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Coney Guilty Of Killing Pharmacy Manager

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It took a Duval County jury only 45 minutes to reject claims that Brenda Coney was insane when she killed the pharmacy manager at Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center and to find her guilty of first-degree murder.

Coney's defense never disputed that Coney fired the fatal shots that took the life of Shannon McCants in November of 2006, but told the jury that Coney was legally insane, living in a delusional world where she thought McCants and others were plotting against her.

Prosecutors said Coney was so upset when Shannon McCants told her to go to the back of the line that she returned with a gun two days later intent on killing McCants

"This defendant didn't kill Sharron McCants because she had to. She killed for the worst of all reasons: because she wanted to," Assistant State Attorney John Guy told the jury.

The jury agreed.

"I've been waiting almost two years for a verdict in what I thought was an open-and-shut case," said the victim's husband, Derrick McCants. "I lost my wife; my kids lost their mother; and society as a whole lost a productive citizen."

McCants, 37, was the mother of two and was pregnant with another child.

Defense attorneys had argued that their client is a paranoid schizophrenic and was not taking her medication.

On Wednesday, the defense called seven witnesses, including psychiatrist Ernest Miller, who said that while Coney can function normally most of the time, "she has another section of her brain which is divided or split off, wherein there has been, in her case, structured, a community of evil-doers."

The defense told the jury Coney has had mental issues for the past 20 years and gave examples of previous violent behaviors, blaming all of them on her schizophrenia.

The state does not plan to seek the death penalty in the case. First-degree murder carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

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