Man, 20, gets life in murder of house sitter

Derrell Emery
Derrell Emery

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A 20-year-old Clay County man was sentenced Monday morning to life in prison with the eligibility of parole after 25 years for the first-degree murder of a 33-year-old man.

Derrell Emery Jr. was also sentenced to 25 years for his conviction of second-degree felony murder and 25 years in prison, with a 20-year minimum mandatory for burglary of an occupied dwelling. The sentences run concurrently.

In November 2010, the Clay County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about suspicious activity at an Oakleaf Plantation home. Leroy McDonald was inside the home at the time, house sitting for a family member. As a Clay County deputy approached the home, the deputy heard gunshots coming from the closed garage.

Suspects Emery and Todd Bradshaw, who was armed with a Kel-Tec submachine gun, then exited the garage. After refusing to comply with the deputy's orders to drop the weapon, there was a gun battle between the deputy and the suspects. Bradshaw was killed during the incident. Emery, suffering from a leg wound, attempted to run but was apprehended by police.

McDonald was found inside the garage with several gunshot wounds. He was transported to the hospital where he later died. McDonald was the cousin of the homeowner and was watching the house while she was out of town.