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Judge delays sentencing of teenager in robbery that wounded St. Petersburg cop

ST. PETERSBURG — A judge Friday delayed the scheduled sentencing of a 17-year-old for his role in a crime that angered St. Petersburg and spurred debate about the city's safety: the shooting of an undercover police officer.

Shaheed Wright has already pleaded guilty to the robbery of the Exxon station at 3061 First Ave. N, with the understanding that his sentence would be no more than 10 years in prison.

But a witness could not appear at Friday's sentencing, so Circuit Judge Richard Luce rescheduled the hearing for Monday morning.

During the January 2009 robbery, one teenager served as lookout as two other teenagers went inside to rob it. One of them had a gun. Police said the teens stole a DVD and cash, worth about $139.

As they emerged from the store, police were waiting.

Two undercover detectives had called for backup after seeing the teens on bicycles nearby. Something — police wouldn't say what — made them suspicious.

One of the detectives ordered the fleeing teens to stop. The teen with the gun fired several times at the officer, hitting him multiple times. He underwent surgery, and has since recovered and returned to undercover work.

The robbery and shooting were among the crimes that led city and neighborhood leaders to debate the severity of crime in the city, and how best to fight it.

Three teenagers were arrested in the case, initially on attempted murder charges, but an investigation concluded that the three were not equally responsible.

Prosecutors say the shooter was James Allen Seay, now 19, who was formally charged with attempted murder and could face a life sentence if convicted.

Wright, who was 16 at the time, participated in the robbery, but was not formally charged in the shooting. The third, Desmond Creary, 18, could not be tied to the robbery, but he failed to stop when the officer asked him to, authorities said. He pleaded guilty last month to escape and will be sentenced next week.

Judge delays sentencing of teenager in robbery that wounded St. Petersburg cop 07/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 10:51am]
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