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  1. #1
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    Rakeem Florence

    Rakeem Florence was familiar with the shop because his girlfriend and 10-month-old baby live on Duval Street, the father said.
    http://www.pnj.com/article/20090722/NEWS01/907220337

    16 years old at time of arrest. Check.
    A 10 month old baby makes him around 15 years old at delivery. Check.
    Needing to impregnate 9 months prior means he was 14, or just turning 15 when he fathered a child.
    Conceived out of wedlock, naturally.
    And remaining unmarried since, naturally.

    Parental response to the fact their son was part of this double murder?

    'My child is a victim'

  2. #2
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    The 16 Year Old Junvenile - coerced or willing participant?

    ETA: oooops....I didn't realize there was a thread on RF already!! Can a mod please merge this? Sorry and thanks in advance!!

    The 16 year old juvenile arrested - charged with an open count of murder.

    Major news outlets do not mention his name. But some local media outlets have mentioned him by name.

    IIRC, sleuths were originally unable to find any prior criminal record. Could this be because juvenile records are closed? Or have we just not uncovered anything yet?


    I'm NOT excusing him from this crime, but I'm really not sure what to make of this teen at this point. He is connected with 5th Dimensions - the auto body where the other suspects worked. PNJ reports that he was only involved with the body shop for two weeks.

    From the interviews with the teen's fathers and those who knew him.. they are shocked by his involvement. On first glance, he does not seem the type to be involved in this. He lives with his girl and had a 10 month old son. He was supposedly studying for auto mechanics, which tells me did, in fact, have plans on supporting his family through orthodox means - studying in school, getting job experience, no criminal record (that we know of......).

    It would be different if RF had a long reputation or record... it would be different if his family portrayed as a no-good bum... Just like LPG Jr.'s own did. (LPG Jr.'s sister said he's evil, needs to be removed from society...)

    I don't know...I feel bad for this young man's family, his child, etc. His life is ruined. For a senseless act.

    Based purely on behavioral observations...
    He seems to have parents that care about him deeply. They appear to be very involved in his life. His fathers admits that if he proved to be directly involved in this crime, he says quote "there will be consequences to pay,' but he goes on to stress that the 16 year old was very impressionable and a "follower."

    On the night he was arrested he told his father he was scared - not of the police - but of 'them' - he said, "You don't understand...they're gonna kill all of us..."

    I could take that one of two ways:

    1. Either he's trying to convince his father that he was coerced in some way to avoid culpability. (IMO, a very typical teen reaction in getting caught and getting in trouble.. i.e., "They made me do it" type - of - thing.

    or ....

    2. He really was, in fact, genuinely terrified and felt that he had no choice but to go along with it. I'm just not sure.

    or....

    3. Did he jump at the opportunity to make some fast cash and gain street - cred from the community / and social circles in which he ran with.

    But by all accounts, I agree with this young man's father - these ****s were adults and by all accounts what could they could they possible GAIN from involving a minor?? There's been no proof that RF has a long criminal background or involvement in violent crime before.

    So why in the world would LPG Jr. (or Gary or Frederick or Donnie) recruit a 16 year old to a home invasion, robbery, and murder?

    I'm just speculating out loud:

    Was he a wanna be ****?
    Was he coerced through a stream of lies and threats by LPG Jr.?
    Other possibilities?

    I'm trying to get my head around "them" involving this 16 year old...

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by LaceSprocket; 07-22-2009 at 08:54 AM.

  3. #3
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    Rakeem Florence of Fort Walton Beach confessed to taking part in the home invasion and that he was armed.
    http://www.wkrg.com/crime/article/fo...-2009_8-25-pm/

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaceSprocket View Post
    ETA: oooops....I didn't realize there was a thread on RF already!! Can a mod please merge this? Sorry and thanks in advance!!

    The 16 year old juvenile arrested - charged with an open count of murder.

    Major news outlets do not mention his name. But some local media outlets have mentioned him by name.

    IIRC, sleuths were originally unable to find any prior criminal record. Could this be because juvenile records are closed? Or have we just not uncovered anything yet?


    I'm NOT excusing him from this crime, but I'm really not sure what to make of this teen at this point. He is connected with 5th Dimensions - the auto body where the other suspects worked. PNJ reports that he was only involved with the body shop for two weeks.

    From the interviews with the teen's fathers and those who knew him.. they are shocked by his involvement. On first glance, he does not seem the type to be involved in this. He lives with his girl and had a 10 month old son. He was supposedly studying for auto mechanics, which tells me did, in fact, have plans on supporting his family through orthodox means - studying in school, getting job experience, no criminal record (that we know of......).

    It would be different if RF had a long reputation or record... it would be different if his family portrayed as a no-good bum... Just like LPG Jr.'s own did. (LPG Jr.'s sister said he's evil, needs to be removed from society...)

    I don't know...I feel bad for this young man's family, his child, etc. His life is ruined. For a senseless act.

    Based purely on behavioral observations...
    He seems to have parents that care about him deeply. They appear to be very involved in his life. His fathers admits that if he proved to be directly involved in this crime, he says quote "there will be consequences to pay,' but he goes on to stress that the 16 year old was very impressionable and a "follower."

    On the night he was arrested he told his father he was scared - not of the police - but of 'them' - he said, "You don't understand...they're gonna kill all of us..."

    I could take that one of two ways:

    1. Either he's trying to convince his father that he was coerced in some way to avoid culpability. (IMO, a very typical teen reaction in getting caught and getting in trouble.. i.e., "They made me do it" type - of - thing.

    or ....

    2. He really was, in fact, genuinely terrified and felt that he had no choice but to go along with it. I'm just not sure.

    or....

    3. Did he jump at the opportunity to make some fast cash and gain street - cred from the community / and social circles in which he ran with.

    But by all accounts, I agree with this young man's father - these ****s were adults and by all accounts what could they could they possible GAIN from involving a minor?? There's been no proof that RF has a long criminal background or involvement in violent crime before.

    So why in the world would LPG Jr. (or Gary or Frederick or Donnie) recruit a 16 year old to a home invasion, robbery, and murder?

    I'm just speculating out loud:

    Was he a wanna be ****?
    Was he coerced through a stream of lies and threats by LPG Jr.?
    Other possibilities?

    I'm trying to get my head around "them" involving this 16 year old...

    Thoughts?
    BBM:

    This kid is 16 years old and fathered a child 10 months ago! He is living with a girl, and trying to support all three of them. I can definitely see him voluntarily getting involved with a robbery scheme.
    I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.


  5. #5
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    On another thread, a contributor was taken to task for giving a father's record, along with a perp in this murder. I understand the concern, but it begs the question.

    What if, hypothetically (AHEM) the youngest perp's father, who proclaimed the arrested party to be no more than a 'victim', was found to have a rather long and spotty record himself, i.e.:

    * 1988 Judged GUILTY, Possession of Controlled substance, Okaloosa
    * 1989 Judged GUILTY, Sale of Cocaine, Okaloosa
    * 1989 Charged, Battery, charges dropped by complainant, Okaloosa
    * 1999 Judged GUILTY, Operating with suspended license, Santa Rosa
    * 2008, Judges GUILTY, Possession Cocaine w/intent to distribute, 3 yr prison sentence suspended, Okaloosa....

    various other financial judgments against the same party...

    I personally consider that to be extremely relevant, ESPECIALLY to give proper context to the statements to the press by those same non-neutral parties; however, I fully acknowledge that others might not agree with me.

    So, my judgment would be to include that information, but I respect if the forum's norms are to not do so...

    NOTE: Without even setting out to do so, it is immediately evident that three of the perps:

    Stallworth, Gonzalez, and Florence

    came from families where the fathers were felony criminals as well. Now, I am not on some jag or agenda, but if we looked at the others (have not done so) what do you suppose we would find? What does that say? Is it worthy of comment /discussion here?
    Last edited by Lossmitpro; 07-22-2009 at 10:04 AM.

  6. #6
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    Teen in Billings case charged as adult

    A teenager charged with murder in the July 9 deaths of Byrd and Melanie Billings made his first appearance in adult court Tuesday.

    Rakeem Chaney Florence, 16, of Fort Walton Beach appeared before Escambia County Circuit Judge John T. Parnham, shackled and wearing a green jail jumpsuit. He is the last of the seven suspects accused of murder to make an initial appearance.

    The case will now head to a grand jury which will decide individual charges for each of the defendants. The grand jury is expected to convene within the next week to 10 days, Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille said Tuesday.

    Until Monday, Florence was being held in the Juvenile Detention Center without bond in connection with the double homicide.

    Escambia County Juvenile Judge Ross Goodman on Monday determined Florence could be charged as an adult. He was transferred to the Escambia County Jail where he will remain through the duration of the criminal proceeding.

    (snipped)

    http://pnj.com/article/20090804/NEWS...NTPAGECAROUSEL

  7. #7
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    Just an observation....

    In early interviews with RF's father and family, they seemed genuinely shocked that he was involved in this crime. I posted earlier and pondered the reasoning why this kid got involved with this crime. I guess I bought into the media "spin" about RF being just a kid who got involved with the wrong the crowd (as per his father's interview PNJ.)

    Well....

    Snipped from http://www.pnj.com/article/20090805/NEWS01/908050330

    "During Tuesday's five-minute hearing, Florence spoke only to tell the judge that he was no longer represented by a private attorney."


    Snip again:

    "Florence's family did not attend Tuesday's hearing at the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building in Pensacola."


    No longer represented by a private attorney? Family did not attend the hearing? 16 years old being tried as an adult and put in with the adult criminal population at Escambia County, FL jail system.

    Hmm.... me thinks RF's involvement in this crime was way more involved than perhaps his family/friends realized and what that article from PNJ was trying to sway.

    Wayward youth caught up in a wrong crowd? I think NOT.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaceSprocket View Post
    Hmm.... me thinks RF's involvement in this crime was way more involved than perhaps his family/friends realized and what that article from PNJ was trying to sway.
    Why do you think that? Simply because he is being tried as an adult?

    In many states, it's very common for teenagers to be tried as adults for murder. That's why they moved him to adult prison before trial.

    He should consider himself lucky he didn't do it in Pennsylvania where murder is a life sentence without parole.

  9. #9
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    At first the press called this a well planned crime, that was only solved due to the security cameras being left on by accident,
    The fact that the leaders had a 16 year old involved showed
    just how stupid they were. Even if the cameras had been secured these guys would have been caught. It would have taken a few more days, that all.
    To do such a crime, a smart person would have involved the miniium of people, not the maxium.
    I feel sorry that a 16 year old was involved, but with his family background, he would have done something just as stupid later.
    In the positive, this will get him off of the streets and will save society from a lifetime of future crimes. This whole incident follows the Darwin Theory.THe dumb get culled out and this gang was certainly dumb!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Muffet View Post
    Why do you think that? Simply because he is being tried as an adult?

    In many states, it's very common for teenagers to be tried as adults for murder. That's why they moved him to adult prison before trial.

    He should consider himself lucky he didn't do it in Pennsylvania where murder is a life sentence without parole.
    No - that's not why I think that. I knew he would be tried as an adult. That's not the point I'm trying to make.

    I think that because his father said "My child is a victim!" He blamed the adult perps for getting him involved. In other words, he was implying that Rakeem was basically an innocent 'child' who was into doing something illegal. He was implying something about the adults being charged for involving a minor... blah blah blah.

    Now.... based purely on speculation, it seems like his family have taken an about face. Perhaps dad realized his son was not, in fact, a "victim" and that RF he was very much involved by his own volition. A private attorney is expensive. The family didn't go to his hearing. That doesnt' sound like a family who is totally convinced that their "child" is a victim. That's all I'm saying.

    Yes, I do think he BELONGS in the adult prison.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaceSprocket View Post
    No - that's not why I think that. I knew he would be tried as an adult. That's not the point I'm trying to make.

    I think that because his father said "My child is a victim!" He blamed the adult perps for getting him involved. In other words, he was implying that Rakeem was basically an innocent 'child' who was into doing something illegal. He was implying something about the adults being charged for involving a minor... blah blah blah.

    Now.... based purely on speculation, it seems like his family have taken an about face. Perhaps dad realized his son was not, in fact, a "victim" and that RF he was very much involved by his own volition. A private attorney is expensive. The family didn't go to his hearing. That doesnt' sound like a family who is totally convinced that their "child" is a victim. That's all I'm saying.

    Yes, I do think he BELONGS in the adult prison.
    BBM - No - that sounds to me like a family who does not, nor has ever, supported their child. That sounds like a family who has not taught their child right from wrong - who hasn't taken the time to let him know he has value and abilities that should have been used for good purposes. That sounds like the kind of family who sits back, takes advantage of the system, blames everyone else and plays the victim - but then are too self absorbed to face the music when it begins to play.
    IMO those parents are worthless and did a lousy job parenting. Not exactly a surprise their child ended up in this kind of a mess. 16 year olds think they know everything, and they are a heck of a challenge to the best of parents. But they are still children and don't have the maturity to think through cause and effect issues. 16 year olds will push the limits because "nothing will ever happen to them - it only happens to other people". I'm sure he innately knew right from wrong, but when a child has no roll models, 9 out of 10 times, he will chose wrong - for the excitement, for attention, for approval....

    His parents should have been there for him, regardless if he is guilty or not.
    JMO