CHIPLEY - The man who nearly took the life of an off-duty Washington County correctional officer will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Daryl Wayne Mollett, 47, was sentenced Tuesday to serve two life sentences - one each for the attempted murder of Northwest Florida Reception Center correctional officer Nicole Schmitz and the armed carjacking in which he stole Schmitz's car. Handed down by Circuit Judge Tim Register, the sentences will run concurrently.
Mollett was found guilty by a Washington County jury last month after Assistant State Attorneys Shalla Phelps Jefcoat and Laura Wahlquist presented evidence that while on the run from authorities attempting to serve Mollett with an outstanding warrant, he came upon came upon Schmitz as she was returning from a run in the Sunny Hills subdivision. Mollett hit Schmitz in the head with a brick, rendering life-threatening injuries, and stole her vehicle. Mollett would later be apprehended in Brevard County after a failed bank robbery.
Today, Schmitz has recovered and is back at her post at Northwest Florida Reception Center in Chipley - and says she is not only thankful to be alive - but also thankful for those who sought justice on her behalf.
"I want to thank everyone who was involved in my case," Schmitz told The News after the sentencing. "I couldn't have asked for a better state attorney, and law enforcement did a wonderful job. The evidence was handled in a manner that helped get the conviction. It was up to them to prove the case because I couldn't tell them anything; I couldn't remember anything. Also, the community as a whole just came together to support me. They showed an outpouring of support, especially my Florida Department of Corrections family."
Mollett, who had a lengthy history of violent crimes - including aggravated assault with a firearm and armed robbery - prior to his attack on Schmitz, was sentenced under the Prison Releasee Reoffender Law. The law applies to defendants who commit certain designated crimes within three years of release from the Department of Corrections on a prior case.