Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater man gets 25 years for killing cousin

Times Staff Writer

CLEARWATER — A Clearwater man who shot his cousin after a dispute over a necklace has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and will spend 25 years in prison.

Terry Tyrone Davis argued earlier this year that he acted in self-defense in 2010 when he shot Nathaniel Gooden, 24, in a front yard on Tangerine Street.

But Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip J. Federico denied Davis' motion in October to have the case dropped.

That meant Davis was set to go on trial next week on a charge of first-degree murder. A conviction would have given him a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

But by pleading guilty on Wednesday to the reduced charge of second-degree murder, he received the 25-year-prison sentence.

Although there was no trial, Davis did testify in his own defense in a motion based on Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives people the right not to retreat in the face of danger, and to answer force with force.

Davis, who is 20 now and was 18 at the time of the shooting, explained what happened this way:

He said he and his cousin used to live together at Davis' mother's house on Tangerine Street. Once, his mother gave him a necklace and, he claimed, he later discovered that Gooden sold it. But his mother told him to let the matter go, and so he did.

Then Gooden moved to North Carolina and eventually asked Davis for help selling a different necklace. Davis testified that he did sell Gooden's necklace for $1,000 but, remembering the earlier incident, decided to pocket the cash. He said he figured Gooden wouldn't come back down from North Carolina over the matter.

He was wrong about that.

In August 2010, he said, Gooden did come down from North Carolina and confronted Davis in person, and through a phone call to Davis' mother.

Eventually, Gooden came to Davis' mother's house. Davis, after overhearing Gooden's phone call, retrieved a gun. Gooden came with a crowd of people, and he was "mumbling under his breath," Davis said.

"I aimed my firearm at him," Davis said.

He says Gooden told him he didn't have the guts to shoot, but Davis squeezed the trigger.

"The first time I shot him, he was still continuing to come at me, like the first shot didn't faze him, so I shot him two more times," Davis testified.

Afterward, "I was scared, shocked and just like in disbelief."

The crowd scattered. Davis dropped his gun next to his cousin and waited for police to come, telling them it was self-defense.

One of Davis' attorneys, James Mancuso, said that under the "stand your ground" law, a person does not have to retreat from someone if he "reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself."

Davis had every reason to believe he was "about to be the victim of death or great bodily harm," especially because Gooden had a previous history of violence, he said.

But Judge Federico noted that Davis had grabbed a gun before Gooden came over, and said, "I'm not aware that there's such a thing as premeditated self-defense."

Federico said that when Gooden went over to the house where Davis lived, "there's no doubt he was going over there to kick his a--." But, he added, "that does not allow you to kill a guy."

Federico added that, "even in this cowboy-up mentality that the Florida Legislature has, I don't think that (is) what the law of self-defense is in this state."

During the October hearing, Assistant State Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo argued that it was a case of premeditated murder, and said it "is certainly telling" that Davis shot Gooden three times.

Clearwater man gets 25 years for killing cousin 12/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 6:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Who took a knee? How each NFL team responded to Donald Trump's tweets about anthem protests

    Bucs

    NFL players, coaches and owners across the league reacted in various ways on Sunday to remarks from President Donald Trump speaking about NFL players who have protested during the national anthem.

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Florida State out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011

    Blogs

    Florida State's first 0-2 start since 1989 has led to another low.

  3. From care center to purgatory to 'hellhole': How 11 frail elders died after Irma

    Hurricanes

    As she got ready to say goodbye to her mother at the Hollywood Hills nursing home, Rose Wyda's heart was sick. Hurricane Irma had been gone for nearly 48 hours, but the trail of shattered trees and broken, hissing power lines the storm left behind was still dangerously apparent. And the nursing home was part of the …

  4. Bucs' Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson kneel during national anthem

    Bucs

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings, two days after President Donald Trump made critical remarks about NFL …

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Authorities ID man killed in Clearwater Beach boating crash; Girl, 4, still in critical condition

    Briefs

    An Altamonte Springs man died and a 4-year-old girl remains in critical condition Sunday morning after their personal watercraft collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m.