Friday, Nov 28, 2014

Clearwater man gets 35 years in murder plea

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CLEARWATER – A Clearwater man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Tuesday for fatally shooting a man and wounding the man’s wife two years ago.

Makeral Shay Crocker, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated battery, and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the Nov. 7, 2012, shooting at 2533 68th Ave. N. in the Lealman area, the home of David J. Paonessa, 58, and Paonessa’s wife, Jane Bryant, 66. Paonessa was fatally shot; Bryant was shot in the hip and survived, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Crocker, accompanied by Jaquan Pedigo, 17, of St. Petersburg, went to Paonessa’s house to buy pills. Once there, Crocker decided to rob Paonessa instead, Assistant State Attorney Susan St. John said.

Crocker pulled out a gun and he and Paonessa struggled over it, she said. After Bryant started hitting Crocker with a trash can, he turned and shot at her, hitting her in the hip, then turned to Paonessa and fatally shot him, St. John said.

Pedigo previously was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading to a charge of third-degree murder. He admitted to going to the house to acquire drugs, St. John said.

sthompson@tampatrib.com. (727) 215-6504.

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