James Ayers, Accused of Killing Juliana Mensch, Faces Other Drug, Burglary Charges

People are suddenly getting interested in the Juliana Mensch murder -- it got the Nancy Grace treatment late last month, and now the New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Gawker, Death and Taxes, and Slate have joined in. Everybody's flipping out over the homicidal Google searches allegedly made by James Ayers and Nicole Okrzesik while Mensch slept on their floor.

But court records show the first-degree murder charge evidenced by those searches won't be the only charge discussed at their June 25 trial: Several of Ayers' other cases, either open or reopened, are scheduled to be heard as well -- and they paint a picture of a guy who's had a lot of problems with both drugs and the law.

In September 2007, Ayers was arrested at a Lauderhill DUI checkpoint after a BSO deputy reportedly noticed a bottle of rum under Ayers' seat on the passenger side of the car. It appears Ayers and the driver then consented to a search, during which the officer found a crack pipe in Ayers' pants, according to court documents.

In September 2009, Ayers was working at an auto shop in Davie -- one night, he was in charge of counting the money at the end of the day, and the next day, $1,000 was reported missing. Ayers never came back to work but wasn't arrested at the time.

A week later, on October 5, Ayers was charged with burglary after police say he threw a cinder block through a house's window to steal booze -- or, as the arresting officer put it, "permanently deprive the victim of alcohol (Budweiser beer)... The defendant voluntarily stated he has no 'business' being inside the residence." On the arrest report, Ayers is listed as homeless, with no place of employment.

The next day, he was arrested again, this time in Fort Lauderdale, for breaking into an "unoccupied dwelling" on SE First Avenue. He was cited for a violation of the probation he'd been put on after the checkpoint arrest.

Three weeks later, Ayers was in BSO custody when he got a visit from investigators about the $1,000 from the auto shop -- according to court documents, he admitted to taking around $800 from the register to buy crack, though "he couldn't be sure [of the amount] due to the fact that he took various bills from the register." He told the detective that "he has had a drug dependency problem for years."

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Rich Abdill