BRADENTON -- Three suspects charged in a home invasion and shooting that left a mother and father dead while their five children were in the house have been indicted on first-degree murder charges.
After convening for about four hours, a grand jury handed up the indictment Thursday charging Terez Jones, 33; Jimmie McNear, 18; and Trey Nonnombre, 18, with first-degree murder in the fatal shootings of Esther Deneus and her boyfriend, Kantral Markeith Brooks, both 29, according to Assistant State Attorney Art Brown.
All three were initially charged with second-degree murder since in Florida only a grand jury can formally charge first-degree murder.
If convicted, the defendants would be sentenced to life in prison or executed by lethal injection. Prosecutors will decide later whether to pursue the death penalty.
Never miss a local story.
"I'm glad they upgraded the charges to first degree, and I hope justice is served in the end," Brooks' cousin Clearance Gissendanner said.
Just before 4 a.m. July 9, Deneus and Brooks were shot in their home in the 3900 block
of Southern Parkway West in Bradenton. Police said the couple's five children, between the ages of 1 and 11, were in the home at the time of the shootings and at least one was a witness.
Bradenton police responded within minutes when a security alarm system triggered a silent alarm after a brick was thrown into the glass in the front door.
Detectives reported two witnesses identified the three suspects in the days after the shooting.
Early July 13, police apprehended McNear and Nonnombre. Jones was arrested the next day by the U.S. Marshals Service in St. Petersburg.
All three are being held without bond in Manatee County jail. They are also each charged with one count attempted armed home invasion.
Jones had been released from a Florida prison Feb. 27 after serving more than 13 years of a 15-year sentence for a conviction of sexual battery on a victim under 16. Since his release, Jones was arrested July 3 and charged with possession with intent to sell heroin and cocaine, tampering with evidence, attempted escape and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released from the Manatee County jail on bonds totaling $18,000 just three days before Deneus and Brooks were killed.
McNear was on probation for a felony burglary conviction at the time of his arrest. He pleaded no contest in February to charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling and possession of burglary tools for the October 2014 offense.
Charges of violating probation have been filed against McNear and he has entered a plea of denial. McNear is also facing a charge of possession of a controlled substance for drugs police said he had when arrested on the murder charges.
Nonnombre is also charged with resisting arrest after police say he tried to run when they found him. McNear and Nonnombre also have juvenile criminal records.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.