Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two life sentences for St. Petersburg murderer

LARGO — Demarlis Melvin shot and killed another man at St. Petersburg's Citrus Grove apartments and nearly killed another, in what prosecutor Doug Ellis called "the quintessential drive-by shooting."

So Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thane Covert gave the 22-year-old man two life sentences on Monday. A jury convicted him earlier this year of murder and attempted murder.

Family members of the man Melvin killed, Michael K. Smith III, 18, said they feel such an intense pain they could never wish it on anyone.

"He was my only son. I saw him take his last breath," Smith's mother, Breeshell Devine, said, sobbing deeply. Now, she said of her only child, "I want to hold my baby again. I want to touch him."

With Melvin looking at her, Devine said he "was so heartless during his trial," and told him "if you were a real man you'd have manned up to what you did."

Melvin muttered that he didn't do it.

When Covert asked Smith's mother if she had anything more to say regarding Melvin, she said, "I wish his a-- was dead."

Smith's father, Michael K. Smith Jr., describing himself as a man of God, said he hopes Melvin will let God into his life too. He said he too has felt intense pain from losing a son, but he also believes justice has been served with Melvin's prosecution.

Because of that, he said, "today is a good day."

A grandmother and cousin of Melvin's spoke on his behalf on Monday. Both said Melvin had emotional difficulties as a child. And both said they were deeply sorry for what happened.

The shooting involved young men from Childs Park and Bethel Heights, two neighborhoods with a history of rivalries. But it appears to have begun with an argument.

Melvin was in a Dodge Durango with three other men driving near the Citrus Grove apartments on 16th Street S when an argument broke out between them and some people walking nearby. The men in the Durango returned, and Melvin began firing a gun, according to witnesses. The gun was never recovered, but 9mm shell casings were found nearby.

Melvin shot Smith in the head. He shot the cap off the head of another man, Phillip Peterson, who was not injured.

Reach Curtis Krueger at (727) 893-8232 or [email protected]

Two life sentences for St. Petersburg murderer 05/10/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Anna Maria City Pier to close for year after 'extensive damage' from Hurricane Irma


    ANNA MARIA — While Hurricane Irma's last-minute shift helped spare large swaths of Florida cities from catastrophic damage, the Anna Maria City Pier didn't fare so well.

    A damage assessment following Hurricane Irma suggests repairs for the Anna Maria City Pier can take at least 12 months. [LUIS SANTANA for Visit Florida]
  2. Photo of the Day for September 26, 2017 - Flying gecko on glass

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Wayne Rayburn of Tarpon Springs, FL. He calls it "Flying gecko on glass."

  3. Candidate in East Hillsborough House primary didn't vote in primaries


    TAMPA — Personal voting histories show a sharp difference between Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure, the two candidates in the Republican special election primary Oct. 10 for East Hillsborough's District 58 state House seat.

    Yvonne Fry, Republican candidate for state House District 58, has voted in 34 elections at all levels since 1994. She likes to vote on election day, she said, and considers it a national holiday. [Courtesy of Yvonne Fry]
  4. Water and some food scarce as Puerto Rico emerges from storm


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Supermarkets are gradually re-opening in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico but the situation is far from normal and many customers are going home disappointed.

    People wait in line outside a grocery store to buy food that wouldn't spoil and that they could prepare without electricity, in San Juan, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Most stores and restaurants remained closed Monday. Nearly all of Puerto Rico was without power or water five days after Hurricane Maria. [Associated Press]
  5. Tampa-based vXchnge secures $200M loan to expand operations


    TAMPA — Tampa-based vXchnge, which operates data centers in 14 metro areas, has secured a loan for roughly $200 million for "major expansions and enhancements."

    Tampa-based vXchnge, a data center provider, secured a $200 million loan. Pictured is CEO Keith Olsen. | [Courtesy of vXchnge]