Prosecutors won’t proceed with case against Bryna McLaughlin
A Caymanian woman arrested following a shootout with police in the aftermath of an armed robbery in Tampa has been released after prosecutors decided not to proceed with the case against her.
Bryna McLaughlin was charged with armed robbery and kidnapping following a raid on a Radio Shack store in May – offenses which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Her accomplice Jovanny Pena is alleged to have injured two sheriff’s deputies with the getaway vehicle before being shot in the chest by police.
Pena still faces a string of charges, including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and robbery with a weapon.
But prosecutors decided not to pursue the case against Ms. McLaughlin, who was not an active participant in the raid, and she was released last week.
The charges will remain on her file, according to a spokesman for the Hillsbrough County Court clerks office.
According to the initial police report, Ms. McLaughlin, wearing a stocking mask over her head, waited in a gold colored Jeep Liberty outside the Radio Shack store while Pena held customers and staff at gunpoint, stealing 90 mobile phones.
Pena then drove away from the scene, with Ms. McLaughlin in the passenger seat, leading police on a high-speed chase before being cornered at an interstate exit.
He is alleged to have driven the vehicle at the sheriff’s deputies, injuring two of them, before he was shot in the chest and the car careered into oncoming traffic before coming to a stop,
Court records indicate that Ms. McLaughlin was issued with a letter of release on June 12. A spokesman for the clerk’s office confirmed that prosecutors had decided not to pursue the case against her.
Pena appeared in court on Tuesday and entered not guilty pleas.