Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Killers hid body of their Clearwater landlord, 69, for two weeks, police say

CLEARWATER — Jameka Evans often helped her neighbor Mary Ring carry in groceries and saw her pass out gummy worms to kids playing in the street.

But in the last month, Evans hadn't seen Ring, 69, whom she called "Miss Mary." Instead, she saw the people who had recently moved in with Ring carrying her possessions out to the front yard and driving her car. She thought Ring may have died and that the new tenants were her family.

"I thought they were taking care of her," Evans, 26, said Tuesday.

But Monday morning, officers found Ring shot to death in her home, Clearwater police said. Her two tenants face charges in her killing.

Lawrence Edward Cannon, 42, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder, and Jennifer Elam, 44, on a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

Cannon is being held without bail at Pinellas County Jail. Elam's bail is set at $50,000.

Clearwater Police Department spokesman Rob Shaw said officers first visited the home at 1132 Engman St. on Sunday when an anonymous caller expressed concern over Ring's well-being. But no one was home that day.

On Monday, officers returned after a second caller expressed fear that a homicide had occurred there.

Police say Cannon shot Ring to death on Feb. 5, and the suspects have spent the past two weeks trying to decide how to dispose of her body.

Police said Elam and Cannon were not working as Ring's caretakers.

John Elton Chantry, a former tenant of Ring's, said she had all sorts of medical issues — diabetes, bone problems, muscle problems.

"She was sweet," Chantry, 54, said Tuesday. "But she was a mess."

Chantry lived with Ring as a tenant and a roommate in two Clearwater homes over a five-year period. But renting a room meant being her caretaker, too, he said.

"I'd take her to the store, go shopping for her, help her if she needed help getting to the bathroom," Chantry said. "I did what I could."

He met her through her daughter Tracy Ring, a friend of his. The younger Ring died about five years ago, Chantry said. He remembered his former landlord as someone who was easy to get along with.

"Everyone loved her," he said, then he added with a chuckle, "but she didn't put up with garbage. If she thought you were not being truthful, she let you know."

Cannon's stepfather said an addiction to pain pills had put Cannon on a dark path.

"I knew he had a little bit of a temper but I never knew him to get into fights," said Larry Pearson, 58, of Tennessee.

"We hadn't spoken in more than two years. I kicked him to the curb for stealing from me. Drugs got hold of him."

Cannon's only criminal record involves two incidents in 2003, one misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana and paraphernalia and the other misdemeanor charges of possession of inhaling paraphernalia.

"He was a very nice, sweet, honest kid who helped his mother with anything," Pearson said.

Cannon's wife, Sheila Cannon, died in 2014, Pearson said. It was around then that Cannon's addiction to drugs spiked.

Evans, the neighbor, said she would often see Cannon and Elam, along with a third man, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes outside. The yard became cluttered with what Evans believes were Ring's possessions — a washer and dryer, shelves of plates and cups, and a decorative sign that read: "Do more of what makes you happy."

Times senior researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or kvarn@tampabay.com. Follow @kathrynvarn. Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

Killers hid body of their Clearwater landlord, 69, for two weeks, police say 02/21/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Recycling likely to be issue between the Two Ricks

    Blogs

    When Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker go head-to-head in tonight’s televised debate, they’ll likely tangle over the city’s sewage crisis.

    Recycling, especially Rick Baker's record on opposing it while mayor, may surface in tonight's televised debate
  2. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay cooks and eats Everglades python

    Wildlife

    MIAMI — Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently joined South Florida hunters to kill, and then eat, Burmese pythons invading the Everglades, the South Florida Water Management District announced Tuesday.

    Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay and his son Jack, far right, joined South Florida Water Management District python hunter Kyle Penniston on a recent outing in western Miami-Dade County that bagged three snakes. [South Florida Water Management District]
  3. Goodman: A prescription for repairing Congress

    Columns

    The only thing more unpopular today than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a New England Patriots game or Mel Gibson at a bat mitzvah is Congress.

  4. Sens. Susan Collins and Jack Reed caught on hot mic saying Trump is 'crazy,' 'I'm worried'

    National

    At the end of a Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday morning, Chairman Susan Collins, R-Maine, didn't switch off her microphone. Apparently speaking to Sen. Jack Reed, R.I., the ranking Democrat of the committee, Collins discussed the federal budget — and President Donald Trump's lack of familiarity with the …

    At the end of a Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday morning, Sen. Jack Reed, R.I., the ranking Democrat of the committee, was overheard discussingd the federal budget - and President Donald Trump's lack of familiarity with the details of governing with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. [Associated Press]
  5. Val Kilmer says he's canceling his Tampa Bay Comic Con appearance

    Blogs

    Val Kilmer and the Tampa Bay Comic Con announced today that the Batman, Tombstone and Willow star has canceled his appearance at the convention in Tampa this weekend. 

    Val Kilmer has canceled his appearance at Tampa Bay Comic Con.