Teenager pleads no contest in store shooting
The teenager accused of shooting a Pasco County deputy during a 2008 break-in at a Lacoochee convenience store pleaded no contest Thursday to attempted felony murder and armed burglary. He will be sentenced April 29. Antonio Lee Murray, 17, was set to enter a plea last month but said he needed more time to consult with his grandmother, his attorney told Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa. Murray was 16 when, authorities say, he and a friend broke into Sam's Quick Mart and took jewelry, electronics, clothing and the store owner's semiautomatic handgun. Deputy Jeffrey Chandler and another deputy arrived at the store after the alarm went off. With the teens' escape route blocked, authorities said, Murray and his friend fired at the front window, intending to break through the metal shutters covering it. One bullet struck Chandler, who escaped serious injury, in part because of a metal business card holder in his breast pocket that slowed the bullet. Murray and his friend, Robert Anthony Green, then 15, were charged as adults with attempted first-degree murder, which carried a possible life sentence. Green's case is pending.
Sand Soldiers will meet tonight
Retired Col. Mike Prendergast, a 51-year-old veteran combat commander, will be the featured speaker at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the inaugural meeting of the Sand Soldiers of America, an organization forming to honor returning U.S. soldiers from Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. The organization will serve veterans of the Central Asian conflicts by providing social services, encouraging fellowship and honoring their service and sacrifice through community events and memorials. Tonight's meeting will be at the Palace Grand, 275 Della Court. For details, visit www.sand soldiersofamerica.com.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Register now for 'Pasco Idol' in May
The Rotary Club of Port Richey is organizing "Pasco Idol," a singing competition that will run from 2 to 10 p.m. May 15 at Gulf High School, 5355 School Road. There will be three different shows — one each for kids, teens and adults. Registration is $25 per person; sponsorship opportunities are available. Proceeds will go to charities supported by the Rotary Club. For details or to register, call event organizer Tina Farrell at (727) 226-0962, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://idol.portricheyrotary.com.