Victim: I can have some relief for 5-years

An emotional 51-year-old woman who testified that a former Sheriff’s watch commander had been stalking her and her family for over two years, told Historic City News that she can “have some relief for 5-years” after Circuit Court Judge Wendy Berger handed down the sentence against Roger “Wayne” Colee earlier today.

Colee, a 22-year veteran officer of the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, who has been held at the county jail in solitary confinement for the past seven months, received the maximum sentence of 5-years in prison. He was ordered to follow the terms of the injunction previously issued by Judge Alexander, have no contact with the victim or her family, and pay about $800 in fines and fees, plus any restitution due, before he was fingerprinted and removed from court; never released from handcuffs and ankle restraints during the proceedings.

Defense attorney, Patrick Canan, introduced witnesses who testified they knew a different Wayne Colee than the one whose obsession with a woman he began dating in November 2009 would lead to what Dr. Jack Merwin described as a “loss of rational behavior”.

Colee admitted his crimes and offered apologies to the victim and members of her family who accompanied her in court today. Dr. Merwin, a local psychologist, testified that he administered tests to Colee including a personality inventory and a domestic violence inventory. He said that he found no psychopathology to explain Colee’s compulsion to know where the victim was, and who she was with, at all hours.

By December, 2010, the victim told the court that she broke off the relationship with Colee after his jealousy and possessiveness progressed to the point of cyberstalking. Colee admitted in court that he had created false facebook profiles under names of the victim’s friends and then used them to gain access to accounts belonging to her and her children.

As he approached to address the court, Colee told Judge Berger, “I love [the victim] with all my heart”. When sentence was rendered, the judge would recall the remark which she says gives her concern that Colee still has not “let go” of the failed relationship.

Colee testified that during the past 204 days while he has been in solitary confinement, he has only been out of his 10×10 cell about 30-45 minutes each day — to shower or call his family. Colee’s mother, father, and two sisters were in the courtroom. They continue to support Colee and told reporters that they do not believe the charges against him.

The Colee family is well respected in the community; one of the original Minorcan families that can trace their roots to the city’s founding. Colee has not been in trouble in the past and his former supervisor, Commander Frank Cyr, testified that Colee was a valuable watch commander, even tempered, not aggressive or prone to violence, and a “good decision maker”. Dr. Merwin testified that Colee has no history of drug or alcohol abuse and ranked the defendant in the “low risk” range of threat for domestic violence.

Merwin believes that following his divorce, Colee became insecure. He was not emotionally prepared to deal with another rejection in a social context, according to today’s testimony. The humiliation for Colee has been tremendous, Dr. Merwin said. After his evaluation, Merwin believes Colee is finally resigned to accept his fate and is done with social relationships; recommending treatment to address domestic abuse and boundary issues.

Colee, speaking to the judge on his own behalf, said that he has lost 40 pounds since his incarceration. He realizes that he has lost his job and his profession. He says he used the time to reflect on his behavior. “It never crossed my mind to hurt her,” Colee said. “I was obsessed with her.” Colee apologized for his intrusion into the victim’s facebook and repeated telephone calls to her. “I am very sorry, I did not act appropriately.”

In what he would later describe to Historic City News editor Michael Gold as “a very sad day” Detective David Causey testified as to the thousands of instances of the victim’s name found while completing a forensic examination of the hard disk of Colee’s home computer. “They really spiked this year,” Causey testified.

Canan argued in closing that the seven months behind bars was what it took for Colee to clear his head. “He just couldn’t let go,” Canan explained. “The ironic part is that all of these charges are motivated by love.”

Judge Berger said that she didn’t see it as “love”, she saw Colee’s behavior as “scary”, just before she meted out the maximum sentence for the third-degree felony, aggravated stalking after injunction.

Colee has thirty-days to file an appeal — we asked Patrick Canan if there would be an appeal of the sentence. He said that he and his partner, Andrew Morgan, would discuss it with the family and make a decision at that time.

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