RIVIERA BEACH — Only in Riviera Beach, folks!
Police in the troubled city chose to believe a man once sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing two motorists in a DUI accident over a former commander with a storied vice squad career at RBPD.
In a he-said, he-said investigation that lacks cruelly in details and credibility, cops actually sided with freshly-released convict Donald S. Flewellen when he claimed radio talk show host and former candidate for Palm Beach County Sheriff Rick Sessa pulled out a gun and threatened to kill him while holding him by the throat Feb. 21.
Despite the lack of evidence, Sessa was arrested last week.
Sessa, a loud critic of RBPD Chief Clarence Williams and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw who ran for the constitutional office last year, was left to rot at the county jail for six hours AFTER he paid his $50,000-bond.
His jailers, Bradshaw employees, claimed they “lost” his finger prints to explain why he stayed in the slammer for more than twice as long as the average suspect.
Sessa’s due back in court for a hearing in April on three serious charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, trespassing and battery.
Friday, a source at the Palm Beach County State Attorney tells Gossip Extra, SA investigators met with Flewellen to shed some more light on the rush RBPD investigation.
If Flewellen is convicted of making up his allegations, he faces life in prison.
No word yet on what transpired, but Sessa told us exclusively last week that Flewellen’s story was made up.
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Sessa told us last week his arrest came after he complained several times to RBPD about drug dealers selling hard drugs out of a Singer Island apartment complex where Flewellen lives.
Instead of investigating their former commander’s claims, police nabbed Sessa.
The 59-year-old Flewellen’s pedigree, meanwhile, is bound to give any judge pause, even if it failed to give investigating RB Police Officer Russell Byrd a clue.
In 2000, according to records, a drunk Flewellen drove a van he had just stolen across the center line on State Road 76, causing a collision that killed two people and left a third, Luis Jimenez, irreversibly brain-damaged.
That accident resulted in Jimenez living at Martin Memorial Medical Center for almost three years, costing the hospital millions since Jiminez was an illegal immigrant with no insurance.
In time, the hospital shipped Jimenez back to his native Guatemala, an action that sparked a civil rights lawsuit that gained national attention.
Flewellen pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and grand theft, served seven years of a 10-year prison term when he was released in December 2009.
Weeks after his release, however, Flewellen took a neighbor’s car and caused a hit-and-run accident. This time, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for violation of probation.
With credit and good behavior, records show Flewellen was released in 2015, and might still be on probation.
In 1997, Flewellen was convicted of theft, burglary and forgery in Martin County, records show.
In the early 1990s, he was also accused of stealing a car, robbery, burglary and assault in South Carolina, according to records.
Said Sessa’s lawyer, Steve Sessa: “A couple of things about this case is a little unusual, including the way it was investigated.
“Since Feb. 21, this guy (Flewellen) has not asked for restraining order and does not appear to be in fear. Why would RBPD circumvent all standard operating procedures and walk a warrant through on a case where it one person’s word again another, and the accuser has such a sordid past as a multiple convicted felon?”