ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Three men of St. Petersburg were convicted Monday of a double murder in a crowd outside a gas station in St. Pete on Dr. MLK Day in 2019, a Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office news release said.
Kermon Williams, 42; James Higgs, Jr., 40; and Jhaphre Higgs, 35, were found guilty of murder, conspiracy to murder for hire, drug conspiracy, and using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime causing the death of two men, the State Attorney said.
Williams thought Tywan Jeremiah Armstrong of St. Pete was a threat to his drug business, police said.
Williams hired Jhaphre and James to kill Armstrong in 2018, police said.
The first attempt to kill Armstrong failed on Sept. 18, 2018, when Japhre and James shot him with an AR-15, and he survived, police said.
According to police, Williams was not giving up on murdering Armstrong. He told the two men he hired that when they tried again to shoot and kill Armstrong, Jhaphre and James would be done in front of a crowd of people to send a message out to the community.
Armstrong was shot 28 times in his car on Jan. 21, 2019, in front of a St. Pete gas station where a crowd hung out, the State Attorney said.
Armstrong’s passenger in the car, Roger Lee Ford, Jr., was shot 11 times. Both men died of their injuries, police said.
A third person in the car was also shot but survived their injuries, police said.
The news release said that Jhaphre and James were convicted Monday of being felons in possession of ammunition.
Each of the guilty faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 20 years and up to life in federal prison, police said.
A judge will sentence Williams, Japhre and James on Sept. 27.