LARGO — The sudden explosion of gunfire at the Largo convenience store one morning in November 2010 was shocking, frightening and senseless.
One bullet killed 26-year-old Annie Marie Conyers, another narrowly missed a 1-year-old girl.
On Thursday, Larry Joe Jerry Jr. admitted in court that he was the one who fired his 9mm semiautomatic handgun into a group of women outside the Rainbow Food Mart at 2575 East Bay Drive in Largo.
The 29-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, multiple counts of attempted murder, and other crimes. In an arrangement with prosecutors, he was sentenced to 42 years in prison.
Jerry apparently opened fire because he believed a former girlfriend and his sister said something disrespectful about his new girlfriend.
His sister was among the four people who drove up to the convenience store on the morning Jerry started shooting, but she was not hit. Jerry did not know Conyers, the woman he killed.
"Senseless," said Assistant State Attorney David Tobiassen.
Jerry originally was charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, he would have faced one of two sentences — life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. By pleading guilty on Thursday in exchange for a 42-year sentence, Jerry has a chance to be released from prison sometime late in his lifetime.
"It's a tragic situation," his attorney Jorge Angulo said.
The attack took place about 10:30 in the morning, as other customers were making their regular stops at the store.
Conyers, the three other women and the baby — who is Jerry's niece — had just pulled up to the store in a car.
One woman stayed in the driver's seat, with the child in a car seat. Conyers and two other women got out and walked toward the store. As Jerry fired, two of the women managed to duck into the store. The woman in the car sped off. But Conyers was hit and died in a hospital hours later.
Times Staff Writer Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232 or [email protected] On Twitter: @ckruegertimes.