Man accused of killing wife in Clay County caught at Jacksonville home

A 36-year-old man accused of killing his wife, injuring her mother and harming her teenaged niece Sunday afternoon in Argyle Forest was captured Wednesday at his Westside Jacksonville home, Clay County deputies said.

Kenneth Leonard Poythress Jr. was taken into custody about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities thought he might return there but said they weren’t sure when so they had been watching the home and were alerted to his return when he set off the alarm.

He is accused of killing his wife, 34-year-old Curtishia Poythress, at a home on Heron Nest Point, and driving off in her car.

The 2008 Honda Accord was recovered from the garage at the home where Poythress was arrested, deputies said. Sheriff Darryl Daniels said Poythress was taken into custody without incident.

“For this individual to seek solace in Duval County and think that the long arm of the law couldn’t reach out that far, I don’t care if that person laid their head in the pits of hell, then we’ll go down and kick the gates of hell open and come and get him, if you try to run from the long arm of the law,” Daniels said. “One less murder suspect is on the streets of Northeast Florida.”

When deputies responded to the Heron Nest Point home at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, they found Curtishia dead, her mother injured and a teenaged girl with minor injuries, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Poythress was wanted for one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and armed burglary.

“A family has been totally disrupted, a neighborhood has been totally disrupted over one action from one individual who chose to take the life of somebody else,” Daniels said. “That’s totally unacceptable.”

Antonio Hood, Curtishia’s father, told News4Jax that he and his granddaughter went to the store Sunday and when they returned home, he saw Poythress leaving the house. Inside, they found Curtishia had been killed and Hood’s wife and Curtishia’s niece had been injured.

“We saw him take off in the car, but we didn’t know it was him at the time. I thought it was my daughter. He took my daughter’s car,” Hood said.

That car was returned Wednesday to Clay County as part of the investigation.

Hood said Poythress and his daughter had been separated for a year, but Poythress had never been violent toward the family. He said Poythress drove to the Heron Nest Point home in his own vehicle, which he left at the scene when he took off in his wife’s car.

Poythress has a previous criminal history in Duval County, including arrests for battery, sexual assault, making threats and soliciting for prostitution.

The arrest for making threats involved an incident in which Jacksonville police said Poythress threatened to kill his brother and his brother’s family. The incident report for that case indicated that Poythress’ brother suspected that Poythress suffers from mental illness.

Daniels was flanked at Wednesday’s news conference announcing the arrest by representatives from domestic violence shelters Quigley House and Hubbard House.

“If you are a person living out in domestic violence conditions or in hostile living conditions, don’t be afraid to walk away from that and seek shelter in a safe place, so that situations like this can be mitigated,” Daniels said.

To contact Hubbard House, call 904-354-3114. To contact Quigley House, call 904-406-0885

Deputies said there were no previous domestic violence reports between Curtishia and Poythress in Clay County.

Baby shower gifts: 12 presents new moms actually want to receive

Maybe you don’t have kids. Or maybe your children are all grown-up and you feel a little out of the loop. Whatever the reason, if you feel stumped when it comes to shopping for an upcoming baby shower, we’re here to help.

After consulting with other mothers, I’ve compiled a list of our favorite baby products, the gifts we got the most use out of from our own showers and the items we swear by and recommend to others. These are also gift ideas we’d bring to a shower — things new moms actually need. And that means a wipe-warmer will not be making the cut.

So, first things first: Most couples will register at a store or two if there’s a baby shower planned, so you could always just go the safe route and buy something off their registry. Easy enough! But we recommend a combo gift: maybe a little something the parents-to-be asked for, paired with a personal touch. It’s fun to receive the tried-and-true gifts from other moms, which will sometimes come with specific recommendations, such as, “Oh yeah, just hand her that toy when she’s in the car seat. She’ll be preoccupied for a half-hour!”

If you’re not sure about whether a registry exists or you’re torn over what seems to be an appropriate gift from the list, you can never go wrong with a soft blanket and some baby books. Or, if it’s your style, bring the new parents a hot meal. Throw some ingredients in the slow cooker and call it a day, or you could even grab a pizza, which I’ll bet would get gobbled up and appreciated all the same.

On to those specific recommendations:

1.) A baby toy or two for the diaper bag.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes is a staple for nearly every mom I know, and that’s no exaggeration. There’s just something about the way this toy lights up that babies love. Take Along Tunes was recommended to me by several older and wiser moms, and I like being able to pass down the same wisdom. The song that accompanies the flashing lights isn’t even annoying — which is huge — and there’s something very magical and captivating about this toy. It has attention-grabbing powers, it’s good from the time they’re tiny until nearly the 2-year mark and at about $7, it certainly won’t break the bank. Or you could attach this to your card! That would be cute.

2.) Swaddles

New moms have lots of options when it comes to swaddling the little one: doing it the old-fashioned way, using a sleep sack, or even trying a Magic Sleepsuit. (It’s a thing, trust me). I loved receiving a box of traditional swaddling blankets because of their versatility. The Aden and Anais bamboo swaddles are the absolute softest, and they can be used as covers for breast-feeding, car seat blankets, changing table covers — you name it. They’re a great staple to have in the diaper bag, and if you’re going to go the swaddle route, you might as well buy the silkiest ones available. Aden and Anais has pretty prints too, for boys and girls.

3.) Diapers

If you’re a parent to the mom- or dad-to-be, consider a diaper subscription. Although the Honest Company is probably best known for its adorable prints and easy delivery options, you’ll find quite a few services and brands available, especially through sites such as Amazon and Yes, this is definitely pricy — and not a gift everyone can consider. You’ll also want to make sure the parents plan on using disposable diapers if you’re going to sign them up for a service such as Honest, unless you want to offer a few months of cloth-diaper delivery (which is another solid option. You just want to make sure you know the parents’ preferences before you rope them into any decisions!) Oh, and if you’re not considering an insanely generous gift like this, but you still want to make sure your present is valued and used, you could always just pick up a pack of diapers as part of your present. A lot of moms in my circle recommended buying size 1 instead of the newborn size, for babies who either quickly outgrew the newborn diapers or moms who reported leaks with them. I loved receiving diapers and I hope that doesn’t make me boring.

4.) A Bumbo seat

I saw this on a list once, titled something like, “Things you really DON’T need for your baby.” Say what? Disagree! We got so much use out of our Bumbo and I’ve gifted it several times to other new moms as well. My daughter loved getting propped into the correct sitting position, and she used to play in her chair for up to an hour when she was 6 months old or so. I’d set it on the floor outside the shower and hop in for a quick rinse, while she chatted away with her stuffed animal friends from her seat. She was unable to Hulk her way out of there for at least a few more months, so that seat used to buy me time around the house regularly. Also, we’d keep it in our trunk and occasionally bring it into a restaurant when there was a less-than-ideal highchair situation.

5.) A Boppy

Or any kind of nursing pillow, really. Although nursing is a personal decision, and who knows if the mom-to-be is planning on breastfeeding, these pillows — just like the Bumbo seat and the swaddles — can be used for more than just nursing assistance. One friend told me the Boppy was a great tool for her daughter’s tummy time, and it looks as if it can be used for sitting and propping, too.

6.) A Costco membership

It would be smart to ask around first, and make sure the couple doesn’t already have one — but otherwise, what a great gift if there’s a Costco Wholesale in your area. Membership stores typically offer awesome prices on items such as diapers, wipes and formula, not to mention clothes and books and things for the child as he or she grows up.

7.) A smartphone-related present

Some moms swear by the White Noise app, which has got to be cheaper than those white noise machines you can buy. My aunt bought me an iTunes gift card with a list of all the lullabies she sang to her two babies, who are now in high school. Although it might feel a touch lazy to hit the Apple store, I think, on the contrary, these can be personal and touching, yet affordable gifts. And they’re very thoughtful.

8.) A Rock ‘n Play

Show me a mom who didn’t swear by this thing. I’ll wait. Seriously, what a valuable gift. Babies don’t love being on their backs when they’re first born. (I read somewhere that it feels like they’re upside-down, based on how they were carried in the womb). So, to be propped up into this perfect position is key. My husband and I used it as a holding spot for the baby while I pumped milk. The soothing vibrations also calmed my daughter down once from a massive freakout of epic proportion. Really, it just solves any mom’s problem of being over-touched. It’s somewhere safe to set the baby, and that’s what counts. There’s a sleeper version as well, for naps and such, so I recommend checking the registry and investigating the perfect one the couple really wants. They will love you for it.

9.) Clothes for when the baby is a little older

I know, I know. Everything in newborn size is ridiculously tiny and cute. So tempting, right? Resist. My daughter grew out of her newborn clothes in about four or five weeks, so I really appreciated the 3-to-6-month items. And I loved having clothes to look forward to. One friend gave us an outfit in the 12-month size, and I swear, I laughed when we opened it — the clothes looked huge! But I was so excited when my baby finally fit into them, as I’d been anticipating that moment. I realize this can be tough if you live somewhere that offers four seasons, as you don’t want to buy an item that catches the wrong season at the wrong time or size, but it’s still an idea worth considering.

10.) Books

You can’t go wrong and you can’t have too many. No matter what age, books are undeniably important and special. Here are 10 titles to get you started, or, it might be cute to pick out a favorite from when you were little.

–“The Pout-Pout Fish” by Deborah Diesen. She has a few Pout-Pout spinoffs, too.
–“Where is Baby’s Belly Button?” by Karen Katz; wonderful illustrations for babies.
–“Pajama Time!” by Sandra Boynton. We love everything from her.
–Anything and everything from Eric Carle (the classics).
–“Where’s Spot?” by Eric Hill
–“Elmer” by David McKee
–“Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” by Mem Fox
–“I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love” by Nancy Tillman
–“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr.
–“Little Blue Truck” by Alice Schertle

11.) A V-Tech learning table or a sit-to-stand learning walker

This is another item the parents won’t pull out until at least six months or so in, but these are great gifts for the baby to grow into. At some point, the little one will start pulling up on everything — the coffee table, drawers in the kitchen, you name it. Having a learning table or a walker will at least build his or her skills.

12.) Bumkins bibs

These are another inexpensive item, and they’re really cute. Cloth bibs are fine for when the baby is nursing or drinking from a bottle, but once solid food is introduced, all bets are off. Bumkins are easy to wipe clean, they’re washing machine-friendly and they’re adorable. They come in patterns from Dr. Suess, The Walt Disney Co., DC Comics and more. Done and done!

So now we’ll ask: Fellow new moms, what did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

And for the rest of you, happy shopping!

Police: California woman arrested after fake checks, IDs found in purse

A 26-year-old California woman was arrested Tuesday at a Bartram Park Wells Fargo after police found multiple counterfeit checks, identification cards and driver’s licenses in her purse, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

Police responded to the bank after Samantha Gill was attempted to use a counterfeit U.S. Treasury check, authorities said.

After police questioned Gill, she admitted to having three more counterfeit U.S. Treasury checks in her purse, according to JSO.

After Gill was arrested, police searched her purse and found three counterfeit California driver’s licenses, three fraudulent student ID cards from the University of California-Los Angeles and four more counterfeit checks, police said.

Police said all the counterfeit items were put in the police property room as evidence.

Gill is charged with three counts of fraudulent use or fictitious personal identification information and four counts of possessing a counterfeit payment instrument.

Police identify pregnant woman stabbed to death

Jacksonville police on Monday identified a 29-year-old pregnant mother of three who was killed in a stabbing in the city’s Brentwood neighborhood over the weekend.

D’Anna Thorn, who was five months pregnant, was stabbed several times about 6 p.m. Saturday at a home on West 21st Street near Silver Street, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. Thorn and her unborn child died a short time later at UF Health Jacksonville.

Thorn’s boyfriend, 38-year-old Armanuel Nathaniel Cummings, is charged with murder in her death, according to police.

Witnesses told officers that Cummings kicked Thorn out of his house after an argument. Thorn was attempting to climb back into the home through a window when Cummings stabbed her repeatedly, police said.

According to the arrest report, when police arrived at the home, Cummings was standing in the front yard talking on the phone. When an officer asked a witness who stabbed Thorn, Cummings overheard and “spontaneously uttered ‘I did,'” the arrest report said.

Cummings was arrested at the scene and booked into the Duval County Jail, where he was ordered held without bond.

Homicide Sgt. David Smith said he was not aware of any previous domestic issues between the couple.

Cummings’ ex-girlfriend, who wished to remain anonymous, told News4Jax Monday afternoon that she was shocked to hear what happened.

“That’s not him, man. That man is too good. He don’t mess with nobody. He do not,” she said. “He’s always sweet, nice. He feed you. If you are hungry, come to his house and he will cook. He will give you food.”

Records show Cummings worked at First Coast Security, and he had no criminal history.

“He kept the job. He had a decent job. He would go to work every day. He don’t do nothing,” said the woman who used to date Cummings.

Cummings’ next court appearance is scheduled for May 16.

News4Jax reached out to Thorn’s family members on Monday, but they were too devastated to talk.

They have created a GoFundMe account to pay for her funeral: