks to the core of this project, according to Williams. “A homicide investigator still has to work his homicide case, a robbery still has to work- he’s working for that victim, to solve that case. These guys [in the CGIC] will take a more overarching approach to those issues,” he says. This ribbon-cutting is something these stakeholders are excited about, but comes at a time that Jacksonville continues to see spikes in violent crime. “The City remains committed to investing in smart ways and wise ways to do everything that we can to make sure that you all have the resources that you need to make the City safe,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said to Williams and Nelson. Williams says the Tolliver case shows that these strategies can work, but he knows people can get frustrated that there has not been a large scale drop in violent crime as these resources have come online. “We want it to work on a larger scale and more consistently, so that’s the drive now, is to have more consistent reductions, more consistent impact. We’re always a little bit reactive when it comes to violent crime, so this helps us be a little more proactive, but we still have to continue to monitor that every day. It’s really about having those consistent gains, being consistent not only in the work, but in the progress we’re making,” he says. While there’s no clear time he thinks that can be achieved, he told WOKV he thinks they can close some two dozen cases like the Tolliver one by the end of this year. And from the City government side, Curry says they will continue to look at strategies to prevent young people from ever getting in to crime in the first place, including the pending rollout of the Cure Violence program. The City also funded mini-grants for grassroots organizations trying to stop violence in their communities as part of the last budget, and a special Task Force is weighing different options for improving safety and reducing crime in the city.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has pleaded “no contest” to a charge of driving without a valid license, and the three other counts he faced have now been dismissed. That brings this legal case to a close. Court records show adjudication is being withheld. There are various fees Fournette will have to pay in relation to the case. These charges came in relation to an April traffic stop. He was allegedly driving around 65 miles-per-hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone on Atlantic, when he was pulled over. Fournette allegedly told the officer he didn’t have his license with him because he “left it at the stadium”, and he added that he was a Jaguars player, according to the arrest report. Police say Fournette later admitted his license had been suspended. Court records show that suspension came for failing to pay case fees for an alleged speeding incident in Neptune Beach from November. The same officer who stopped Fournette in April also stopped him last July. The warning issued to Fournette at that time said he was going 80 miles-per-hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone. The officer involved says he also did not have his license with him at the time of that stop, and he also said he had left it at the stadium and he played with the Jags. As a result of the April stop, Fournette was arrested for driving without a valid license, and received citations for violation of municipal posted speed and two window tint violations. He initially pleaded not guilty. Court records show he has now pleaded “nolo contendere” with adjudication withheld to the count of driving without a valid license. The speeding and window tint violations have been dismissed. WOKV has reached out to the State Attorney’s Office about the disposition of this case, and we have not yet heard back. The Jaguars say they are not commenting further about Fournette’s driving records, but he has a previously scheduled media availability on Friday.
  • Stephanie Brown

    Assistant News Director

    Stephanie Brown is the WOKV Assistant Director of News and Afternoon Reporter. She guides the direction of WOKV’s news content, frequently contributes to social and digital platforms, and is a leading voice on-air. Stephanie has been with the team full-time since May 2012, which is when she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in telecommunication and political science. When she’s not enterprising story ideas or digging in to an investigation, she’s likely cooking or enjoying downtime with her dog.

    Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • It's underway all summer. The Blue Star Museums 2019 program has kicked off, allowing the nation's active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, to visit participating museums free of charge.  The 2019 program officially started on Saturday, May 18th, which is Armed Forces Day, and will run through Labor Day on Monday, September, 2nd.  Locally, military families will be able to visit the following museums free of charge:  Jacksonville  -Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens  -Mandarin Museum & Historical Society  -MOCA Jacksonville  -Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum  Jacksonville Beach  -Beaches Museum  St. Augustine  -Lightner Museum  -St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum  To find museums outside of Northeast Florida, click HERE. The Blue Star Museums program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and participating museums.
  • A judge sentenced the man who admitted to killing a Wisconsin couple last year before holding their 13-year-old daughter captive for three months to life in prison without the possibility of supervised release. >> Read more trending news Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, appeared before a Barron County judge for sentencing in the killing of James and Denise Closs and the kidnapping of their daughter, Jayme, according to the Duluth News Tribune. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intentional homicide for gunning down James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, in the early morning hours of Oct. 15. He also pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping for abducting Jayme. >> Man pleads guilty to kidnapping Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs, killing her parents Update 4:30 p.m. EDT May 24: A judge sentenced Patterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each of the intentional homicide charges to which Patterson pleaded guilty. The judge also gave Patterson the maximum sentence -- 40 years -- for kidnapping Jayme. Update 4:20 p.m. EDT May 24: In a brief, tearful statement in court, Patterson said he “would do like, absolutely anything to take back what I did.” “I would die,” he said. “I would.” Patterson’s attorneys asked a judge to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole until 2072 for the killings of James and Denise Closs. The sentencing hearing is ongoing. Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 24: In a statement read by an attorney Friday in court, Jayme said Patterson took many things from her but that, “He can never take my spirit away.” “He thought he could make me like him, but he was wrong,” she said. “He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life, and he will not. Jake Patterson will never have any power over me.” Chris Gramstrup, an attorney representing Jayme, read the victim impact statement in court. “He stole my parents from me,” Jayme said in the statement. “He stole almost everything I loved from me. For 88 days, he tried to steal me, and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.” Prosecutors said Jayme and her mother heard Patterson shoot and kill James Closs as they huddled together in a bathtub. Denise Closs called 911 as Patterson tried to batter down the bathroom door. Once he broke down the door, he wrestled the phone from Denise Closs and ordered her to tape Jayme’s mouth, hands and feet, prosecutors said. He told authorities that he thought she was doing a bad job, so he put down his shotgun to do it himself. Once Jayme was restrained, authorities said he picked up his shotgun again and, with Jayme feet from her mother, shot Denise Closs in the head. He then dragged Jayme to his car, threw her in the trunk and drove her to his home, where she was held captive for 88 days. Through Gramstrup, Jayme said her parents “did all they could to make me happy and protect me.” “He took them away from me forever,” Jayme said. “I felt safe in my home and I love my room and all of my belongings. He took all of that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life.” She said that since her escape in January, “It’s too hard for me to go out in public.” “I get scared and I get anxious,” she said. Prosecutors said Jayme escaped from Patterson’s home Jan. 10 after he left her alone. Original report: Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said members of Jayme’s family are expected to give statements at Friday’s hearing, MPR News reported. The court proceeding is expected to last several hours, according to CNN. Under Wisconsin law, Patterson will face a mandatory life sentence for each of the homicide convictions, the Duluth News Tribune reported. The main question for Friday will be whether Patterson will eventually be eligible for parole, according to the newspaper. >> Who is Jake Thomas Patterson? Suspect in Jayme Closs kidnapping identified Authorities said Patterson admitted to targeting Jayme after seeing her get on a school bus while he was driving home from work one day. He told investigators he did not know the Closses before the attack. Jayme told authorities she woke early on the morning of Oct. 15 when the family dog started barking. She woke her parents and then hid with her mother in a bathroom. Investigators said Patterson shot and killed James Closs before he found Jayme and Denise Closs in the bathroom. >> Jayme Closs kidnapping: Suspect charged in Closs murders, bail set at $5 million Jayme said Patterson killed her mother before dragging her to his car and driving her to what would turn out to be his home in Douglas County. He was arrested after Jayme escaped Jan. 10 from his home and flagged down a woman walking her dog. >> Jayme Closs to be given $25K reward after she saved herself from accused kidnapper Jayme told investigators Patterson made her hide under the bed in his bedroom for as many as 12 hours at a time without food, water or bathroom breaks. She escaped after Patterson left her alone in the home 88 days after he first abducted her. Jayme is living with her aunt and uncle, the Stevens Point Journal reported.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is actively investigating on the Westside, after a man called 911, claiming he had just shot someone attempting to break into his home. Police say this happened on North Dover Cliff Drive in the Pilgrims Trace neighborhood.  When officers arrived, they say they found a man dead in a nearby roadway. He has not yet been identified, but he's described by JSO as a black male between 30 and 40-years-old.  The investigation is still in its early states, but JSO says it does not appear that the two knew each other. We're told the homeowner is being cooperative with investigation.  Police are asking anyone with information on what happened to come forward.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said he was OK on Friday after he appeared to nearly faint during a news conference in New York City. >> Read more trending news Nadler, D-N.Y., was appearing Friday at a news conference about plans to expand the city’s use of speed cameras in school zones when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared to notice he looked pale, WABC-TV reported. Video from the news conference showed Nadler looking ill and weak as the mayor asked him if he wanted some water.  The New York Daily News reported that paramedics called a code blue emergency after Nadler appeared to suffer from a brief dizzy spell. He was given water and an orange and later taken by ambulance to Lenox Hill Hospital, according to the Daily News. “Appreciate everyone’s concern,” Nadler said in a statement posted later Friday on Twitter. “Was very warm in the room this morning, was obviously dehydrated and felt a bit ill. Glad to receive fluids and am feeling much better. Thank you for your thoughts.”
  • A Colorado man arrested in Utah earlier this year for threatening to “kill as many girls as (he saw)” has been sentenced to serve up to five years in prison, despite prosecutors’ recommendation that he serve probation.  Christopher Wayne Cleary, 27, of Denver, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempt to make a terroristic threat as part of a plea deal with Utah County prosecutors, according to The Deseret News. Cleary, who was arrested in Provo in January, was already on probation in Colorado on two previous convictions of stalking women, the newspaper reported.  Cleary expressed remorse over his words. “I’m just sorry for what happened,” Cleary told the court, according to the News.  Prosecutors in Utah negotiated a plea deal with Cleary for a third-degree felony charge instead of the second-degree felony with which he was initially charged, the News reported. In exchange for his plea -- which would let them secure a felony conviction -- they agreed to recommend no jail time. The plea bargain was aimed at helping Colorado authorities send Cleary to prison for violating his probation in the stalking cases, the News reported.  >> Related story: Man upset over not having girlfriend accused of mass shooting threat to girls Fourth District Judge Christine Johnson on Thursday declined to take the state up on its recommendation, citing her uncertainty of whether Cleary would serve any jail time for probation violation in Colorado, the newspaper said. “I don’t want to be in the position of guessing what Colorado is going to do,” Johnson said during Cleary’s sentencing hearing.  Cleary was arrested Jan. 19, the same day multiple women’s marches were being held in Utah and throughout the country, based on an alarming Facebook post he wrote the night before, the News said. In the post, he bemoaned his lack of romantic prospects and, like several mass shooters who have targeted women, blamed the opposite sex for his plight. “All I wanted was a girlfriend,” Cleary wrote, according to a police affidavit obtained by The Denver Post. “All I wanted was to be loved, yet no one cares about me. I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before, and I’m still a virgin. This is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter ‘cause I’m ready to die and all the girls the turned me down is going to make it right by killing as many girls as I see.” Another post stated, “There’s nothing more dangerous than (a) man ready to die,” the Post reported.  Cleary’s threats alarmed state and federal authorities in Colorado and neighboring Utah, where they traced his cellphone the following day. He was arrested at a McDonald’s in Provo and charged with making a terroristic threat.  Following his arrest, Cleary told investigators he was “upset and not thinking clearly” when he wrote the Facebook posts. According to the Post, he deleted the threats after other people called him and threatened him. Court records obtained by multiple newspapers paint a disturbing portrait of Cleary, who was accused of stalking and harassment by at least eight women and girls dating back at least seven years. The News reported that Cleary was also accused of threatening to bomb a grocery store in 2013 and threatened to commit a mass shooting at a mental health facility in 2016.  >> Read more trending news An 18-year-old Arvada woman called police on New Year’s Eve 2015 and reported that Cleary, with whom she’d been chatting on Facebook, began harassing her online and over the phone after she declined to go on a date with him. According to the Post, the woman told detectives he would use aliases, including one alias on Facebook named John Coleman. “I’ve been watching you,” the person claiming to be Coleman wrote to her on Facebook. “Soon here, you’ll be lying in your deathbed.” During that investigation, Arvada detectives found details of a previous criminal investigation in which Cleary told another woman who spurned his advances she should kill herself, the Post reported. He also posted her name and phone number in an online sex ad, offering her services for $20, court records show. In a prior misdemeanor harassment case from earlier in 2015, Cleary was convicted after talking a woman into posing naked for him and then posting the picture to a fake Facebook page in her name, the newspaper reported.  A harassment case from Denver found Cleary accused of writing threatening messages to a 17-year-old girl, including a message that said, “I own multipul (sic) guns. I can have u dead in a second. One day I’ma snap and kill everyone,” according to court documents. A second Denver case involved a 19-year-old woman who said she lived with Cleary in a hotel room for two weeks, during which time he choked her and urinated on her, the court documents said.  Cleary was convicted in October 2016 on two counts of stalking and harassment involving two of the three alleged victims in Arvada, the Post said. He was sentenced to two years of probation.  Cleary was arrested in yet another stalking case less than a year later. A 43-year-old Lakewood woman who had dated him called 911 Aug. 5, 2017, to report Cleary was stalking her. He was arrested outside the woman’s house. According to the Post, Cleary told investigators the woman was the only person who loved him and he was lonely without her. The woman told police she and Cleary had a sexual relationship -- contradicting Cleary’s claim earlier this year that he was a virgin. The victim told police Cleary, who began stalking her when she broke off the relationship, had called her 45 times that day, threatening her and telling her he hoped she would die.  “I am going to burn your house down,” Cleary told her, according to court records. “I am going to send people to your house to kill you.” Cleary also posted her phone number and address on Craigslist “soliciting sexual acts and rape,” according to a probable cause statement in the case. The woman said she’d received multiple phone calls from strangers due to the ad. The woman told police she lost 20 pounds and began having nightmares and anxiety attacks because of the stalking, the Post reported.  Cleary pleaded guilty to charges of felony stalking and making threats, the newspaper said. A judge in Jefferson County sentenced him last May to three years of probation.  Despite having violated his probation on the Arvada cases, he was not jailed following his guilty plea in the case involving the Lakewood woman, the Post reported. Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, said Cleary’s mental health played a part in his sentencing in that case, as well as in his 2016 stalking conviction, which was handled in Adult Mental Health Court.  “The courts decided to let his mental health issues be a big component of his treatment,” Russell told the Post.  Cleary’s defense attorney in the most recent case, Dustin Parmley, said this week that his client’s violent words are related to his mental illness, which he was reportedly diagnosed with at age 10. Cleary told investigators he takes medication for an impulse control disorder.  Parmley said Cleary’s words have never turned to action. Investigators found no evidence that Cleary had weapons or attempted to obtain any, the Post said.  The newspaper reported that four of the criminal investigations into Cleary ended without charges filed against him.  Cleary will serve his time in Utah before being transferred to Colorado to face probation violation charges there, the News reported. An official with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole told the paper his earliest hearing could take place as soon as September. The News said the board could potentially set a release date at that time, or members could decide to keep him in prison. Cleary could serve the entire five years of his sentence before being returned to Colorado. 

The Latest News Videos