CLEARWATER — Allan Burney sits in jail these days, waiting for his trial on a murder charge in a shooting in North Greenwood last year.
Antonio Scott lingers in a jail of his own as a result of the same shooting, trapped in a body that suffers from the effects of a gunshot wound and shackled by the memories of seeing his younger brother gunned down.
Scott, whose pelvis was shattered in the attack, is working to regain control of a body and mind that has forever been altered by bullets.
"I can't sleep. I can't stand for long," said Scott, 25, who spent several weeks in the hospital and was confined to a wheelchair until four months ago. "I can't put my socks on by myself and I will have a limp probably for the rest of my life.
"From the standpoint of (a) beef, that's squashed. I'm done with all that. I'm trying to live my life different. I have to forgive them, but it's hard to forget."
Burney, on the other hand, has been in the Pinellas County Jail for the past 14 months. On the other side of a glass window of a visitation booth, he maintained in a recent interview that he had nothing to do with the Oct. 8, 2007, shooting that killed Michael Scott, 23, and wounded his brother, Antonio.
"In the back of their minds, they know I didn't have anything to do with it," Burney said "… I know they are not going to convict an innocent man."
A second man, Gaylord Shaw, 20, also was arrested and charged with murder in the shooting. He also is in jail, but his attorney did not return calls for this article.
Burney is due in court Thursday.
Burney, 20, gained public attention last year after he and a childhood friend produced Da Hood Gone Wild, a DVD that depicted Clearwater's North Greenwood area as a place where fights, guns and drug deals were rampant. Shortly after the controversial DVD was released, the shooting occurred and he was arrested.
Their early years
Burney said he had the capacity to learn, but he just did not like school. He went to several elementary, middle and high schools in the county but dropped out at age 18 because he was still in the ninth grade.
"It wasn't like I couldn't do the work," Burney said. "I was skipping school, all kinds of things. For me, it was about having on the fresh J's (sneakers)."
Burney said he was often told that he was "gonna wish he'd stayed in school." He now says, "They were right."
Scott is a few years ahead of Burney, but did the same thing as a teenager. He went to several elementary and middle schools and Calvin A. Hunsinger School on Betty Lane. He dropped out in the 10th grade.
"I'm not proud of that," he said. "I was young at the time and felt school was gonna be forever. … I got tired of it. You look back now; I wish I would have made better decisions."
Both Burney and Scott would have run-ins with the police and the legal system.
Two lives intersect
Fast forward to Oct. 8, 2007. Willie Scott, Antonio's older brother, and Gaylord Shaw had recently gotten into a fight after a Greenwood Panthers youth football game, according to court documents.
Willie Scott told police he had punched Shaw in the nose, so there were tensions between the two.
On the day of the shooting, the Scotts went to get CDs from a shop on Betty Lane.
Willie Scott told police that as he and his brothers were driving north through a parking lot, a door opened at 1304 Springdale St. and two men in the doorway, Gaylord Shaw and Allan Burney, started shooting.
Antonio Scott said he only saw Shaw with a gun and that gunshots came from a car.
Willie Scott jumped out of the car. Michael Scott was shot and killed. Antonio Scott was flown to Bayfront Medical Center.
"I don't know if I'll ever be able to get past that day," Antonio Scott said. "It's like a rerun over and over in my head. But I'll never look at a person in a wheelchair the same."
Their lives now
In jail, Burney said he's adjusting. He has had one major infraction, a fight that resulted in him spending 52 days "in the hole." He was let out of his cell 30 minutes a day to shower. He could request reading materials from the law library.
Represented by the Regional Counsel's Office, Burney has written and filed several of his own motions to no avail. One was for a speedy trial, one for a bond reduction and the other to have the case dismissed. He said he wanted to get those items on the record.
Like Antonio Scott, Burney has a hard time sleeping. He works out, reads and awaits the resolution of the case.
"It's getting boring and I'm tired of doing the same thing over and over," he said. "I believe deep that I'm going to come up from under this rain. I had nothing to do with what was going on that day. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Meanwhile, Antonio Scott has turned his attention to raising his children and making music with help from his family.
He is home most of the day with his 3-year-old son. When his three older daughters return from school, he has a meal waiting. One afternoon, Scott had their favorite chocolate chip cookies waiting as well.
"They love those cookies," he said, flashing his bright smile.
Scott has turned a room in his house into a music studio. He pieced together speakers, a microphone, a receiver and a computer program and can make and record CDs.
He writes songs, with many of the lyrics focusing on his brother Michael and recounting the tale he can't forget.
"I'm proud of myself," he said. "I put this together myself. This is something I've accomplished. The music thing. I love music. … I'm doing something that a lot people wish that they can be doing."
Scott said he wished some of the rap music that he listened to growing up told the entire story.
"After the shooting, I wish they would have said that somebody got 20 years or couldn't walk again," he said. "The music never gave the true consequences."
Staff researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this article. Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or firstname.lastname@example.org