Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wiregrass Ranch developer arrested after fight with girlfriend

Prominent developer J.D. Porter was arrested earlier this month after deputies say he spit tobacco juice on his girlfriend, set a pile of her clothes on fire and shattered the rear window of her car with a barrel.

Porter's girlfriend is Maridy Gregory, the sister-in-law of Sheriff Chris Nocco. According to an arrest report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, the two had been dating for a year and she had been staying at Porter's Dade City home for about six months.

Gregory, 30, told deputies she had returned with Porter to his house early in the morning on July 4 after having a few drinks at the Shops at Wiregrass, part of the mega-development owned by the Porter family. Porter, 33, fell asleep on the porch. Gregory looked at his phone and discovered a text message from another woman. She threw the phone on the ground. After Porter woke up, she confronted Porter and began walking toward her car.

She said Porter followed her and shoved her in the back. He spit in her face and threw chewing tobacco on her shirt, the arrest report said. Gregory went inside the house, gathered some clothes and went back to her car. The report said Porter came out shortly afterward with another pile of her clothes and set them on fire in the driveway.

Gregory told deputies she left the house but quickly returned because she had been drinking and did not want to drive. The two continued arguing, and Porter spit on her again and held her against the car, the report said. After he let her go a few seconds later, she got back in her car to leave again. Authorities said Porter then picked up a large barrel and broke the rear window of her Mercedes, causing an estimated $1,500 in damage. She drove to the home of Porter's father in the same subdivision.

In an interview with deputies, Porter acknowledged the argument but said he couldn't remember what it was about. He denied pushing, hitting or spitting on Gregory. He also denied setting fire to Gregory's clothes. When a deputy asked how the rear window of her car was shattered, he said he threw a water bottle at the car but did not intend to break the window. Asked how a water bottle could cause that much damage, Porter "stated it was a big water bottle."

Porter was arrested on a felony charge of criminal mischief and a misdemeanor domestic battery charge. He was released from the Pasco County jail July 5 on $6,500 bail. He did not return messages seeking comment.

Porter's family owns the Wiregrass Ranch development that is the site of the Shops at Wiregrass and the new Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. It will also be the site of the planned expansion of Raymond James Financial and a planned campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College. He is on the board of directors for the fundraising arms of both the college and the hospital. County commissioners have also approved spending $14 million in hotel and sales taxes on a sports complex in the development. The Porters and county officials are still negotiating the terms of the final agreement.

In April, Porter donated $500 to Nocco's re-election campaign. The sheriff said that makes no difference in how Porter is treated by his agency.

Said Nocco: "It's an unfortunate incident. It just shows that domestic violence is alive and well in our community."

Lee Logan can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

Wiregrass Ranch developer arrested after fight with girlfriend 07/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards


    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 


  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say


    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.