Sept. 16 – Roving reporter
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The man accused of killing two boys in Melrose last month allegedly confessed to the crime to an unnamed witness during a recorded controlled call, according to information released in the arrest warrant. Mark Wilson Jr., 30, also reportedly told the witness the boys’ aunt was supposed to kill the victims’ mother – her sister — and their 4-year-old brother. The aunt has denied the accusation. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Allison Merritt Waters said during interviews with detectives that followed the witness report, Wilson’s story “kept changing, and she is not considered a suspect.” Wilson reportedly told the witness he felt the boys’ family was going after his by possibly reporting information to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
On Aug. 26 the mother of Robert Baker, 12, and Tayten Baker, 14, found her sons’ bodies in the family residence. Autopsy results indicate the two boys died from blunt force injuries to their skulls and severed throats. Wilson, who had been staying in a shed on the family property and dating the aunt, was arrested the next day and is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. According to the warrant for his arrest Wilson during a controlled call told the witness he couldn’t take a lie detector test to clear himself. When the witness asked if he had murdered the boys, Wilson replied he had “messed up.” Wilson is in Putnam County Jail without bond.
Moving the Confederate obelisk from the Plaza de la Constitucion cost St. Johns taxpayers at least $320,000, according to the city records. The decision to move the 140-year-old obelisk came after a 3-2 vote by the St. Augustine City Commission and remains controversial. The city spent $319,689.86 in direct costs and officials say true cost is higher because of unspecified indirect costs. City Manager John Regan in a report to commissioners Monday listed expenses as roughly $236,000 for the contractor, $42,500 for the move by barge to Trout Creek Fish Camp and $40,189 for overtime and fencing.
Mayor Tracy Upchurch, who pushed for the move after an earlier vote to keep the historic monument downtown, was quoted as saying “whether we agree with what the commission’s decision was we did exactly what the motion said, and so we acted at a very high ethical and professional standard.” Local businessman Randy Ringhaver, who owns the fish camp off State Road 13, offered the location and is paying to put in the park for the monument.
Coronavirus figures released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported 19 new coronavirus cases and three transfers bringing total coronavirus case count to 1,980 since counting began in March. Health officials in Flagler County reported 21 cases bringing their total to 1,589. Health department officials in St. Johns County reported 26 new cases bringing their total to 4,403.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office had little trouble serving a warrant on a man wanted for a home invasion robbery in Palm Coast last year – the suspect is in jail in Volusia County on separate charges. Isaiah Johnson, 21, is charged in connection with a robbery last September on Pine Grove Drive. A rental vehicle connected to the home invasion was rented by Johnson’s sister. It was a family affair. The first man arrested, Alexander Brown, was identified by the victim as his nephew. Nearly $2,000 in jewelry and cash were reported taken. Flagler Sheriff’s Office is still on the lookout for a third suspect. If you have information, call the Sheriff’s Office at 386-313-4911 or call Crime Stoppers for a possible reward.
Civic groups are seeking a return to normal in Putnam County. The GWFC Woman’s Club of Welaka is resuming its popular Bingo Nights beginning Thursday at their clubhouse. Food will be served at 5:30 and bingo begins at 6:30. Also Thursday the GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka holds their annual membership tea. Expect some changes including mandatory mask wearing. Knowing club members, you know those masks will be stylish.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
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