Police Briefs 9/2/21

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted 9/1/21

Former CCSO deputy sentenced to 35 years for sexually exploiting girlJACKSONVILLE – Travis Ryan Pritchard, a former deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s DUI unit, was …

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Police Briefs 9/2/21

Posted

Former CCSO deputy sentenced to 35 years for sexually
exploiting girl
JACKSONVILLE – Travis Ryan Pritchard, a former deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s DUI unit, was sentenced to 35 years for enticing a Green Cove Springs girl to have sex.
U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Pritchard, 38, for producing an image of a 15-year-old child being sexually abused and one count of possessing an image of a prepubescent child being sexually abused. Pritchard was also ordered to serve a lifetime term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender. Pritchard had pleaded guilty on Oct. 21, 2020.
According to court documents, from December 2019 through May 2, 2020, Pritchard used a popular online chat application to communicate with a 15-year-old girl whom he had sexually abused on a weekly basis. On April 29, 2020, an undercover detective from the Green Cove Springs Police Department assumed the child’s online identity and continued chatting with Pritchard using the online chat app. Late in the night of May 1, 2020, and into the early morning hours of the next day, Pritchard encouraged the “child” to sneak out of her home to meet with him for a “quickie.” In anticipation of their meeting, he sent the “child” a photograph of himself from the waist down, wearing only boxer shorts. At approximately 2 a.m. on May 2, 2020, Pritchard arrived near the child’s home to pick her up in his patrol vehicle, and sent the “child” a message saying, “I’m here.” A short time later, Pritchard was arrested by officers from GCSPD.
Pritchard noticed the girl at a convenience store while he was waiting to pick up his son after school.
The girl told police that Pritchard began talking with her using a chat app on their phones and Pritchard asked her to send nude pictures of herself. He, in turn, sent pictures of himself. She told federal agents he knew she was only 15, but he started coming over to her house after her parents went to sleep to have sex with her on a weekly basis.
He often crept through her bedroom window or encouraged her to sneak out to meet with him for a “quickie,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. At one point he had messaged her for 63 consecutive days.
A forensic review of Pritchard’s cellular telephone revealed many conversations between the child and Pritchard, as well as an encrypted digital folder containing numerous visual depictions of child sexual abuse. This included an image of the sexual abuse of the girl produced at the direction of Pritchard, as well as an image of the rape of a prepubescent female child.
“All child sexual abuse is appalling, but when this crime is committed by someone in a position of trust, it is beyond comprehension,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “Thanks to our HSI special agents and our local law enforcement partners, this perpetrator will no longer be in a position to harm children.”
“The Green Cove Springs Police Department is committed to serving our community and protecting our citizens against all evil, even when that evil comes hiding behind a badge,” said Commander John Guzman. “As a law enforcement officer, Mr. Pritchard betrayed those who trusted him the most and now he will have to pay for his crimes.”
This case was investigated by the Green Cove Springs Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Asst. U.S. Attorney Kelly S. Karase.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.


Man gets life for New Year’s Eve double-murder in Keystone Heights

CLAY COUNTY – A man charged in connection with a New Year’s Eve double murder avoided Florida’s Death Row and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Taylor Ryan Hill, 24, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder after Liza Nichole Dukes was shot in the back at Lori Loop Road in Keystone Heights on the last day of 2019, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. James Wooten was shot in the head and died several days later. His son, Shayne Wooten, also was shot, but he recovered.
CCSO said the three were shot during an argument over stolen clothes.
Hill was released from prison three months earlier and he cut his electronic monitor from his ankle. Victoria Ann Scifo, 22, also was identified as a suspect. Deputies said the couple stole a pickup from Wooten’s neighbor and led police on a high-speed chase that ended when they crashed into a tree in Starke. A .38 Smith and Wesson Airweight revolver was found on the floorboard.
Hill also was charged with battery on a detention officer on May 1, 2020, after he pulled a desk from the wall in his cell to break the sprinkler system and again on July 19 after he punched a deputy in the chest.
Scifo remains in the Clay County Jail where she faces charges of attempting to flee law enforcement with lights and siren active and accessory after the fact for murder. Her bond was set at $300,006. Scifo’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Keystone Heights man pleads guilty to escaping halfway house
JACKSONVILLE – Derrick S. McCullough, 31, of Keystone Heights, pleaded guilty to escaping from a residential halfway house where he was completing a prior 50-month federal prison sentence. McCullough faces a maximum penalty of five additional years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, in May 2018, a U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of West Virginia found McCullough guilty of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and committed him to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to serve 50 months’ imprisonment. In December 2020, the BOP transferred McCullough into the custody of Keeton Corrections, Inc. Jacksonville Residential Reentry Center, a halfway house, to complete the remainder of his sentence.
McCullough was employed during portions of his time at Keeton. While employed there, he was permitted to leave the facility for work but was required to return afterward. On March 29, McCullough left Keeton to go to work, but later that day, his employer notified a Keeton official that McCullough didn’t show up.  On May 24, McCullough was arrested in Bradford County. During the intervening period – approximately two months – he never returned to Keeton.
The case was investigated by U.S. Marshals Service and the Bradford County Narcotics Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Asst. U.S. Attorney Michael J. Coolican.

Juvenile arrested for damaging War Memorial statue in Spring Park
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Green Cove Springs Police Department has made an arrest of a juvenile that has confessed to striking and damaging the War Memorial located in Spring Park. This damage amounted to a cost of about $300 to the City of Green Cove Springs, which has already repaired the monument.
The suspect was charged with one count of misdemeanor criminal mischief in lieu of the harsher penalty available, damage to a monument memorializing the dead, which is a felony in the State of Florida. The Green Cove Springs Police Department chose the lessor of the charging options due to the full cooperation of the parents of the juvenile, whose father is a Veteran, and the full confession of the juvenile along with the agreement to reimburse the city for the repair costs. In addition, the suspect won’t be allowed at Spring Park for one year.
The Green Cove Springs Police Department would like to thank everyone who provided information to us when we solicited information from the community. The GCSPD values the trusting relationships we have with community members and feels that the community worked as a team to solve this crime.

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