Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Public safety

Deputies: Tampa man charged with murder after burglary accomplice shot dead by homeowner

TAMPA — A Tampa man has been charged with murder after a November break-in attempt resulted in the death of his accomplice, deputies said.

Earnest Cherry Jr., 36, turned himself in to the Orient Road jail on June 18 in connection to the death of 40- year-old Chike Tim, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday. He was charged with second-degree felony murder.

The case against Cherry stems from a burglary at a Brandon home on Nov. 28. Deputies say he and Tim conspired to break into the home with hopes of stealing cash and drugs.

That night, a homeowner saw a white Pontiac on front of the residence and a man, later identified as Tim, get out of the passenger side of the car and walk toward the house. Moments later, Tim forced open the door and the homeowner fired one round from a 9mm handgun, hitting Tim. Investigators found his body inside near the front door with socks covering his hands. Detectives also found illegal drugs and $66,000 cash in the house.

A witness told detectives he was with Tim earlier in the day and overheard him on the phone discussing breaking into a residence in Brandon, deputies said. The witness said he heard Tim claim the home had a lot of drugs and money inside. Phone records confirmed the telephone number Tim called belonged to Cherry.

Detectives learned from a witness that Cherry had borrowed a white 2005 Pontiac earlier in the day and that Tim was with him when he borrowed the car. Investigators found Cherry was driving the Pontiac when it left the scene of the burglary, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

In Florida, someone can be charged with second-degree felony murder if another person is killed while the defendant is in the act of committing a felony. Cherry was charged because Tim died while they were committing a burglary they had planned together, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Cherry was booked and released after posting $75,000 bail, records show. Records show he has previous convictions in Florida for cocaine possession, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. According to the Sheriff’s Office, he was on felony probation at the time of his arrest.

Senior news research Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

Comments

Carlton: On mug shots, Hillsborough sheriff tries to strike balance on public records that should be public

Does your babysitter have an arrest record? Hillsborough's sheriff is making online access to records a step harder, but not for the reasons you might think. A story of government and compromise.
Updated: 12 hours ago
Troopers identify Brandon man struck and killed after leaving Uber car

Troopers identify Brandon man struck and killed after leaving Uber car

Sheng Hui Lin, 28, of Brandon, died early Monday after two vehicles struck him on Interstate 75.
Published: 11/20/18
Pinellas Park woman, 20, killed in crash involving two speeding pickup trucks

Pinellas Park woman, 20, killed in crash involving two speeding pickup trucks

The woman was a passenger in car turning left as two pickups sped down 102nd Avenue N.
Published: 11/20/18
Johns Pass custard shop manager accused of lewd contact with teen employees

Johns Pass custard shop manager accused of lewd contact with teen employees

The 62-year-old manager of a custard shop on Johns Pass was arrested Monday after Pinellas County deputies say he inappropriately touched four teenage employees ages 14, 15 and 17.
Published: 11/20/18
From a hospital bed, boy recounted Riverview family slayings

From a hospital bed, boy recounted Riverview family slayings

Hillsborough prosecutors on Monday released hundreds of documents and photographs, along with audio and video recordings, in the murder case against Ronnie Oneal III.
Published: 11/19/18
Updated: 11/20/18
Motorcyclist killed in Port Richey after drunk driver turns in front of him, FHP says

Motorcyclist killed in Port Richey after drunk driver turns in front of him, FHP says

Dustin Shawn Hogan of New Port Richey died from his injuries at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, according to the FHP.
Published: 11/19/18
Updated: 11/20/18
St. Petersburg man arrested in Pinellas Park shooting death

St. Petersburg man arrested in Pinellas Park shooting death

Corey Montego Small, 40, was arrested just after 8 p.m. Monday on a felony second degree murder charge for the death of Lawrence Lee Fagan, 63, in the Cedar Hollow Apartments complex.
Published: 11/19/18
Police identify man, 20, killed in West Tampa home invasion

Police identify man, 20, killed in West Tampa home invasion

Tampa Police say Cristian Osorio Velazquez, 20, died from upper body trauma suffered during a home invasion robbery at his West Tampa apartment on Saturday.
Published: 11/19/18
'We've got to stop this': Two more Pinellas teens dead in a stolen car crash

'We've got to stop this': Two more Pinellas teens dead in a stolen car crash

Two teens were killed early Monday morning and a portion of 38 Avenue N was closed following a single-car crash.
Published: 11/19/18
Chicago officer, multiple others shot in attack at hospital

Chicago officer, multiple others shot in attack at hospital

A Chicago police officer and multiple other people, including an apparent shooter, were wounded Monday afternoon in an “active shooter” attack at Mercy Hospital on the city’s Near South Side.
Published: 11/19/18