Woman accused of threatening Ocala state attorney in Owens shooting case pleads not guilty

The woman accused of threatening State Attorney Bill Gladson with violence if he didn't file a stronger charge against Susan Louise Lorincz for the shooting death of Akije "AJ" Shantrell Owens had her arraignment Tuesday at the Marion County Judicial Center.

Regina A. Pines is charged with corruption by threat against public servant and unlawful use of two-way communications device to facilitate. If convicted, Pines, 31, could be sentenced up to five years behind bars.

Neither Pines nor her lawyer, Junior Barrett, with the Office of Criminal Conflict & Civil Regional Counsel for the 5th District, appeared in Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon's courtroom. Barrett waived Pines' appearance in court, which is customary. Arraignments are held so the person charged will know the charge or charges filed by the prosecutor.

Junior Barrett, lawyer
Junior Barrett, lawyer

A not guilty plea already had been entered for Pines, court records show.

Court filings

Arrested last month in Gainesville, Pines was released from jail after posting a $2,000 bond. Court documents show the first appearance judge ordered Pines not to possess any firearms or other weapons, and also forbade her from consuming any alcohol or illegal substances or contacting the 5th Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office.

The Public Defender's Office was appointed to represent Pines. According to other court records, that office withdrew because it already is defending Lorincz and "therefore has determined that a conflict of interest exists."

The motion to withdraw request was filed July 13. A judge on the same day approved the motion. The next day, Barrett filed a motion seeking any and all information relating to Pines' case.

Marion County Judicial Center
Marion County Judicial Center

Given the circumstances, Gladson's office is not prosecuting the case. It will be handled by the prosecutor's office for the 7th Judicial Circuit, which covers Flagler, Putnam, St. John's and Volusia counties. Although prosecutors from the 7th Judicial Circuit are assigned the case, hearings and other court proceedings will be held in Marion County.

Pines' arrest

An Ocala Police Department detective was told the courthouse had received a phone threat from someone indicating Gladson could be harmed if he didn't charge Lorincz with second-degree murder instead of manslaughter. The caller also said that the SAO does not like Black people.

Ocala police said Pines was identified as the person who made the call. She was later found and arrested.

Gladson has decided to charge Lorincz with manslaughter with a firearm and one count of assault. Lorincz is at the county jail with bail set $154,000. If convicted, she could face 30 years in prison. She is being held in protective custody.

State Attorney Bill Gladson
State Attorney Bill Gladson

Gladson's filing decision, which he outlined to the public, did not sit well with some members of the community and the nation, who wanted the second-degree murder charge. There have been marches and protests signaling that dissatisfaction.

Owens shooting

Owens was shot and killed by Lornicz the night of June 2 after Owens went to the woman's residence to discuss how her children had been treated. A single mother, Owens leaves behind four children, all younger than 15

Lorincz reportedly yelled at Owens' children, used racial slurs, and threw skates at them. Owens, who was Black, was shot by Lorincz, a white woman, through the closed front door.

Susan Louise Lorincz: Neighbor charged with manslaughter after shooting Ocala mother of 4

The 59-year-old woman and Owens were neighbors in the Quail Run neighborhood located off County Road 475A, not far from CR 484 in Ocala.

Ajike "AJ" Shantrell Owens
Ajike "AJ" Shantrell Owens

Lorincz was arrested on June 6. Marion County Sheriff's Office officials said Lorincz claims the shooting was self-defense. The sheriff's office said it couldn't arrest Lorincz on June 2 because it had to see if she had a valid stand your ground defense. Lorincz has pleaded not guilty to her charges.

Contact Austin L. Miller at austin.miller@starbanner.com or @almillerosb

This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: Woman pleads not guilty to charge she threatened State Attorney Gladson