LARGO — A man already serving 40 years in prison for shooting a Tampa police officer has now been sentenced to two life terms for robbery and murder.
Eugene Jermaine Betts, 27, was found guilty Friday and sentenced by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Richard Luce.
Betts was one of four Tampa men who drove from Tampa to Clearwater on July 6, 2005, and robbed a group of people on LaSalle Street. Next they drove to 40th Street and 40th Avenue S in St. Petersburg and attempted another robbery. But one of the men who was being robbed shot back, killing one of the robbers.
Betts was convicted of several charges Friday, including second-degree murder, robbery, attempted robbery and aggravated battery. He was held responsible for the death of his fellow robber, even though he was not the one who shot him. Under Florida law, people can be charged with murder when they commit a felony crime and someone dies.
Tampa police were looking for Betts in this case in 2005, when he turned his gun on an officer and shot him in the ankle.