Monday, July 16, 2018
Public safety

Warrant reveals new details on couple who police say hid body of Clearwater landlord

CLEARWATER — Hours before detectives found the woman dead in her apartment, the couple who police said murdered her two weeks before showed a police informer her body, according to a search warrant.

The warrant connected to the murder investigation of 69-year-old Mary Ring shows Jennifer Dianne Elam met Feb. 19 with an informer for the Clearwater police narcotics unit. Elam, 45, asked the informer if he or she was interested in buying a car because she and her boyfriend, Lawrence Edward Cannon, needed money to leave town.

She told the informer that her boyfriend had shot a man who tried to break into their home on Feb. 5, the night of the Super Bowl, the warrant said. She then asked the informer for a recommendation on where to dump the body, saying that it stank.

The informer later called Elam from the Police Department with a detective listening in. The informer told Elam that he or she would come by to look at the car, then asked if the body was still there. Elam said it was.

A detective dropped off the informer shortly after midnight on Feb. 20. Elam and Cannon led the informer to a covered figure that resembled a body in the back bedroom of the home. Cannon grabbed the foot, covered in a sheet, and asked the informer if he or she wanted to touch it, according to the warrant. They said the home belonged to Cannon's dead grandmother and that they were trying to sell her stuff.

The informer paid $200 for the car with an agreement to pick it up later, then left.

Meanwhile, a neighbor who had not seen Ring in a few days called police Feb. 19 to ask for a welfare check. He told them Ring had recently rented out a room to two people that he believed were drug users. A patrol officer got no response when he went to the house.

A detective and sergeant went back to the house Feb. 20 and spoke with Elam. She told them Ring had moved out in January and was living with family in Massachusetts. She said it was just her and Cannon at the home and that no one inside needed help, according to the warrant.

They entered the home anyway based on what they knew from the neighbor and the informer. Inside, they found the body wrapped in blankets on a bed and a bloody pillowcase in the bathroom sink. During another search of the home after obtaining the warrant, detectives found a crack pipe along with an Interarms .22-caliber rifle with three rounds.

Cannon was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder. Elam is accused of being an accessory after the fact.

Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or [email protected] Follow @kathrynvarn.

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