On Aug. 3 the six-member jury retired for initial discussion at approximately 1 p.m., returning to 5th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. at 5:30 p.m. to say they could not agree on a verdict, which must be unanimous. Merritt instructed them to return to deliberations to make every effort to render a decision, but they returned an hour later and indicated they were hopelessly deadlocked.
The judge then declared a mistrial and announced a new trial would begin Aug. 20 with a pre-trial conference at 9 a.m., according to Criminal Courts Manager Jeremiah Wiltberger.
In a case filed Feb. 28, 2017, Isaac Troy Lemons, 27, Spring Hill, is charged with third-degree murder and selling, manufacturing, delivering or possessing with intent a controlled substance. He is accused of giving the illegal narcotic flakka to a local teenager, Dylan Thornton, in 2015, leading to the youth’s death. The incident reportedly occurred during Thornton’s 18th birthday; after taking the drug Thornton allegedly removed his clothes and ran into the woods. His body was later found off Crowell Road in Brooksville.
On July 30, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office issued a bulletin asking residents to be on the lookout for George Max Badillo, 29. Badillo reported to the Hernando County Courthouse on July 27 to testify as a material witness for the prosecution, but he left the 5th Circuit Court before being called to the stand.
In response, Merritt issued a Writ of Bodily Attachment and Order Allowing Entry into Residence to take Badillo into custody, and the trial was continued to Aug. 2 so authorities could locate Badillo. He was soon discovered in the company of a woman he was not supposed to be with according to a domestic injunction that was issued to separate them. He testified before the court wearing handcuffs.
Lemons was represented by criminal attorney Debra B. Tuomey, who said she will continue to represent Lemons in the re-trial. The prosecutor is Donald R. Lewis. Tuomey declined to comment on the case.
Flakka is a crystalline drug also known as bath salts that’s been linked to numerous fatal overdoses from effects that resemble large amounts of cocaine or methamphetamines. It frequently leads to hallucinations, violent aggression, self-injury or suicide, and some of this behavior was attributed to Thornton the night he died. The Drug Enforcement Administration notes deaths from this drug poses a serious risk to its users; at least 80 users died as a result of using flakka from September 2014 through December 2015, according to Science Daily. Flakka is usually snorted, smoked or injected.
Lemons is the son of former Real News Faster Reporter Floyd “Tom” Lemons.
Editor’s note: Article was changed to refer to Tom Lemons as a reporter instead of a blogger, due to possible negative connotations around the word blogger.