Around 1:47 am on February 8th, deputies responded to a suspicious person call and made contact with two individuals who stated they were at a party located at 10213 County Highway 3280, Ponce De Leon, with a friend, William Hallman. While at the party they were approached by an unknown individual, brandishing a knife, and were asked to leave. As they were departing, the victim, William Hallman, was punched and his cell phone was taken and thrown in the woods. The two individuals who accompanied Hallman at the party, ran to the nearest home to call 911 because their cell phones had no signal. Both individuals were taken to meet their parents after speaking with deputies about the incident. Shortly after, Deputy Matthew Aimanovich was traveling west on County Highway 3280, when he saw a young man stumble on the side of the road and collapse. Deputy Aimanovich immediately made contact with the individual identified as 19 year old William Hallman of Freeport. As he approached, Hallman was yelling “Please no more, please no more!” Once Deputy Aimanovich identified himself as a law enforcement officer, Mr. Hallman stated “Get me out of here they have been beating me up and kicking me.” Deputy Aimanovich asked Mr. Hallman “Who has been beating you up?” Hallman replied and identified once of the suspects as “James Sparks.” Hallman was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital due to his injuries.
A photo line-up was presented to Hallman where he identified four individuals who all took part in encouraging each other to strike and kick him and steal his watch. Hallman attempted to flee from the suspects but they caught up with him and continued to batter him. The following individuals have been charged by investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.
Jacob Wayne Ward, 20, 108 MCCewen Street, Ponce De Leon, is charged with battery and robbery.
Aaron Michael Taylor, 26, 10213 County Highway 3280, Ponce De Leon, is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill and robbery.
Jason James Sparks, 19, 14556 State Highway 81, Bruce, is charged with battery and robbery.
Shane Keith Sanders, 16, 289 Williams Street, Santa Rosa Beach, is charged with battery, larceny and robbery. Sanders was taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice since he is a minor.
During the course of the investigation, the incident began over Jason Sparks finding out that his ex-girlfriend was speaking to Hallman. More arrests are expected.