The shooting deaths of two men in the parking lot of a Niceville strip mall on February 11th, 2022, will wait until at least the beginning of 2023 – after the trial was continued to the 9th of January, 2023.
Bryson Tyrese Mitchem of Niceville and Brandon Dequan James of Tallahassee were killed in the February shootout near state route 20.
Of the four individuals involved, two face murder charges. Another faces a cocaine distribution charge and a fourth has been convicted of obstruction of justice in the case.
The shooting deaths took place in the evening of February 11th, and disturbed the Niceville community, which has not seen a shooting death take place in nearly a decade within city limits.
Violent crime continues to be very low in Niceville, about .6 crimes per 1,000 people in the city. The total number of deaths works out to be about ten violent crimes within city limits every year.
In fact, earlier in 2022, Niceville was named the safest city in the State of Florida
So basically, while this shooting death was horrifying and tragic – it’s also a very rare occurrence in Boggy Bayou.
According to Niceville Chief David Popwell – four men in their late teens and early twenties survived the evening after what police claim to be a drug deal gone wrong. One victim’s body was left behind at the scene.
Immediately after the killings, some number of the survivors piled into a car and fled the scene. They stopped near a home on Palm avenue in the City of Niceville, where a second dead body and Isaiah Lamar Luna, wounded in the shooting – exited or were forced to exit the vehicle.
Either during the confusion before the victims exited the vehicle or afterward, the occupants of the vehicle flung an AK-47-style rifle from the car, where it was found by a high school student. Police investigating the incident say the magazine had a full magazine and a round in the chamber when it was found by the student.
Three of the four people involved in the shooting who are still alive face murder charges.
Isaiah Luna, who is listed as a resident of Tallahassee, is the first of the trio who has been charged. In total, law enforcement charged Luna with 1st and 2nd degree homicide and armed robbery. Like the other two men charged with the same charges, he will face the court in a pretrial conference in January of 2023.
Though a verdict is far from being rendered in the homicide trial, The court found Isaiah Luna, who was wounded in the shootings, guilty of an obstruction of justice charge after he pleaded no contest. He served 30 days in jail and was assessed a $375 fine. According to court records, he is delinquent on his payments to the court.
Police did not charge Wingate with either armed robbery or homicide in their investigation of the killings. Wingate, 18 at the time of the shooting, has a previous felony record. According to court documents from the State of Florida, Wingate has previous felony convictions for marijuana distribution and vehicle theft.
Police may not have charged him with murder, but they did press cocaine distribution charges against him and resisted a law enforcement officer by obstruction without violence. His pre-trial conference date is set for the same day as the two individuals charged with murder. He will have his day in court on January 9th as well.
Walton County deputy sheriffs have a warrant for Wingate as well. They charge him with stealing a firearm and possessing marijuana with intent to sell.
Brenden Carson will likely celebrate his 20th birthday in jail as he awaits or is in the throes of his murder trial. The Mary Esther resident faces first and second-degree homicide charges and an armed robbery charge. According to the Okaloosa Clerk of Court’s database, Carson has no previous convictions.
Tallahassee Resident Kaland Jones will join Brendan Carson as a defendant in the murder trial for the Niceville shooting deaths of Tyrese Mitchem and Brandon James. He is charged by the state with 1st and 2nd-degree homicides and armed robbery.