October 2, 2016
DeFuniak Springs, Fla— The person responsible for the stabbing death of a 26-year-old Alabama man is charged with murder in the second degree.
Just after midnight on September 23rd Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on LaGrange Road in Freeport in reference to a victim who was stabbed.
The man later identified as Sandy James Berlin of Alabama suffered from multiple stab wounds and was transported to an area hospital where he later died.
The suspect, identified as Jefferson Charles Michael Helton, 26, from Cantonment fled the scene and was caught the following day thanks to the help of a Good Samaritan. Helton was held on a violation of probation for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon out of Escambia County.
Walton County Sheriff’s Office is now charging Helton with murder in the second degree following a lengthy investigation.
“We hope this is just the first step in getting justice for our victim,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “These investigations require a thorough approach not just to allow for an arrest, but a conviction.”
Freeport, Fla— The victim of a stabbing early Friday morning has died. 26 year old Sandy James Berlin of Alabama has succumbed to injuries he received after he was stabbed during an altercation.
Helton fled on foot in a nearby wooded area.During the early morning hours on Friday, September 23, 2016, Sandy James Berlin and 26 year old Jefferson Charles Michael Helton of Cantonment, FL were involved in an altercation on LaGrange Road just after midnight Friday morning. During the altercation, Helton stabbed Berlin in the chest several times. Berlin was transported to Bay Medical and succumbed to his injuries on Saturday.
Upon arrival of deputies they set up a perimeter, notified area residents of the situation and started searching for Helton by tracking him with a K9 team.
During the manhunt, Helton approached a nearby residence asking for cigarettes and water. The Good Samaritan, recognizing he was probably the suspect, acted like he was going to take him the store and drove him to a nearby deputy.
“We certainly don’t encourage any resident approach a suspect,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “But, we appreciate his help. The situation ended as well as it could have.”
Upon Helton’s captured he was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained in the altercation with the stabbing victim and then transported to the Walton County Jail.
Charges are still pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Helton currently has an active warrant out of Escambia County for Violation of Probation on an original charge of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon stemming from an incident on April 7, 2015.