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. Chris Archer, 25,000 Cubs fans and Tampa Bay's painful truth

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The biggest ovation inside Tropicana Field on Tuesday night was not for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was returning for the first time since managing the Rays.

    "W" flags fly in the stands after the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Rays Tuesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. A rendering of the Bucs' indoor practice facility.
  3. Poorly assembled 'Lego Ninjago Movie' waters down Lego movie franchise

    Movies

    Well, that didn't take long.

    After only three movies, the Lego franchise is already a shadow of its original self, less irreverent and go-for-broke bricky. The watering down of an ingenious formula comes with The Lego Ninjago Movie, the sort we expected all along from plastic construction toys.

    A scene from "The Lego Ninjago Movie." (Warner Bros.)
  4. Irma slows curbside trash service in Pasco

    Hurricanes

    Hurricane Irma brought a hiccup to twice-weekly curbside trash service in Pasco County.

    s
Pasco officials are asking for patience about the slow pace of residential trash service from private haulers. In some areas, trash hasn't been collected since Friday, Sept. 8, because of the volume of waste left after Hurricane Irma.
  5. Clemson reunion for Bucs' Adam Humphries, Vikings' Mackensie Alexander

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver Adam Humphries will have a familiar face lining up against him Sunday when he's in the slot and the Vikings have Mackensie Alexander guarding him as their nickel defensive back.

    Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries (10) makes a reception before being tackled by Chicago Bears defensive back Marcus Cooper (31) Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]