A man who had been charged in the 2021 shooting deaths of two women was sentenced to life in prison Monday for his role in a separate armed robbery.
Tyron Jackasal, 22, was the suspect in the deaths of two women who were shot and killed within a week of each other in 2021. Both of the women killed were mothers.
The charges were dropped in one of the cases, however, after a key witness changed his story, prosecutors said.
Jackasal was also the suspect in an armed robbery of a man in a barbershop parking lot that occurred a few weeks before the two fatal shootings. Prosecutors took him to trial in that case in December and a jury convicted him of robbery and attempted first-degree murder. Police said he robbed the victim in that case of a $30,000, 14-karat Cuban link gold chain and shot him in broad daylight.
Jackasal’s co-defendant in the robbery case, Deontrae Robson, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery earlier this month and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The victim wore the chain while getting a haircut on March 5, 2021. As the victim walked into the barbershop, he noticed Jackasal leaving, according to court records. After getting a haircut, the victim got into his car. Jackasal and two others began shooting at the man and stole his necklace. The victim was hospitalized for his injuries.
About a month later, Jackasal targeted Parise Lovett Jr., an acquaintance of the man Jackasal had robbed, police said. Jackasal began shooting at a Volvo that Lovett was driving while it was stopped at a red light at 18th Avenue S and 22nd Street S in St. Petersburg, police said.
However, Jackasal instead shot 21-year-old K’Mia Simmons, who was riding in the front seat of Lovett’s car, police said. Simmons was holding her baby in her lap at the time and her 2-year-old daughter also was in the backseat; neither child was hurt.
Jackasal was arrested on a second-degree murder charge in that case, but it was later dropped after a key witness changed his testimony.
Jackasal also is accused in the death of 35-year-old Emily Renee Grot, who was shot and killed on Easter Sunday two years ago at Wildwood Park in St. Petersburg. Grot was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car in the parking lot of the park, 1000 28th Street S, when Jackasal pulled a gun and fired into the rear passenger door, police said. The bullet traveled through the car door and the front passenger seat, striking the mother of two in the back.
Police do not believe Grot was Jackasal’s intended target. A man and a 17-year-old girl were also shot in that case.
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For that shooting, Jackasal faces charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. The case is scheduled for trial in early March.
At the robbery sentencing Monday, prosecutors talked about the ongoing health problems the robbery victim faced after he was shot. He has a permanent rod in his leg and lost a testicle. He had stomach surgery and has permanent gastrointestinal issues, assistant state attorney Elizabeth Constantine said in court.
The victim didn’t attend the sentencing because he feared retaliation, Constantine said. His mother, who was present at the sentencing, sold the home she had lived in for more than 20 years and moved out of the county because she had been receiving threats, Constantine said.
“The only restitution they wish to seek is for him to get as much time as possible,” Constantine said.
Jackasal’s family members also took the stand during sentencing Monday. A cousin who works as a minister said he thought Jackasal should serve time, but that an overly punitive sentence wasn’t the answer.
“Harsh time does not solve the issue in our community,” Kenrick LeCock said.
Taking the stand, Jackasal said he was sorry for what happened to the victim, but said he wasn’t “a menace to society.”
“I’m not a monster,” Jackasal said.
Also present at the sentencing were the mothers of Simmons and Grot. Both told the Tampa Bay Times that they felt Jackasal had received a fair sentence for the robbery, but they also want to see justice for their daughters.
Linda Simmons, mother of K’Mia Simmons, said she hopes her daughter’s case can be revived with more evidence.
“I’m hoping and praying that they can pin stuff off of his phone, that they’ll let us know if there’s anything that happens,” she said.
Zena Grot, mother of Emily Grot, said there’s still more to be done, but she’s grateful that the robbery victim was brave enough to testify against Jackasal.
“It’s not over yet,” she said.