St. Petersburg police on Wednesday (Oct. 13) charged a man, who was already behind bars in connection with the death of a 35-year-old woman, with the murder of a second woman.
Ken Knight, a spokesman for the St. Petersburg Police Department, said investigators don’t believe the shootings were related and neither woman was the intended target of accused gunman Tyron Jackasal, 21, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
There were notable similarities in the two tragic cases. Jackasal allegedly fired at the victims, both of them mothers of two children, while they were sitting in cars.
Jackasal was arrested shortly after allegedly killing K’Mia Simmons, 21, on March 30. Days later, the police said he fatally shot Emily Grot. DNA evidence linked him to the first murder.
The suspect has been locked up in the Pinellas County jail without bail since the police arrested him on April 5 for killing Simmons.
With this new arrest, he faces two second-degree murder charges in the two shootings.
According to the police, Grot was sitting in the passenger seat of a car in a parking lot when Jackasal fired at the rear passenger door at about 10:50 p.m. The bullet penetrated the door and struck Grot in the back. A forensic analysis of the 9mm handgun casings at the scene matched Jackasal’s DNA profile.
In the other shooting, Simmons was holding her child, 1, in a Volvo when Jackasal fired at the vehicle, the police said. Her 2-year-old child was sitting in the back seat at the time. Investigators believe that the younger child’s father was Jackasal’s target, who was an associate of another man whom Jackasal allegedly shot and robbed in March.
According to the Times, Jackasal’s attorney asked the judge to evaluate his client’s competence. If found incompetent, authorities will take him to a mental health facility for treatment until he’s able to stand trial.