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Pair charged with witness tampering while awaiting trial on armed robbery charges

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Daphne Mae Andrews Chowdhury, 43, and Anthony Mark Schmiel, 61, were charged yesterday with witness tampering after Schmiel, who was already in the Alachua County Jail on armed robbery charges, allegedly instructed Andrews Chowdhury to contact witnesses in their case and ask them to make false statements.

Andrews Chowdhury and Schmiel were originally arrested on August 26, 2020, and charged with armed robbery by sudden snatching after allegedly attacking a woman who was walking out of the CVS in Hawthorne and threatening her with a knife if she didn’t give them her purse and money. The woman managed to get away, back into the store, and Andrews Chowdhury and Schmiel were identified via surveillance camera footage.

Andrews Chowdhury’s bail was originally set at $100,000, and a motion by her attorney to reduce the bond was denied in September, but a few weeks later, her attorney filed an unopposed motion for release on a signature bond to supervision by Court Services, and that was granted by Judge Phillip Pena. One of her release conditions was that she have no contact with Schmiel.

Schmiel, who has four felony convictions and has served three state prison terms, was also held on bail of $100,000; after a motion to reduce his bond was denied, he posted bond on October 9, 2020. His bond was revoked in November 2022 after he was charged with a crime in Bradford County, and he was re-arrested.

On November 24, Schmiel allegedly made a phone call to a number that belongs to Andrews Chowdhury, using the account of another jail inmate. During the recorded call, Schmiel reportedly told Andrews Chowdhury that they could get around the no-contact order by using the other inmate’s phone account. He also allegedly told her to contact two other people and pay them to say that he and Andrews Chowdhury were at home during the armed robbery. Schmiel allegedly said that the two people had lived with them at the time and could be witnesses in their defense. Andrews Chowdhury allegedly agreed and said she would contact them.

Both Andrews Chowdhury and Schmiel have been charged with witness tampering. Schmiel was already being held without bond; Andrews Chowdhury’s bail information is not yet available.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Sorry, but surveillance cams at drug stores are more trustworthy than an “alibi” by a relative of your accomplice, duh. How will you do probation checkins from Hawthorne, rob an Uber driver each time?

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