The husband of the woman who was shot and killed by an Indian River County deputy last month is formally requesting an independent investigation into his wife's death.
Guy Rubin, Dr. Dudley Teel's attorney, sent a letter to the Sheriff's Office, formally requesting the Sheriff turn the investigation over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In July, Deputy Jonathan Lozada shot and killed Susan Teel in the family's Vero Beach home. Earlier that night, her daughter had called 911 after Teel's husband found her trying to cut her wrists.
Sheriff Deryl Loar told reporters in a news conference the following day that Teel lunged at Deputy Lozada with a knife. The Sheriff supported the deputy's decision saying that Lozada had no choice but to fire.
In the letter, the family claims what appears to be a conflict of interest - preventing an impartial investigation from the Sheriff's Office.
The letter reads, "Within 15 hours of Susan Teel's death by Deputy Jonathan Lozado, Sheriff Loar made numerous public comments in support of Lozado's actions, virtually exonerating Lozado. These comments came before the facts were gathered, and the investigation was obviously just under way."
By Jorge Milian - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
JUPITER — The father of one Tequesta teenager lost at sea in July 2015 is asking that his name be removed from a wrongful death lawsuit filed in July by the family of the other teen.
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14, disappeared July 24, 2015, after taking a 19-foot boat into a fierce offshore storm. William “Blu” Stephanos, Austin’s father, is one of four people named in the court action. The others are Austin’s mother, Carly Black, his grandfather, Richard Kuntz, and his stepfather, Richard “Bubba” Black.
Stephanos wants to be “dismissed from this case as he did nothing wrong, he was not in charge of the boys and he had never seen the boat,” according to court documents filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
The Cohen lawsuit alleges that Stephanos is responsible, in part, for Cohen’s death because he failed to notify authorities after learning that the boys were missing and then “delayed” the search “in the most critical moments” by conducting his own search while withholding information from rescuers.
By: Stephanie Brown
Jacksonville, FL - Now-former Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown has been denied a new trial, after being convicted on 18 of 22 federal fraud-related charges in May.
A judge has also issued an order denying a motion for acquittal. Brown’s sentencing has now been set for November 16th.
Brown was found guilty of soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sham charity called “One Door For Education”, using the money for personal expenses and lavish events instead. Her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of One Door Carla Wiley both pleaded guilty and testified against Brown at trial.
Simmons has now been formally adjudicated guilty and his sentencing has been set for November 15th. Wiley was adjudicated shortly after entering her plea in March 2016, but her sentencing has now also been set for November 15th, to take place in the same courtroom at the same time as Simmons.
Laurence Reisman, firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1994, an Indian River County sheriff's deputy thought he saw drugs thrown out of a suspect’s car in Gifford. A chase ensued. The driver of a fleeing vehicle ran a red light on U.S. 1, ramming the side of an eastbound vehicle, killing a woman and three children.
Given the carnage, this news organization questioned Sheriff Gary Wheeler's claim the chase had been broken off and the suspect’s vehicle was going only 70 mph. One of our reporters measured the skid marks. A retired traffic homicide investigator told him the fleeing car was traveling at more than 100 mph.
Last week, attorney Guy Rubin questioned Sheriff Deryl Loar’s defense of a deputy who shot to death Susan Teel, a doctor’s wife, in her home July 26. Deputy Jonathan Lozada arrived at the home after a 911 call saying Teel, 62, was trying to kill herself with a knife.
Lozada, a five-year deputy, fired after Teel lunged at him with a knife, Loar said.
"Let me be clear," Rubin said last week at a news conference. "Susan Teel wanted to die that night. Her family tried desperately to stop her. Ultimately, she was successful in committing suicide by cop."
Gil Smart, email@example.com
Woman with a knife lunges at cop. Cop fires, killing the woman.
It's a simple scenario, but not an easy one.
It describes what's alleged to have happened in a gated Vero Beach community July 26, when Indian River County Deputy Jonathan Lozada responded to a 911 call about a woman who had tried to commit suicide. Arriving at the home on Carriage Lake Way, he encountered Susan Teel, 62, who had slashed her own wrists with a knife.
According to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, she then lunged at Lozada with the raised butcher knife, and he responded as law enforcement is trained to when confronted with a potentially deadly encounter: He fired. She died.
"Suicide by cop," it's called.
But did it have to be this way?
The attorney hired by the Teel family, Guy Rubin, has said Lozada might have prevented the deadly encounter if Indian River County and other law enforcement agencies had deputies "trained to handle these cases more like the negotiator and less like Rambo."
Dr. Dudley Teel says his 40-year marriage to Susan Teel wasn't perfect. “Like all families, we had our ups and downs, but she was wonderful,” he says.
Dr. Teel says lately he saw a change is his wife, as a battle with depression sent her down a dark path. “Things just spiraled out of control and just got worse and worse,” he says.
The spiral culminated in the events of last Wednesday.
Indian River County deputies were called to the home of the Teels after she attempted to commit suicide.
The sheriff says Jonathan Lozada, was forced to shoot and kill Teel after she lunged at him with a butcher knife.
The family sees it another way.
“Isn't it time we have deputies trained to handle these cases like the negotiator and less like Rambo,” says family Attorney Guy Rubin.
Rubin says Susan's death was due to a lack of "intelligent policing' – and says it was the deputy who escalated the situation.
“Essentially approaching a person who was erratic and know to be erratic and put himself in harm’s way to then be in a position where deadly use of force was justified,” Rubin says.
FORT PIERCE, Fla. — An attorney for the family of the woman who died in a deputy-involved shooting spoke on the steps of the St. Lucie County courthouse Friday.
When Susan Teel's daughter called 911 to say her mom was trying commit suicide, "She asked for an ambulance, not police," said attorney Guy Rubin during a news conference.
Indian River Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the home of Teel and her husband Dr. Dudley Teel in Vero Beach last week.
Sheriff Deryl Loar said Dr. Teel discovered his wife cutting her wrists in the bathroom and when his deputy Deputy Jonathan Lozada arrived the 62-year-old woman lunged at him with a butcher knife.
"In the perfect situation he would have been able to go up and help her she would perhaps be alive but unfortunately this is a spit second decision," said Sheriff Loar last week.
Loar said the deputy took one shot at the woman who died from the injuries.
"Ultimately she was successful in committing suicide by cop," said Rubin.
by Erin MachPherson
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. (CBS 12) — Nine days ago, a 62-year-old woman was shot and killed by an Indian River County deputy after that deputy said Susan Teel lunged at him with a knife.
Friday, Teel’s husband expressed what happened that night. Dr. Dudley Teel said his wife was cutting her wrists with a knife and had been on anti-depressants for a while.
Dr. Teel struggled to talk at first but then opened up about his relationship with his wife.
“She was wonderful and we had just recently moved into this house and I switched my job so I didn't have to work as much and we just spent lots of time together. We'd sit on the back porch in the morning and we'd have coffee and watch the birds, I know it sounds dumb, but that's what we did. She would go to the gym and workout and I would go walk and we'd get back around 1:30 and then we'd go play golf,” said Dr. Teel.
Lucas Daprile, firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT PIERCE — Relatives of Susan Teel, fatally shot by an Indian River County sheriff's deputy in her home just more than a week ago, are not pushing for the deputy to be criminally charged in the shooting, the family's lawyer said Friday.
"We don't want to put the cart in front of the horse," Rubin said during a news conference he called in front of the St. Lucie County Courthouse, a central location for those attending. He said he's waiting to see the investigation results.
The Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office are conducting separate investigations into the events surrounding the shooting. A grand jury will determine whether criminal charges should be brought.
Deputy Jonathan Lozada responded to Teel's Carriage Lake Way home southwest of Vero Beach the night of July 26 after a 911 call about Susan Teel, 62, cutting her wrists in a suicide attempt. The Sheriff's Office reported she lunged at Lozada with a butcher knife and the deputy shot her, killing her.
by Maya Chung
The mother of a Florida teen who went missing at sea in 2015 along with his friend filed a wrongful death suit against the other teen's family on Friday.
The filing, which took place at the Palm Beach County Courthouse, came just days before the two year anniversary of the boys’ disappearance.
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14, went missing off the coast of Florida during a fishing trip on Austin's boat the morning July 24. Two days later, the 19-foot fishing boat was spotted capsized during a widespread search for the teens.
The boys have since been presumed dead.
“This lawsuit is about truth, accountability and justice,” attorney Guy Rubin said in a statement on behalf of Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother. “Perry’s family can not just move on, put this behind them or let it go.”
Cohen alleges in the lawsuit that Austin’s family was negligent and that it resulted in the boys’ deaths.
In June, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that Carly Black, Austin’s mother, showed an “egregious lack of judgement and failure to execute due care” when she allowed the teens to go alone on a fishing trip in a “minimally equipped” 1978 boat.
The 2015 disappearance of two teens at sea took a new turn Friday when the family of one of the boys filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the other youth’s family.
The lawsuit filed by Perry Cohen’s family alleges negligence against the family of Austin Stephanos, said Guy Rubin, the attorney representing Perry’s mother, Pamela Cohen. The filing was made within days of the two-year anniversary of Austin and Perry’s disappearance.
According to Rubin, the allegations in the lawsuit include:
— The boat the two teens embarked on wasn’t properly equipped to go into the ocean.
— Austin’s parents knew the boys, both 14 at the time, were heading to the ocean.
— A lawsuit was Pamela Cohen’s only legal option after prosecutors declined to press charges.
Rubin discussed pursuing the civil case during a news conference outside the Palm Beach County Courthouse, but declined to answer reporters’ questions.
“This wasn’t a case of bad luck or simply bad weather,” said Rubin, reading from a statement. “Responsible parents would have never allowed 14-year-olds to go into the ocean on a small boat with no VHF radio, no tracking devices, no compass and no voyage plan.”
by Sierra Darville
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
The mother of Perry Cohen is filing a civil lawsuit against the family of Austin Stephanos.
The announcement of the lawsuit was announced at a Friday morning news conference in front of the Palm Beach County Courthouse.
Attorney Guy Rubin says Pamela Cohen is filing the lawsuit against all parties involved in the disappearance and presumed death of Perry including: William Stephanos, Carlson Black, Richard Black Jr. and Richard Kuntz.
According to the lawsuit, Perry told his mother he planned to spend the night at Austin's house, then fish in the river the morning of July 24, 2015.
However, the teen boys had plans to fish along the Florida coast.
According to Rubin, it was common knowledge among the families that Perry was not allowed to go fishing in the ocean without adult supervision or his mother's permission.
The lawsuit claims despite this knowledge, Austin's family provided him with money for fuel and gear to go deep sea fishing. It also states Austin's grandfather, Richard Kuntz, knew the boat they were taking out to sea was not equipped with any communication equipment, GPS or beacon necessary to require aid in the event of an emergency.
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos went missing off the coast of Florida in July 2015. Now Amber Jamieson
Cohen's mother is suing Stephanos' family.
The mother of a teenager who went missing off the coast of Florida in 2015 is suing the family of her son's friend, accusing them of negligence that resulted in the presumed death of the two boys.
Monday, July 24, will mark two years since Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both aged 14, went missing off the coast off Florida during a fishing trip in Stephanos' boat.
On Friday, Cohen's mother Pamela filed a lawsuit in a civil court in Palm Beach against Stephanos' mother, father, stepfather, and grandfather, arguing that they failed to protect her son, who had been on a sleepover at the Stephanos house the day the pair went missing.
Guy Rubin, the attorney for Pamela Cohen, said his client just wanted to know exactly what happened.
"It’s about finding the truth and teaching lessons about parental responsibility," he told BuzzFeed News. "They desperately miss their son and not having any finality as to what happened to him hurts the most. It just leaves an open wound."
Melissa E. Holsman, email@example.com
WEST PALM BEACH — Nearly two years after Perry Cohen and his friend Austin Stephanos were lost at sea, Cohen's mother filed a lawsuit that accuses Stephanos family members of negligent supervision prior to the boys' disappearance.
Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14, were last seen leaving the Jupiter Inlet before vanishing at sea July 24, 2015.
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed Friday in West Palm Beach, Cohen's mother, Pamela Cohen, sued Stephanos' mother, Carlson "Carly" Black and his father, William "Blu" Stephanos, and accused the pair of negligent supervision and a breach of "parental trust" related to the boys' disappearance.
Stuart attorney Guy Rubin, who represents Pamela Cohen, filed the suit Friday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, said the legal action was about pursuing the truth.
"This lawsuit is about truth, accountability and justice," Rubin said in a prepared statement. "Because the state attorney declined to pursue a criminal case, a civil action is now Pamela Cohen's only course."
Also named as defendants were Richard Brian "Bubba" Black Jr. and William Kuntz.
Any money damages awarded to the Cohen family, Rubin stated, will be donated to charity.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The mother of Perry Cohen is filing a wrongful-death lawsuit. Her son and Austin Stephanos disappeared at sea July 24, 2015. They were last seen leaving the Jupiter Inlet.
At a Friday morning news conference, Cohen's attorney said he has filed a lawsuit against those who contributed to Perry's disappearance and presumed death. Listed in the lawsuit are Carly Black, Richard Black, Jr., William Stephanos and Richard Kuntz.
"This lawsuit is about truth, accountability, and justice," attorney Guy Rubin said.
He said because the State Attorney declined to pursue a criminal case, a civil action is Pamela Cohen's only course. He said if a jury were to award damages it would be donated to charity.
Rubin and Cohen declined to answer questions from reporters following the news conference.
By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The parents of one of two South Florida teenagers who disappeared at sea during a fishing trip in 2015 are suing the family of their son's best friend.
Pamela and Philip Cohen joined attorney Guy Rubin outside the Palm Beach County courthouse Friday morning in West Palm Beach as they announced the filing of a wrongful-death lawsuit.
Rubin said the lawsuit was filed "against those who contributed to the disappearance and presumed death" of Perry.
Because the state attorney's office declined to pursue a criminal case, civil action against Austin's parents is the Cohen family's only recourse, Rubin said.
A federal judge last week lifted an injunction that kept the Cohens from suing Austin's parents, Carly Black and Blu Stephanos, in state court.
The families of the missing 14-year-old boys have battled in court since December over a maritime law that limited the amount of damages the Cohens could collect from the value of the boat.
Perry Cohen and his friend Austin Stephanos disappeared on July 24, 2015.
Legal battles between the families of two Florida teens missing at sea, who disappeared nearly two years ago, continue with a wrongful death lawsuit announced Friday at the Palm Beach County Courthouse.
“This lawsuit is about truth, accountability and justice,” attorney Guy Rubin wrote in a prepared statement delivered on behalf of Pamela Cohen, mother of Perry Cohen, who vanished into the waters off Jupiter Inlet with friend Austin Stephanos during a fishing excursion on July 24, 2015. Monday marks two years since the 14-year-old boys’ disappearance and presumed deaths that made headlines worldwide.
The suit also names co-plaintiff John Eric Romano, personal representative of Perry’s estate. Defendants are Austin’s parents, Carly Black and Blu Stephanos, and grandfather, Richard Kuntz. Counts include negligent entrustment, breach of custodian and parental trust, negligent supervision and negligent undertaking of search.
It comes on the heels of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation that found Carly Black, Austin’s mother, showed an “egregious lack of judgement and failure to execute due care” when she allowed the boys to go offshore for a fishing excursion in a “minimally equipped” 19-foot 1978 SeaCraft knowing that the boat lacked basic safety and communications devices.
Jorge Milian and Paige Fry Palm - Beach Post Staff Writer
WEST PALM BEACH -- The family of Perry Cohen, one of the two Tequesta teenagers lost at sea in 2015, said Friday it will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the family of the other teen in state court.
The announcement, set to be made on the entrance to the Palm Beach County Courthouse, will come just days before the two-year anniversary of the boys’ disappearance.
“This lawsuit is about truth, accountability and justice,” said Guy Bennett Rubin, the attorney for the Cohen family.
"Perry’s family can not just move on, put this behind them or let it go,” Rubin said, adding that Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother, “will not and cannot stop until she is confident justice has been done for Perry.”
The family of Austin Stephanos could not immediately be reached for comment.
A federal judge opened the door to a lawsuit on July 10 by lifting an injunction that kept the Cohens from suing Carly Black, Austin’s mother, in state court. Black owned the 19-foot boat her son Austin Stephanos was in when he left the Jupiter Inlet on July 24, 2015, with the Cohens’ son, Perry.