Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills man gets 90 years shooting father and daughter in 2011

DADE CITY — A man arrested in the 2011 shooting of a man and his 11-year-old daughter received a total of 90 years in prison after a jury convicted him this week.

Donnie Lee "Hoo" Wheeler, 47, was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder in the shooting that sent a bullet across the face and into the neck of the girl, who was in a truck with her father, Kenneth Criger, as they unwittingly drove another man to a drug deal at the home where Wheeler was staying at 8601 Old Lakeland Road.

"This isn't a case of whodunit," Assistant State Attorney Phil Matthey told jurors during his closing arguments. "This is a case of 'Hoo' did it."

Authorities said a neighbor asked Criger to drive another man to Wheeler's. He and his daughter were unaware of any drug deal.

When the truck arrived and no one came to the door, the man threw a brick at a window. Wheeler then emerged from the home and opened fire on the people outside.

One bullet fragmented on the truck and hit Criger in four places on his back. His daughter was shot in the jaw.

Both were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Matthey said the girl still bears a scar on her chin. She had to endure surgeries to remove part of the bullet that lodged in her neck.

A search of the home after Wheeler's arrest turned up a methamphetamine lab.

The jury convicted him on several charges related to the crime, including two counts of aggravated battery.

Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa sentenced Wheeler as a felony habitual offender with enhanced penalties based on his criminal record.

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