State to seek death penalty against man accused of fatally shooting Highlands County Deputy

Posted at 3:09 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 17:12:11-04

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. — On Tuesday, the state attorney's office announced that they intend to seek the death penalty against accused cop killer Joseph Ables.

A Highlands County Grand Jury indicted Ables, 69, for the first-degree murder of Highlands County Sheriff's Office, Deputy William Gentry Jr., 40. He was also indicted on possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Following the indictment, State Attorney Brian Haas announced he will be seeking the death penalty against Ables.


According to investigators, on May 6, deputy Gentry responded to a call about a cat, when he got to the front door, Ables allegedly shot him in the head. Gentry passed away at the hospital a short time later.

Following the announcement that the state plans to seek the death penalty, Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman released the following statement:

"Thank you to the men and women of the grand jury for their important work. Their decision to indict this suspect for first degree murder is an important step on the road toward justice for Deputy William Gentry, his family and all of us here at the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. 

Taking the life of a law enforcement officer shows ultimate contempt for the rule of law. The evidence uncovered by the detectives charged with the difficult task of investigating the cold-blooded murder of their fellow deputy fully justifies pursuit of the ultimate punishment, and I am grateful to Mr. Haas for his decision to seek the death penalty."