Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco jury convicts teen in 2010 Dade City murder

DADE CITY — When the verdict was read, 17-year-old Harleme Larry softly bounced his head a few times and sat down. He was handcuffed. He looked down.

It took 10 hours of deliberation before a jury of nine women and three men found Larry guilty of first-degree murder Friday. In all likelihood, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

His public defender, Tom Hanlon, argued that Larry was not guilty of the murder of Agustin Hernandez, a married father of two, on July 10, 2010. Larry only took the fall, he said, for a man named Derrick Wright.

On the stand, Larry called Wright a "good friend and brother." He said he forgave Wright for tricking him.

After the verdict, Hanlon said he could tell the jury wrestled with the decision.

"From a personal standpoint, I liked Harleme very much," he said. "I feel terrible for him, but the jury said what they said. I know they worked real hard. You could look at them and see they were totally exhausted. They gave every effort they could. The system says that's what justice is."

Larry was just 14 when the shooting occurred. Authorities say he went up to four Hispanic men sitting on the back of a truck. With a bandana on his face, he robbed the men and got just $4. He then fired at Hernandez, who died in an ambulance after attempts to resuscitate him failed.

Larry's grandmother and caretaker was present for most of the trial, but not the verdict. She took Larry in when he was 3 after his mother, a prostitute and drug addict, was murdered by his stepfather. His father has been in and out of prison. When Larry hit his teenage years, his grandmother fell ill and caring for him was difficult.

His brother, Mike Larry, rubbed his face with his hand hunched over in the courtroom after the verdict. He went outside to a courtyard and walked in circles. Then he left the courthouse.

Assistant State Attorney Phil Matthey said Hernandez's wife moved back to Mexico shortly after the slaying.

One of the strongest witnesses for the state, a man named Keith Cheatum, testified that he saw someone matching Larry's description walk by and ask, "what … you lookin' at?" with a bandana around his face. The state re-called Cheatum to the stand after Larry testified. Cheatum told jurors he knew Derrick Wright for many years and would have recognized him or his voice.

Larry will be sentenced in August, and there is little wiggle room. His attorneys plan to present some mitigating factors to potentially help him get less than a life sentence.

"We try to hope that we can pull a rabbit out of a hat," Hanlon said.

Pasco jury convicts teen in 2010 Dade City murder 06/07/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 7, 2013 11:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in U.S. student's death (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday called itself the "biggest victim" in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  2. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft

    Preps

    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Editorial: Pinellas cannot ignore homeless families

    Editorials

    They are living on our streets and in our parking lots, in cheap motels and spare bedrooms if they're lucky and in old cars if they are not. Their kids attend our schools, and parents often are afraid to seek help. Pinellas County has made progress in recent years in providing temporary shelter for the homeless, but …

    
Ariana Turner, 22, and her daughter, Namine Cowell, 2, are living at St. Petersburg Free Clinic Family Residence after falling on hard times. Pinellas County has made progress in recent years in providing temporary shelter for the homeless, but homeless families with kids are virtually shut out. It's a crisis that requires public and private leadership to find an answer that is both compassionate and cost-effective.
  4. Report: USF faculty complained of a hostile, sexist, boorish boss

    College

    TAMPA — A certain University of South Florida academic may be an unpopular and insensitive bully, but he did not break USF rules, a lengthy legal review has concluded.

    Herb Maschner was removed last fall as the head of a technology center at the University of South Florida after the school learned his previous employer found he engaged in inappropriate, on-campus sexual behavior. A new report looks at Maschner's tenure at USF. [Idaho State University]
  5. Oh, deer! Two bucks seen on video duking it out in Tennessee

    Wildlife

    Deer generally are seen as calm and serene creatures, but that was not the case in this video posted Wednesday on the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency's Facebook page.

    A video, shot by Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency wildlife officers Amy and Bubba Spencer on one of their trail cameras, shows two bucks on their hind legs and flailing in an open field. [Facebook]