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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

Largo drug dealer convicted in convenience store killing

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LARGO - Armed with a 9 mm handgun, Larry Joe Jerry Jr. pulled up to a Rainbow Food Mart, got out of his Ford Edge sport utility vehicle and started firing at a Kia Optima.

Jerry, 29, a convicted cocaine dealer from Largo, was angry at two of the four women inside - his sister, who was at the wheel, and his girlfriend - because of things he had heard they were saying about him in the neighborhood, prosecutors said. His sister's 1-year-old daughter was also in the Optima.

His sister stayed in the car with her baby that morning on Nov. 30, 2010; the other three women bailed. Two of them, including Jerry's girlfriend, rushed into the food mart, at 2575 East Bay Drive, and ran out the back door.

The third, Annie Marie Conyers, 26, wasn't so lucky.

Caught between a Jeep Cherokee and a Toyota Camry, perhaps in an attempt to get some cover, Conyers was shot twice in the buttocks from about 5 feet away, said Assistant State Attorney Nathan Vonderheide. One of the bullets blew out her femoral artery and she died.

Jerry didn't even know her.

Today, a few days before he was scheduled to go on trial on a first-degree murder charge in Conyers' death, Jerry pleaded guilty to second-degree murder instead. As part of a deal between the State Attorney's Office and his defense attorney, Jorge Angulo, Jerry was sentenced to 42 years in prison.

"It's a tragic situation, and he wanted to resolve it without causing any more needless pain," Angulo said outside court.

The sentence carries a 25-year minimum mandatory prison term.

Conyers' father was OK with the plea, said Assistant State Attorney David Tobiassen.

One of the bullets struck the convenience store. Another landed not far from the baby. Jerry's sister drove off after the shooting.

sthompson@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-6504

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