TALLAHASSEE — A Seffner man who shot and killed his best friend after finding him in his ex-wife’s bed won’t be eligible for parole for another three years.
William “Gerry” Hargrove, now serving a life sentence, had challenged his potential release date of November 2017. That triggered a hearing before the state panel in charge of paroles.
The Florida Commission on Offender Review, formerly the Florida Parole Commission, decided to let the date stand.
That means that, as of now, 2017 remains the earliest Hargrove could be paroled, but that’s no guarantee he’ll be out by then.
Hargrove, 60, was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1987 shooting of Jerome “Red” Smith, 23, Hargrove’s best friend.
Hargrove stood trial a second time after an appeals court overturned his 1988 conviction. But the later jury again found Hargrove guilty of murder in Smith’s killing.
Hargrove and his wife had divorced but Hargrove wanted to get back with her, according to reports.
He went to her home one night to drop off child support money, found Smith there and shot him, investigators said.
The ex-wife served two years of probation on a charge of being an accessory after the fact.
She had helped Hargrove clean the crime scene, then they dumped Smith’s body in an orange grove five miles away, according to court records.
In a strange coincidence, Hargrove’s son served nearly 10 years in prison for the New Year’s Eve 2000 shooting death of a friend, records show.
The shooting happened in the same Seffner home where the elder Hargrove shot Smith 13 years earlier.
Eric Wright, 15, was shot in the back of the head while a group of teenagers listened to music in a bedroom.
Prosecutors said James Hargrove was waving a .22-caliber handgun when it went off.
The younger Hargrove and other teens then pushed Wright out a window and dragged the lifeless body into nearby woods, investigators said.