Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg man given three life sentences for September 2008 fatal shootings

Jerry Tyrone Jones, 24, confessed to a fellow inmate.

Jerry Tyrone Jones, 24, confessed to a fellow inmate.

LARGO — Jerry Tyrone Jones will never be free again.

A jury on Friday convicted the 24-year-old St. Petersburg man of murdering two men and trying to kill a third. A judge immediately sentenced Jones to three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

"I feel like a big boulder has just been lifted off my shoulder, and my son can finally rest in peace," said community activist Lisa Wheeler-Brown, whose son Cabretti Jalil Wheeler, 21, and his friend Kyle Lynn Ellis, 24, were fatally shot at a Lealman warehouse in 2008.

Prosecutors said Jones and another man burst into the recording studio at Dat's Right Audio, 8191 46th Ave. N, and shot Ellis and Wheeler multiple times. When a third victim, who lived in an loft apartment, came downstairs to investigate, he was pistol-whipped and then shot.

He later identified Jones because of a distinctive scare on his head.

Authorities called the shootings "Godfather-style" and said the attackers had no motive except a desire to kill that night. They also said Jones confessed to a fellow inmate.

"I told the court … not only was Jerry Jones a murderer but he was a thief because he stole him from us. He robbed us," said Ellis' mother, Karen Cobb. "It's such a blessing to see somebody held responsible for the atrocious things done to our children."

After the murders, Wheeler-Brown became an advocate for other victims of violence, and an outspoken critic of the "no-snitching" culture.

She has been commended locally and nationally for not giving up on the case, even when it appeared to go cold. Officials are still searching for the second suspect.

St. Petersburg man given three life sentences for September 2008 fatal shootings 06/28/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 28, 2013 11:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation


    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.