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    Entries in OCSO (2)

    Friday
    Jan272017

    I SWEAR, IT'S NOT POLITICAL

    I cannot attest to the accuracy of this article. Yes, you can call it an “alternative factual story” if you wish, but it does reflect to the best of my knowledge what transpired one day, sometime in the early aughts.

     Once upon a time, an “alleged perp” stole a can of soda from a 7 Eleven. A patrol car was nearby and as the car fled the convenience store parking lot, an officer took chase. (I don’t recall if it was OPD or OCSO.) The vehicles headed west on State Route 50, a four lane highway with a median lane for turning. On the west side of town, where it goes through Ocoee toward Lake County, there are a few rolling hills that completely obscure traffic from either direction. At over 100 mph, the perp’s car swerved into oncoming traffic at the crest of a hill and hit a lone vehicle head on. An innocent woman minding her own business was killed instantly. I don’t recall if the perp survived or not. This occurred in the wee hours of the morning. Ironically, the woman was on her way to work as a police dispatcher and the tragedy became big news in the Orlando area, where people formulated strong opinions over it – to give chase or not. She was a young mother with several children.

     A couple of days later, I was hanging around my favorite watering hole, Spatz, in Winter Park, when an old buddy came in. Mike’s a great guy and after a few minutes of banter among friends, he asked me a question. “Dave? What do you think about that accident on west 50?”

    I had a feeling he was going to prod. “Personally, I feel terrible about it. There’s no way I would agree with a chase like that over 12-ounces of carbonated liquid containing 10 teaspoons of sugar. A young mother died! Is a life worth a can of soda?”

    He responded, “I knew you were going to say that.”

    You see, Mike’s perception of me was that I was a bleeding heart liberal. I’m not. I’m more of a middle-of-the-road kind of guy, and I have a right to my opinions that range from one end of the gamut to the other depending on many complex factors. In the accident case, what’s liberal or conservative about it? Why label it as such? I value a human life over a $1.00 theft. What’s the big deal? This had nothing to do with religion. This had nothing to do with philosophy. This had nothing to do with politics. It was where my moral compass pointed on this particular issue and how I believed policy was in need of an instant overhaul.

    What makes people brand others as friend or foe, right or wrong, and black or white on the issues with no shades of color in between? No, I don’t mean skin color.

    Just so you know, I am a law & order kind of guy, but I don’t agree with everything. In this case, the victim’s death changed the way police were allowed to pursue. No longer would they be able to over simple thefts. Common sense prevailed, not politics.

    “Damn liberals.”

    Sunday
    Aug012010

    Kronk Fretters

    “There’s been some horrible things said about me on blogs. Said I was a child predator, a child molester, all this other stuff. Some people believe it. I have no criminal background. I’ve done no harm to no one.”

    - Roy Kronk, at his post-deposition press conference on Friday

    Soon after Roy Kronk stepped out of the woods on Suburban Drive that fateful December day in 2008, his life changed forever. No longer was he an everyday, ordinary man who read water meters for a living. He became whatever the public wanted him to be, and in some circles, it wasn’t pretty. Soon, rumors began to swell that he was a pervert and a child molester. After all, what was he doing over there by an elementary school, poking around in woods where children played? The sad part of it is the fact that many people will see what they want to see. I was quite surprised by the numbers of people who told me they somehow “knew” that Roy Kronk was directly involved in the death of Caylee Marie Anthony. Call them gut feelings. Just what was he doing in that neighborhood to begin with? Scoping out schoolgirls?

    As an Orange County meter reader for the water utility, his job took him wherever he was assigned. In mid-August of that year, he was due to read meters in the Chickasaw Oaks subdivision and that led him to Hidden Oaks Elementary School, which, remarkably, also had a meter that needed reading. Shocking! From my own visits to the spot where the skull and bones were found, the woods were an inviting place to take a lunch break. The trees offered a natural canopy above his truck and a perfect place for him to escape the hot summer sun, plus, it’s private. When he first went in August, school was out for the summer. No houses face or back into those woods, so it was impossible for neighbors to have poked their heads out of their windows to spy on Roy or anyone else. It was how remote that spot was in the middle of civilization that led him there. From my visits, it is a working class neighborhood and during that time of day, little to no traffic exists. Plus, it’s a dead-end street. There was no way anyone would be able to see, let alone know, what business he was taking care of as he stepped inside the lush cover of trees and kudzu. Over the course of three days, he called authorities and got nowhere. Nowhere, that is, until December 11.

    As soon as Roy Kronk notified OCSO that he had found a skull for certain, Casey’s defense knew it had to discredit him by hook or by crook. Here was a guy - although vilified by a handful of overzealous Caylee-ites who chose to point fingers his way - who was fast becoming legendary to a lot of people. He became a hero; the guy who iced the Casey cake made from a recipe of lies and deceit. It was his determination and drive to seek justice for Caylee that sent him again, but would it have happened that day or any time soon had the county not sent him back to that area to read meters? Whatever, it was still lingering somewhere in his head because the logic of it just made sense. How much more convenient could a burial ground right around the corner of where Casey lived be? For almost six months, the body lay right under everyone’s nose, and no one knew. No children ever played in that dreaded spot. It was known by the locals to be a dumping ground. No buzzards flew overhead and there was no stench of death. Whoever placed the bag there knew it was where no one dare go. Unless it’s a person with a nature call in search of a little privacy.

    Some may say it was little Caylee’s soul reaching out, seeking justice, but is that the way her mother’s defense team sees it? While some may not think so, I believe the defense does want to see justice prevail, just not at their client’s expense. We live under a legal system where the prosecution must prove a crime was committed by the person charged. The defense will sit back and wait until the cards are laid out on a table before countering. Is it the intent of Jose Baez, et al, to implicate Roy Kronk in the murder of Caylee Anthony? No, it is not. Although not beneath smear tactics, this defense will not tell the jury that Roy murdered the toddler. That would be insane and Casey would surely get an appeal based on incompetent counsel.

    The way I see it, the defense may have originally thought about Roy as a viable suspect. Virtually everyone could be a suspect in any number of crimes if they happen to encroach the area of a crime scene, except for one main thing - Casey became the number one suspect from the onset, when her own mother called 9-1-1 in July. Who in their right mind would tell nothing but lie after lie after lie to investigators and not think there was anything wrong with it? Casey was always the only suspect because she kept naming a nonexistent nanny and there was no excuse for it. Note that I did not say reason. Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the nanny, was a complete fabrication.

    When Cheney Mason came on board, I noticed subtle changes in strategy. Although I will never understand why private investigator Jeremy Lyons came to interview me instead searching for the true killer, the nanny, why did this defense waste money to take down the judge? At no time did Lyons ask if I was hiding any nannies under rocks or in secret closets. At no time has anyone on the defense looked for trouble outside of people who are somehow involved in the case, whether directly or not. To go from Strickland to stricter is something I will never quite grasp, but this is about Roy Kronk. Since Mason came on board, we have heard him announce that no one entered the woods when Texas EquuSearch looked in September. The area was flooded.  This was a complete about face from what former team member Todd Macaluso had said earlier, with Baez’s blessing. I am convinced it’s the same thing with Kronk. Originally, the defense suggested that he may have played a role in Caylee’s disappearance. Because it would be bonkers to really go that route, and Mason has been around long enough to understand that, it will be the defense’s job to point fingers at law enforcement instead. Prove incompetency.

    While investigators focused on Casey, the real culprit got away. Here’s why, according to the defense, not me, and I can hear this coming out of J. Cheney Mason’s mouth as surely as I sit here writing it. Let’s take a look at Roy. He bragged about finding the body months before he actually found it. He told his son he was going to be famous. This was going to be fun! Oh no, that was someone else. “He said he knew where the body was and he was going to get it when the water went down,” his ex-wife Crystal Sparks said.

    She went on to add that good old boy Roy had a kinky side; something about duct tape that turned him on. The role of the defense regarding him is simple. Debunk his credibility. Turn him into a sleazeball. Hey, some people like to use handcuffs in bed. Does that make them cops? What goes on behind closed doors is private, and his ex spoke out of school, whether it’s the truth or not. In my opinion, it is not relevant and the judge will deny the defense her testimony. He was never a suspect, nor will he ever be.

    Recently, WKMG, the CBS affiliate in Orlando, reported that it had obtained a 1997 police report from Kingsport, Tennessee, where Kronk told investigators that they would find stolen guns and other items in woods near a field. When officers searched, they found nothing unusual. Will the defense use this to their advantage in order to raise a reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds? They’d be fools not to, but for one important fact. Although guns may have not been found in Tennessee, a body was in Orlando. The earlier incident does not make him anything close to a little boy who cried wolf. It may make him inquisitive, but nothing more. I have called 9-1-1 in the past. Does that mean I have a credibility problem?

    What I have seen so far, with the addition of Mason, is a defense that is putting most of its chips on destroying state’s evidence and that includes muddying up the reputations of every person it looks at as threats to their client. How else would anyone explain the fact that Casey’s attorneys are taking bruising jabs at both Roy and her own father, George, the two most important witnesses for the state? It was George, after all, who testified before the grand jury that indicted her. What better way than to prove he’s a suicide-prone kook not worth believing? Poor George, but I’ll save him for another day. Until then, just like those people who still may think Roy was somehow involved in the murder of Caylee, all this defense needs to do is convince the jury of doubt. It’s their job to scrutinize everything the prosecution throws at them. Even his attorney, David Evans, understands it. That’s the way the system works. He also understands his client, the guy who said he had no regrets about finding the toddler. The guy who said he would do it all over again. That’s the truth. Roy Kronk stood on solid ground that fateful December day. He did it again on Friday. There’s no need for any of us to fret over him, but Casey’s defense team should.