The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s office plans to seek the death penalty against a man police say shot randomly chosen people in St. Petersburg and elsewhere in the Tampa Bay area, according to court records.
Police arrested Johnny Carnegie, 34, in April in connection with the shooting deaths of Vernon Williams, 60, and Corlenzo Williams, 24, who were killed two days apart.
According to a search warrant connected to the case, each of the victims was walking in St. Petersburg in the early morning hours when they were shot by a man driving a Lincoln MKZ. Police said the man pulled over to have a conversation with the people before shooting them.
A third victim came forward to police, telling them a man driving a silver four-door vehicle approached him and asked for a “light” before holding a gun to his head. The victim ran away and was not injured.
Carnegie was later arrested on a warrant charging him with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Police described an incident similar to the St. Petersburg shootings, saying Carnegie pulled out a gun on a man getting out of a car in the parking lot of the Warehouse Bar, at 4023 W Gandy Blvd. in Tampa. Carnegie appeared to act without provocation, police said.
Carnegie faces two first-degree murder charges and an attempted first-degree murder charge in the St. Petersburg shootings.
In the state attorney’s notice of intent to seek the death penalty, prosecutors noted two aggravating factors: Carnegie has been convicted of “another capital felony or of a felony involving the use or threat or violence to the person” and prosecutors believe the killing was “cold, calculated, and premeditated.”
Assistant state attorney Courtney Sullivan said Carnegie’s prior felony is an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer charge from 2006. She added that when a person is charged with two first-degree murders, one of the charges can act as an aggravating factor when prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Carnegie’s lawyers with the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender’s Office did not immediately return calls seeking comment.