JEFFERSON COUNTY, Fla. — A convicted rapist is accused of terrorizing a victim from the state prison where he is jailed.
Brevard County lead prosecutor Julia Lynch spoke exclusively with Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones about why Lynch believes the violent felon has been using a cellphone and fake social media accounts in prison.
Lynch, who oversees thousands of sexual crimes and child abuse cases in the county, said she continues to open the file of Christopher Wood, 10 years after he was convicted of rape and kidnapping.
Lynch said Wood, who is serving a 52-year prison sentence at Jefferson County's Jefferson Correctional Institute, has tied up court time with a motion that he filed earlier this year in which he claims that he has new evidence in the case -- a witness who wasn't interviewed.
"We were able to contact her," Lynch said. "And we realized this was something made up once again.”
Prosecutors believe it's part of Wood's effort to continue terrorizing his victim, and they said their research has uncovered an even larger problem in state prisons.
"I'm amazed that he's able to have a cellphone," Assistant State Attorney Samantha Barrett said.
Barrett said the victim called prosecutors and frantically described a string of Facebook messages, some of which were sent from a mobile device, records showed.
"She and her daughters had been receiving messages from this person, who called themselves Lilly Smith," Barrett said.
Prosecutors sent a letter to the Florida Department of Corrections to try to prove that Wood wrote the messages sent from the "Lilly Smith" Facebook account.
The profile photo associated with the Facebook account shows a news reporter from the west coast. Another Facebook account, which uses the name "Chris Moore," has a profile photo of a Wisconsin congressman. He was unaware that the photo was being used until Channel 9 contacted his office.
In a statement emailed to Channel 9, a Florida DOC spokesman said that Wood doesn't have a cellphone. But prosecutors said they received a different story from the DOC when the agency responded to their letter in October -- eight months after it was sent and days after Channel 9 began asking questions.
"I said, 'I want to make sure Christopher Wood, as well as other inmates, don't have a cellphone," Lynch said. "And they were basically, like, good luck; they do."
The letter included details from recorded prison calls, including one in which Wood's aunt asks why he suddenly started making collect calls to her.
"'You lose your phone?" his aunt said during a call.
Wood said that he was moved to a different dorm and that "things are set up different.”
Prosecutors said they have dedicated hundreds of hours to a defendant who has already been convicted.
"The public is at risk," Lynch said.
The DOC declined Channel 9's repeated requests for an on-camera interview, but the agency's secretary provided this statement:
"The Department is steadfastly committed to preventing the introduction of contraband and upholding the security of our institutions. Our Office of Intelligence is working daily to find new, intelligence-led methods in the fight against contraband. We have zero tolerance for inmate misconduct and any action that would lead to the further victimization of individuals in the community. If any inmate is found to be in possession of a cell phone or other contraband item, FDC takes immediate measures to hold that individual accountable and ensure appropriate disciplinary action is taken."
Brevard County prosecutors said they're frustrated because they have no jurisdiction over the alleged crime. They said they hope the DOC or Jefferson County prosecutors will investigate the alleged incident further.
The DOC told Channel 9 it is investigating, but it said that Wood hasn't had a cellphone on him during searches.
Cox Media Group