OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates has new details in a case against an accused child molester who remains on the run Friday.
Channel 9's Christopher Heath obtained recordings from the judge connected to the
child-molestation case involving millionaire Loomes Wheeler, who disappeared last week after cutting off two GPS monitors.
The recordings show Judge Mark Blechman had a difficult time deciding whether Wheeler should be put on GPS monitoring.
Judge Blechman even does a bit of foreshadowing: "One of the concerns was his ability of
flight, with his resources."
According to Heath, the state had big concerns about the program and the private company monitoring Wheeler.
In the recordings, Dave Saporito, the owner of the GPS company, brags to the judge about how efficient his operation is and how it only takes seconds to report a violation.
In Wheeler's case, however, it took the company more than seven hours to alert
For two days in early May, Blechman wrestled with the decision of what to do with Wheeler.
"The issue is that anybody charged with what's listed in the new administrative order is not entitled to be released on
pretrial release or GPS," he can be heard saying in the recording.
Orange and Osceola counties are under orders not to use GPS tracking. Osceola has its own GPS
program, which was exempt from that order, but Wheeler had been rejected from the program, so Blechman allowed Wheeler's defense find its own GPS company.
"I'm willing to let him out on GPS. And without GPS, I'm not willing to let him out. Find me a way to impose GPS," Blechman said to Wheeler's defense attorneys.
Less than 24 hours later, the defense brought in Saporito.
"I own a bail bond company," Saporito said. "We also do electronic monitoring. Twenty-two years bail bonds, five years now GPS."
Saporito, who only has clients in Brevard County, bragged to the judge about his success and how fast he could detect any violation or tampering with the device.
"It actually hits our iPhones right here, instantly, to tell us if it was a strap tamper or if it was something in the middle of the night," said
Saporito. "We call the local police department."
Almost immediately, the state voiced its concerns.
"If the victim's mother provided a phone number, I want them directly notified as well of any violations of zone or removal," prosecutors said.
The judge granted the GPS, but four months later, Wheeler cut off both devices he was wearing and hasn't been seen since.
Ninth Circuit Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry, who issued the order banning private GPS companies in Orange and Osceola counties, said all judges knew the policy.
Judge Perry said Blechman had no authority to put Wheeler on GPS.
"Every judge has my
cellphone number. If there is any confusion, there are ways to clear up that confusion," Perry said.