Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Florida cases where doghandler John Preston was involved

Juan Ramos

Juan Ramos stands next to Norm Wolfinger, then a public defender, in court. Ramos was sentenced to death in the 1982 rape and murder of a neighbor, but was granted a second trial and in 1987 was acquitted. (1983 FLORIDA TODAY file)

The cases

In an ongoing investigation, FLORIDA TODAY is studying documents, newspaper clippings and microfilm to learn about the cases in which John Preston was involved.

They include:

Gary Bennett, sentenced to life in prison in for the 1983 murder of a woman neighbor in Palm Bay.

Frank Berry, sentenced to 124 years in prison for raping a Merritt Island woman in 1981.

Scott Carroll, a serial rapist suspected in numerous Brevard County cases, tried and convicted in New York where he remains in prison.

Wilton Dedge, exonerated and released in 2004 after spending 22 years in prison for a 1981 rape that DNA evidence showed he didn't commit.

William Dillon, charges dropped last year after DNA evidence excluded him from being connected to a key piece of evidence. Dillon spent 27 years in prison for a 1981 murder.

Gary Dirk, sentenced to life in prison for burglary and rape in 1985.

James Elmen, 17 years old when a jury acquitted him of burglary and murder charges in 1984.

Mark Wayne Jones, serving double life sentences for the murders of two Titusville women to whom he had given a ride in 1981.

Elton Kimbrough and Kenneth Michael Burch, murder charges dropped, sentenced to 10 years on burglary charges, in the robbery and death of an 89-year-old Titusville woman. All charges were dropped against two other men.

Juan Ramos, found not guilty during a second trial in 1987 after being sentenced to death for rape and murder of a neighbor in 1982.

Willie Jessie Snipes, paroled in 1986 after serving four years for manslaughter that occurred during a robbery in 1981.

Gerald Stano, a serial killer who confessed to 41 murders. He was convicted in Brevard County for the murder of 17-year-old Cathy Lee Scharf in 1983 and executed.

Christopher Wilder, a serial killer who was killed during a struggle with Massachusetts police in 1984. He was accused of murdering a Satellite Beach resident earlier that year.

Eugene Wiley, served 11 years for second-degree murder in the death of a Saudi Arabian exchange student in an alleged drug deal

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