Here is a review of criminal cases heard at the Marion County Judicial Center the week of Nov. 13:
State v. Rudd Ronel Gelin
Charge: Second-degree murder.
Lawyer: James W. Smith.
Judge: Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon.
Hearing: Prosecutors said on Nov. 14 that they have filed murder charge against Gelin. His next court date is scheduled for February.
About the case: The 28-year-old Gainesville man has been charged in connection with the death of Deangelo Laverne Williams, 27.
Police officials said Gelin and Williams were arguing over a woman when Gelin allegedly stabbed Williams once in the chest.
At the time of the incident, Gelin was a corrections officer at Columbia Correctional Institution. Florida Department of Corrections officials said Gelin was hired on Feb. 5, 2021 and was fired after his October arrest.
State officials said Gelin’s personnel file indicates he had instances of tardiness, failure to comply with oral and written instructions, and excessive absenteeism.
State v. Kevin William Ernest
Judge: Circuit Judge Peter Brigham.
Lawyers: Ocala attorney Jack Maro for the defense and Assistant State Attorney Elizabeth White for the prosecution.
About the case: Ernest was arrested in 2019 after sheriff’s deputies were told he had molested a girl.
Trial: Ernest’s trial began Nov. 15 and ended Nov. 16. Jury selection was on Nov. 13.
Charges: Three counts each of sexual battery upon child younger than 12 and sexual battery.
Jurors: Three women and three men.
In court: At trial, the 41-year-old Silver Springs man and the victim took the witness stand. Jurors also heard other witness testimony and watched videos pertaining to the case.
White said the victim had a turbulent life, moving from place to place. The prosecutor said the victim was reluctant to report the abuse and had trouble trusting adults because of her trauma.
Her ordeal came to light in an anonymous post that was investigated by sheriff’s deputies. Their investigation ended with Ernest’s arrest.
Maro said the victim did not cry during her interview and suggest someone was pulling the strings. The lawyer said there’s no evidence supporting her allegations and called her a misguided young girl.
Deliberations: The jury deliberated for a little more than two hours and returned with a guilty verdict on all charges. Family and friends on both sides cried when the clerk made the announcement.
The victim told the court she can move on. Ernest declined to make a statement.
Released on bond:Woman accused of insurance fraud, filing false rape claim out of jail as cases proceed
Sentence: The judge sentenced Ernest to life in prison. He has been classified as a sexual predator. Ernest, who cannot have any contact with the victim, plans to appeal and will be represented by the Public Defender’s Office.
Contact Austin L. Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org