St. Pete man accused of killing 3 family members remains in jail, first appearance reset

St. Petersburg Police Department

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) –  The man accused of killing three family members at a home in St. Petersburg remains in jail and faces multiple murder charges.

31-year-old Cornelius Whitfield was booked into the Pinellas County Jail just after midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 17. He was scheduled to make his first appearance later this afternoon, but a judge reset it for Thursday.  

8 On Your Side reached out the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office about why Whitfield did not make his first appearance and we were sent this statement:

“Mr. Whitfield was booked into the Pinellas County Jail shortly after midnight on February 17, 2021. Soon after the initial booking process Whitfield was escorted to the Medical Housing Unit, where he remains. Once Whitfield is cleared he will make his court appearance.”

This all happened on Tuesday when St. Pete police said officers responded to reports of a shooting at a home on 2968 Emerson Avenue South shortly before 4 p.m.

A woman told police she had been shot and ran to her neighbor’s home. Police learned the gunman and four others, including a toddler, were inside the home where the shooting occurred.

Homes nearby were evacuated, and police sent in a SWAT team to knock down the front wall of the home. There they found 31-year-old Cornelius “Cornbread” Whitfield and he was taken into custody.

Police also found the bodies of Whitfield’s uncle, Antonio Maurice Graham, 45, his grandmother, Patricia Ann Whitfield Sharpe, 66, and his great-grandmother, Sallie Hobbs Whitfield, 83.

Whitfield has a long criminal history in Pinellas County and has served two sentences in Florida state prison on drug charges.

Whitfield is also the suspect in the death of Darren Barnes, who was killed on Feb. 2 at the Emerald Pointe Apartments. Another man is recovering from serious injuries after the incident.

Whitfield is facing several charges, including multiple murder charges.