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Latest from Stephanie Brown

    Jacksonville’s Mayor wants plans for a new convention center in Jacksonville to be put on hold, for now.  The city’s Downtown Investment Authority has spent much of this year considering a convention center. They solicited proposals early in the year for a new facility at the old County Courthouse and City Hall Annex site, and three bids were submitted midyear. In September, the DIA voted to move forward with negotiations on one of those proposals- with developer Jacobs Project Management Group- which they ranked the highest.  IN DEPTH: Three proposals for Convention Center at old Courthouse/City Hall Annex Still hanging over that decision, though, was a proposal from Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan to put up a convention center at the Shipyards instead, which he is the master developer for. Companion to that competing proposal, a developer- Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Jacksonville, LLC- put forward plans for a development called “Riverwalk Place” for the old Courthouse/Annex site. It has been unclear how those unsolicited plans would be considered against the Jacobs bid which the DIA Board supported.  GALLERY:Shipyards Convention Center proposalGALLERY: Riverwalk Place proposal Khan has been negotiating with the City for years about redeveloping the Shipyards, and those negotiations could continue through mid-2020. Khan put forward the convention center proposal as a potential first phase of the Shipyards redevelopment.  GALLERY:Shad Khan’s plan for the Jacksonville Shipyards Now, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has sent a letter to DIA Board Chairman Jim Bailey questioning if it is the right time to move forward with any of those convention center plans.  Curry commended a feasibility study that was the foundation for soliciting the bids in the first place, saying it highlighted important questions to consider relating to cost, size, location, and timing of a development. Curry says the convention center proposals that were received by the DIA were “thorough” and “impressive”, but moving through the process showed “these developments are daunting”.  “The timelines for development and the substantial investment of public dollars would represent a dramatic shift in our capacity to participate in other pending public/private partnerships,” says Curry’s letter.  Curry says the feasibility study showed the majority of planners wouldn’t be interested in the area or this development without “destination development”.  “That, combined with the financial data from the RFP, tells us in the simplest terms that if we divert such considerable resources away from other development for a Convention Center, we will still be lacking the additional lifestyle and entertainment that ultimately would ensure its success,” Curry says in the letter. Curry says he wants to continue focusing on “near term” opportunities, and therefore thinks it’s best to revisit the Convention Center concept in the future. There is a lot in motion in that area right now, including plans to redevelop Berkman Plaza II to include a resort-style hotel and amusement center. Alongside that development is slated to be the USS Adams Museum. In the greater Sports Complex, Khan is hoping for a massive redevelopment, that is intended to start with overhauling Lot J. More details on that plan are expected out around the new year. The City is also planning to demolish then Hart Bridge ramps that run through the Sports Complex, in order to stop detouring traffic from that area. Meanwhile, the Prime Osborn Convention Center on the other edge of Downtown needs substantial investment, and the City has budgeted millions to address some of those needs. The Convention Center proposal from Jacobs Project Management Company was designed to honor Jacksonville as the City of bridges. They envisioned an “iconic riverfront masterpiece” which would spur revitalization across the area. GALLERY: Jacobs Project Management Group Convention Center plan Their plan includes a hotel tower, signature dining, an elevated Convention Center Exhibit Hall, and more. It would all be centered around a large public plaza with a water feature, shops, and LED lighting that can be themed for special events. The total cost of the project is expected to be around $705 million, with substantial completion originally estimated around mid-2023. While the DIA could still opt to move forward with a proposal, that would inevitably need City Council and Mayoral approval, meaning it would likely stall, with Curry now saying he thinks the City should wait.
  • The FBI says a serial bank robbery suspect is now off the streets, a day after he held up a bank in Clay County.  The FBI Tampa says Myron Ernst was in a vehicle he stole from a dealership in South Carolina, when he was arrested without incident in Lakeland. He has a federal arrest warrant for an October 12th bank robbery in Lakeland, but is believed to be linked to other incidents in central and north Florida and Alabama, including an Orlando bank robbery today. Ernst is accused of targeting two Clay County banks in the last month and a half, including a Bank of America in early October, and a SunTrust Bank on Blanding Boulevard yesterday. The FBI is crediting the assistance of the Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and Florida Highway Patrol in Ernst’s apprehension.
  • The Orange Park Police Department says an apparent “swatting” incident is what caused the large law enforcement presence off Wells Road. Orange Park Police Chief Gary Goble says the Clay County Sheriff’s Office initially got the dispatch call, which was a man saying he had just killed two people and was threatening to kill himself in a home on Wells Landing Drive, near Wells Road. CCSO determined it was OPPD jurisdiction, so they alerted police, but also provided support, including SWAT. OPPD says they contacted the homeowner, who wasn’t actually there at the time. That person quickly responded and gave them a key, and when law enforcement entered the home they didn’t find anyone inside. Goble says they believe this was a “swatting” incident, or where someone makes a hoax call to law enforcement, in order to provoke a large response on an unknowing person. “They’re hard cases to work because the calls could be coming from anywhere. The gentleman had enough information to know who the owner of the residence was, the address... was able to spell it all out,” Goble says. He says they’re focused right now on trying to trace the origin of the call. The person responsible could face charges, according to Goble, because of the considerable resources that are deployed in a situation like this. At this time, Goble says he has no idea why the person made this call.
  • A man has surrendered after walking in to a local Burger King and saying he had a bomb in his backpack. Police now say there was no device found. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene on N Edgewood Avenue around 5:30PM. Roughly five customers and five staff members were evacuated from the Burger King. JSO says, initially, the suspect- who’s now been identified as 30-year-old Andrew Pearce- refused to leave. After speaking with investigators, we’re told he safely surrendered. JSO’s Hazardous Devices Unit was called to inspect the backpack, and treated it like it contained a bomb initially because of the threat. They have since determined there was no device. It’s unclear at this time what motivated this Pearce’s actions. He is being charged with making a false threat of bombs and criminal mischief.
  • A shootout between two cars in Arlington has injured a teen and hit a nearby business. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says the vehicles were on Merrill Road, stopped at Wedgefield Boulevard, when shots were fired around 3:30PM. One of the vehicles then fled and crashed nearby. Police say four suspects ran off from that vehicle and were able to escape, despite a lengthy manhunt that involved K9 assets and many community tips.  During the suspect search, JSO says two teen brothers showed up at the hospital, one of who was suffering a gunshot to the leg. JSO says they’re investigating whether these teens were in the second car that was involved in the shootout and, at this time, they’ve been detained on unrelated outstanding charges.  A Community First Credit Union near the intersection was hit with 7-8 bullets, according to JSO. Luckily, nobody inside was hurt.  JSO says the crashed car has shell casings and blood stains, so they’re processing that vehicle. The search for the four suspects who were in that car is also ongoing.  The motive to the shooting, and whether the people involved knew each other, isn’t clear at this point. JSO says early indications are there is no tie to gangs, but it is too early to rule anything out.
  • Jacksonville police say a man was acting calm and even waited in line, before robbing a Wells Fargo today.  It happened around 1:25PM at the Wells Fargo on Old St. Augustine Road near Bartram Park Boulevard. JSO says the suspect waited in line, then placed a white bag on the counter and passed the teller a note demanding money. Police say he indicated he had a gun, although no weapon was shown and nobody was hurt.  The teller complied, and the man left the building with a currently unknown amount of money. There were five employees and three bank patrons in the building at the time, and JSO says they’ve all been interviewed. Investigators are surveying the area for any available surveillance footage at this time.  The suspect is described as a white man in his 40s with a slight tan, who’s 5’9”-5’10” and unshaven. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt saying “Greetings from Asbury Park”, blue jeans, and a off-white baseball cap with blue on the front. While there was a bank robbed in Clay County earlier today, JSO says they do not believe the same suspect is involved. The suspect in that incident has been identified as serial bank robber Myron Ernst.  JSO says they have had 16 bank robberies in the County this year until now, and all of them have been solved by arrest.  If you have any information about this suspect or incident, you can contact JSO at 904-630-0500.
  • The Clay County Sheriff’s says they’re actively investigating a robbery at a SunTrust Bank, and they believe the suspect is someone who has hit in the county before.  The bank that was robbed today is on Blanding Blvd near Blairmore Blvd. CCSO says the suspect in this case is Myron Ernst, who is the suspect in a Bank of America robbery in Clay on October 9th.  The FBI says Ernst is also suspected in other bank robberies in Florida and Alabama. They say he is known to have violent tendencies and is considered an escape risk. Investigators are asking you to notify them if you have information on his whereabouts, but you should not approach him yourself.  Ernst is described as a white man who is 5’5”-5’7”, 145-170 lbs, with black and gray hair, brown eyes, and a scar on his right forearm. He has used variations of his name, including the last name Ernest and the first name Bill or William, which plays on his middle name William. He has also gone by variations of Christopher Roan, Gregory Uriarte, Ronald Walker, and John Doe.  If you have any information on Ernst’s location, you’re asked to contact CCSO at 904-264-6512. You can also submit an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward.
  • It’s hard to believe it’s fall in Northeast Florida. The National Weather Service Jacksonville says the area clocked 87 degrees today, which is a new daily record. The prior record of 86 degrees was set in 1889! NWS Jacksonville says it’s also the latest 87 degree day on record. PODCAST: Daily Discussion with Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh What do you think of the weather? Let us know on Facebook!
  • St. Johns County deputies are asking for your help finding a man who burglarized a home in Vilano Beach. The  suspect was caught on the victim’s surveillance system. The incident happened around 10AM this past Saturday along A1A North in Vilano Beach. SJSO says the suspect vehicle was also captured by the system. If you recognize the suspect or vehicle, or have any information about this incident, you’re asked to contact SJSO at 904-824-8304. You can also submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers and be eligible for a possible reward by calling 1-888-277-8477.
  • Duval County’s Supervisor of Elections faced a few roadblocks during recount efforts on Monday, but believes they will still meet the state’s deadline to report results later this week.  The Florida Governor, Senate, and Agriculture Commissioner races are all under recounts.  Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan says he planned to run three tabulators at all times, but one of the machines failed first thing this morning.  “Didn’t give us a count whatsoever with the first set of ballots,” Hogan says.  PODCAST: Making sense of Florida’s recount process He immediately swapped in the backup machine, but after a couple of hours, the operator- who is the IT Director for the SOE- noticed something was off. Hogan says after the machine processes a full tray of ballots, it stops so that the ballots can be boxed and the tray can be emptied to receive the next set. The machine is supposed to reflect the ballot count, even after the tray is emptied.  “When he went to continue, he noticed that he had a zero there, and it should have been a count, because some had already been through,” Hogan says.  At that time, he says they immediately double-checked the other two machines to ensure they were properly functioning. They then identified about 15,000 ballots that had run through the backup machine, but had not been counted because of the problem.  The good news for Hogan is that when they noticed the problem with the backup machine, the vendor had already fixed the initial machine, which had a problem with a cable between the camera and tabulator. They were able to, therefore, get that machine right back in use. Hogan says he did also reach out to his counterpart in Nassau County, where they use the same tabulator. He says the recount efforts in Nassau are done, so the Supervisor there committed that Duval could borrow tabulators if needed.  “Just in an abundance of caution, I decided to backup my backup plan,” he says.  Despite the machine issues, Hogan says they have now completed recounts for early and absentee votes. They were in a holding pattern for a couple of hours Monday night, while the early voting numbers were transmitted and uploaded, but were able to resume ballot counting after that. Hogan says he’s confident they identified all ballots that were affected by the machine issues, because the returns he has seen stack up very closely to the first count on results from after the election.  “It’s a very, very, very, very small number. We’re ecstatic about the difference. It’s tiny,” he says.  Monday was the second day of Duval County’s recount. Election Day ballots will take up the day Tuesday, and some provisional ballots will be run after that. In all, Hogan says they expect to be done mid-Wednesday. County results are due to the state by Thursday at 3PM.  St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Oakes says their operations have been running smooth. At the end of Monday- which was their first day for the recount- Oakes says they had completed vote-by-mail and 33 of 46 precincts. She believes they will conclude recount efforts Tuesday.  Clay County’s elections office has scheduled its recount for Wednesday at 9AM. After the vote tallies are reported by Thursday, races within a quarter-percent margin will face a manual recount.
  • 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.

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  • Over a week after being publicly ridiculed for losing her seat in Congress by President Donald Trump, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) on Friday night was on the verge of pulling off a stunning comeback in her re-election bid, as the continued counting of ballots in her Utah district finally pushed her into the lead by a slender 419 votes. “Hard to see how she relinquishes that now,” said Dave Wasserman, an elections expert who has been forecasting a possible comeback by Love for several days. Still being tabulated are thousands of provisional ballots in Utah and Salt Lake counties, which take time to verify, as Utah and a number of other states slowly push their way through the votes of the November mid-term elections. The jump into first place for Love came as a judge tossed out a lawsuit that she filed – which oddly would have stopped vote counting in Salt Lake County – a move that her opponent said ‘smacks of desperation.’ “Utah voters deserve better than this,” said Democrat Ben McAdams. With the Utah County numbers posting, Rep. Mia Love has taken a 419-vote lead over Ben McAdams. #utpol — #VoteGehrke (@RobertGehrke) November 16, 2018 But the McAdams lead over Love has slowly withered away in recent days, leaving Love favored by many to win re-election. A comeback victory would be filled with irony, especially after the mocking ridicule heaped upon Love and a number of other House Republicans by President Donald Trump, who said the day after the elections that Love and others were defeated because they refused to embrace him. “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost,” the President said, almost seeming to enjoy the outcome. “Too bad. Sorry about that Mia.” President Trump lists Republicans who didn't embrace him and lost. 'They did very poorly. I'm not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it.' 'Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that Mia.' pic.twitter.com/ZV7EKcWjLX — CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2018 Two weekends after the elections, a small number of races remained undecided – with some that could stretch until after Thanksgiving: FLORIDA SENATE – With a manual recount finishing up, and Florida’s 67 counties waiting through Saturday to deal with any other stray ballots, Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) seems headed for victory over Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). This will give the GOP a big victory, and a 2 seat margin in the U.S. Senate. From a statistical/electoral/historical perspective, Scott's defeat of Nelson is pretty much unmatched in recent political history. Beating a swing state opposition party senator without a hint of scandal in a midterm… It's quite impressive. — (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) November 17, 2018 CALIFORNIA 39 – This is the first of six (or maybe seven) undecided House races. After holding the lead for days, Republican Young Kim has now been swamped by late votes coming from both Orange and Los Angeles counties, and now trails Democrat Gil Cisneros by over 3,000 votes. This should complete what is a total GOP wipeout in Orange County, as Democrats would gain six GOP seats in the Golden State. Congressional districts in Orange County, Calif. in 2016 and in 2018 pic.twitter.com/TWRQ1pPzS4 — Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) November 16, 2018 CALIFORNIA 21 – This seat has already been called by the AP and other news organizations for the Republicans, but as the votes keep coming in, Rep. David Valadao’s lead keeps shrinking, and some wonder if he can hold on. This might be a long shot, but it bears watching. It’s hard to fathom that Democrats could gain a seventh seat in California. We've been watching CA-21 like a hawk for more than a week now, and the chance for Democrat T J Cox to catch up to Valadao has gone from remote but intriguingly possibile to plausible. We're moving this one to our uncalled races tab. https://t.co/FeGWU7SsoE — Daniel Donner (@donnermaps) November 17, 2018 UTAH 4 – As mentioned above, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) now has the lead. This would be a big save for Republicans, who have had very little to cheer about in the past 10 days since the elections. In fact, there has been an almost daily drumbeat of Democratic victories each night since then, as they edge closer to a possible pickup of almost 40 House seats, their largest gains since 1974 after Watergate. BREAKING: As expected, #UT04 GOP Rep. Mia Love (R) has pulled into the lead over Ben McAdams (D) by 419 votes. Hard to see how she relinquishes it now. https://t.co/nfsptUdHiN — Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 16, 2018 NEW YORK 22 – This seat can probably be called for the Democrats by the AP and other organizations, as absentee ballot counts on Friday went clearly for Democrat Anthony Brindisi, leaving Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) behind by over 3,000 votes in this northern New York district. This is not a spot where the GOP should have lost. @Redistrict Brindisi lead in NY22 has surged to more 3000 votes! I see no path to victory for Tenney. She's falling further behind as more ballots are counted, that's a losing combination, a larger deficit, and fewer votes left to count. https://t.co/ae1Ny8Osws — Kevin O'Connell (@Kevtoco) November 17, 2018 NEW YORK 27 – Indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) still leads by over 1,000 votes in this western New York district, with one big cache of absentee ballots and provisionals to count next Tuesday around Buffalo. Democrat Nate McMurray has been winning a majority of absentee ballots in recent days in counties where he lost the Election Day vote, making some wonder if he has a chance to win this race at the last minute next week. This is the equivalent of betting a horse that’s maybe 9-1. It might win. Nate McMurray continues to gain ground in counties that he lost to Rep. Chris Collins in. Biggest test will be Tuesday when the Erie County absentee and affidavit votes will be counted. https://t.co/f5nincKkZx — WGRZ (@WGRZ) November 16, 2018 GEORGIA 7 – While the race for Governor is over, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) has a 419 vote edge in this suburban Atlanta district, with all of the votes counted. Democratic challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux announced on Friday afternoon that she would ask for a recount. While a recount doesn’t usually switch the outcome, we have certainly seen in Florida and other states in recent days where there are tabulation errors uncovered – so you can’t say this is in the bag for the GOP – but they are favored. News: We will file for a recount of the 7th district race. With a margin of only 419 votes (0.14%), we want to make sure every vote was counted correctly & fairly. It is crucial that every eligible vote is counted & every voice is heard. #GA07 #GAPol — Carolyn Bourdeaux (@Carolyn4GA7) November 16, 2018 TEXAS 23 – Even though she’s behind by just under 1,000 votes, Cindy Ortiz Jones spent the week in Washington going through freshman orientation, but that may not work out for the Texas Democrat, as Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) seems like he’s in good position in this race, leading by 0.5 percent. Hurd’s people on Friday were declaring victory, but it wasn’t clear if Jones would press for any kind of vote review. Republicans are favored to hold on to this border district, but it was much closer than anyone had predicted. Bexar County has finished counting, leaving only six votes left to count (Kinney & Upton). @WillHurd has won by 928 votes, this race is over #TX23 — Connor Pfeiffer (@ConnorPfeiffer) November 16, 2018 Democrats right now have a net gain of 36 seats – they should win at least two of the undecided races left, and have an outside chance at others. Right now, the new Congress stands at 231 Democrats to 198 Republicans, with six seats undecided. One final note – this extended time of vote counting is totally normal. Reporters follow it every two years, but many partisans think there is something amiss.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says an active investigation is underway after their officers were involved in a shooting in the Paxon area on the Westside.  The Director of Investigations and Homeland Security with JSO, Ron Lendvay, says the shooting stemmed from a traffic violation at around 4:00 PM Friday.  'A field training officer and his recruit were working in the area of St. Clair and Detroit Street, when they observed a traffic violator. The violator was observed running a stop sign and increasing his speed. The officers activated their overhead emergency lights and noted that the passenger side kept opening and closing as the vehicle continued on,' explains Lendvay.  At some point, the officers say the vehicle stopped to let someone out of the passenger side on Melson Avenue. JSO says that person was seen by the officers with a pistol in his hand.  Officers stopped to chase that man and the field training officer was able to catch up to him. At some point during their interaction, police say the officer fired several shots at him.  The suspect was hit by the gunfire, taken into custody, and then to the hospital, where police say he underwent surgery. He's now described as being in critical condition, but currently stable at the hospital.  As this chase and shooting was occurring, Lendvay says the original driver abandoned the vehicle nearby and fled on foot as did another passenger. At this time, neither of those individuals have been found.  Lendvay says several officers involved in different portions of this incident were wearing body cameras. That video is still in the process of being collected and will be reviewed.  At this time, police say it's not clear if the suspect fired any shots or what exactly occurred during the interaction with the officer.  The sheriff's office plans to release further information on this shooting on Saturday. WATCH FULL BRIEFING FROM JACKSONVILLE SHERIFF’S OFFICE:
  • Gas prices are down across the country right now, which is good news if you plan on driving to visit friends or family for Thanksgiving. Depending on which way you are going, you might want to fill up before you leave, says Patrick DeHaan, Head of Gas and Petroleum Analysis at Gas Buddy.  'Generally, if you are heading out of the state, wait until you cross out of Florida to fill up,' he says.  But if you are heading south to places like Miami or the Florida Keys, you'll want to get your gas before you get too far south, because that's where the prices are the highest.  Although prices are down right now across Florida, states like Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama are generally going to be cheaper to top off your tank, DeHaan says.  GasBuddy.com is a website with a free app that directs you to the most affordable gas stations in your area. But DeHaan says as a general rule in the Southeast, the farther south you go the higher the gas prices get.  DeHaan says in Georgia into the Carolinas it can be anywhere from 10 to 15 cents cheaper per gallon than Florida. Gas Buddy can help you find the cheapest prices no matter where you go.
  • A Middleburg man has been found guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, after an incident involving his ex-girlfriend. The State Attorney's Office says Larry Jamison now faces a maximum of 15 years in Florida State Prison, after they say surveillance video showed the entire incident.  According to investigators, Jamison drove his car into his ex-girlfriend as she was walking to church back in February. Investigators say just after hitting her, he got out of his car and yelled at her, and then drove off.  He was then later found by police in the church and acting as if the incident hadn't happened.   Jamison's sentencing hearing has been set for the week of December 3rd.
  • A former Alabama nurse accused of poisoning her private investigator husband had a preliminary hearing Thursday, at which time the shocking details of the crime were revealed for the first time. Marjorie Nicole “Nikki” Cappello, 32, of Huntsville, is charged with murder in the September death of her husband, New York native Jim Cappello Jr. AL.com reported that Jim Cappello, who was reported missing by his wife, was found dead at the couple’s south Huntsville home Sept. 22.  The registered nurse surrendered her license six days later, Alabama Board of Nursing records show.  Nikki Cappello, who jail records show is out on $100,000 bond, waived her right to appear at the preliminary hearing, but members of Jim Cappello’s family were in the courtroom as prosecutors and investigators laid out their case.  >> Read more trending news “Honestly, the family gets a lot of respect from me,” Assistant Madison County District Attorney Tim Douthit told WAFF 48 News. “I don't know if I would be able to sit there and listen to all of that and keep a straight face the way that they did. The evidence that came out today was pretty clear and horrendous.” Lead investigator Mike DeNoon testified Thursday that the investigation showed Jim Cappello, 37, had become suspicious that his wife was abusing narcotics. According to WAFF, he had begun gathering evidence against her, so he could file for divorce and obtain custody of their 4-year-old daughter, Ryleigh. According to his LinkedIn profile, Jim Cappello worked for Posey Investigations for several years before opening his own business, Cappello Investigative Agency, in 2012. DeNoon testified that Nikki Cappello reported her husband missing Sept. 21. The detective said that Jim Cappello’s co-workers had become concerned because he had not shown up for work. When they went to the couple’s home, however, Nikki Cappello would not let them inside, DeNoon said. Jim Cappello’s car was parked outside the house. According to WAFF, DeNoon testified that Nikki Cappello called a friend, Crystal Anderson, the following day and admitted she had killed her husband with insulin. Anderson told investigators that her friend asked her to come and help her get rid of the body. DeNoon said that Nikki Cappello put Anderson on hold for a few moments before returning to the line and telling her not to worry, that another friend was on the way to help her.  A concerned Anderson called police, WAFF reported. Police officials are trying to determine who the other friend was, the news station said.   A foul odor and a freshly dug grave Patrol officers were dispatched to the Cappello home, where one officer went to the front door and a second went around back, WAFF said. DeNoon testified that the officer at the front door smelled the odor of a dead body when Nikki Cappello answered the door. The officer around back found what appeared to be a freshly dug grave, DeNoon testified. The officers detained Nikki Cappello on the front porch and called detectives in.  WAFF reported that DeNoon, who was one of the investigators called to the scene, testified he also smelled the odor of human decomposition when he arrived. He said he asked a visibly nervous Nikki Cappello for permission to search her home. She gave permission for the investigators to search everywhere but the garage, the news station reported. DeNoon said Nikki Cappello was taken to the police station for questioning and he obtained a search warrant for the entire property. Jim Cappello’s body was found sprawled on a tarp on the garage floor, his feet on the floorboard of a car as though someone had tried to move him into the vehicle.  DeNoon told the court that the defendant acted as though nothing was wrong when she was told about the discovery, according to WAFF.  “You know I went inside. You know I found him, right?” DeNoon testified that he asked her.  “Yes, I knew he was there,” Nikki Cappello allegedly responded.  Though Jim Cappello’s final autopsy report is pending, the medical examiner told DeNoon the private detective was poisoned using insulin, WAFF reported.  DeNoon told the court that investigators went to the hospital where Nikki Cappello was a charge nurse and spoke to her co-workers, who said she often talked about her problems with her husband and said she would only be rid of him if he were dead, the news station said.  Hospital workers who looked through their medication supply found that some insulin was missing, WAFF reported. DeNoon said Nikki Cappello told him she’d accidentally brought a bottle of the diabetes drug home with her.  Jim Cappello apparently found the bottle and took a photo of it before texting the photo to a friend, WAFF said. At the time, he appeared not to know what the drug was.  Madison County District Judge Claude Hundley III ordered that the murder case go before a grand jury.  ‘Please make today like your last’ Jim Cappello’s obituary described him as an asset in multiple facets of his life, especially to the legal community. “He was an avid car enthusiast, passionate about helping people and providing for his family (was a) priority,” the obituary read. “Jim was a well-known proud father who cherished every smile and laugh from his baby girl.” Jim Cappello’s father and sister sat through Thursday’s testimony. Afterward, they told WAFF they felt it was important to be there, even though they had to come from out of state.  “It was pretty intense but I'm glad it’s going to move on,” Jim Cappello Sr. told the news station. 'We want to be part of the whole thing. He didn’t deserve this, but he deserves justice. He’s my son and I miss him.” The younger Jim Cappello’s sister, Jamie Weast, said she’s hopeful the family can get some closure through the legal process.  “He’s shining down on us right now. He’s with us every step of the way,” she said. “We’re doing everything that we're capable of every day to remember and honor him.” The family started a Facebook page, Legacy of James Cappello, for relatives and friends to share memories of him so Ryleigh, who is being cared for by the Cappello family, will remember her doting father. Many friends shared memories addressed directly to the little girl. “Your dad worked at McDonald’s during high school,” one man wrote. “Happy Meals included a Beany (sic) Baby doll. He used to complain about being surrounded by these furry toys. “Yet he fell in love with them when you came along. You were his hero. With or without fries.” Weast posted a text message her brother sent her on Mother’s Day, in which he said a friend’s mother had died and he was helping the friend out. He told her he was thinking of the people in his life and things happening to them. “So please make today like your last,” he wrote, according to Weast. “We don’t know. Enjoy it. And have everyone around you enjoy it. Love you so much. Can’t handle the thought of you not there.”  

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