The owner of Vortex Springs has pleaded no contest to a second-degree felony assault charge on Friday in Holmes County Circuit Court.
Lowell Bernarr Kelly, 58, of Destin, was arrested on Sept. 1, 2009 on charges of assaulting William “Bill” Howes of Ponce deLeon. According to a statement made to the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Howes said that Kelly and another man picked him up to show him where some work needed to be done.
According to the report Kelly drove Howes into the woods off Vallie Road and when they got out of the truck Kelly accused Howes of taking money from him. Kelly then allegedly attacked Howes with a baseball bat.
Howes told investigators that he got away and ran through the woods to Bunny Trail and called 911. According to the investigator’s report Howes had several bruises to his forearms, side and face; his left ear was split open above the earlobe and his left arm had two lacerations.
On Friday Kelly was sentenced to 6-1/2 months of community control and 7-1/2 years of probation. He must pay $15,000 in restitution, with $10,000 to the State of Florida and $5,000 to Howes. Kelly was also ordered to stay away from Howes.