Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of owner of Pat’s Corner Store in LaGrange in 2020

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The man has been convicted of shooting and killing Patricia Underwood, known for her business Pat’s Corner Store, in 2020 and has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Andreco Darnell Parham, 38, of Meriwether County, was convicted on all counts, according to a press release from District Attorney Herb Cranford. He had been charged with felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one county of firearm by convicted felon and three counts of use of firearm by convicted felon during commission of another felony.

After the jury returned its verdict finding Parham guilty as charged, Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Erica Tisinger sentenced Parham to serve life in prison, without the possibility of parole, followed by 45 years in prison.

Email newsletter signup

Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jack Winne prosecuted the case. LaGrange Police Department Detective Amy Sweatt was the lead investigator.

At trial, the evidence showed that around 9:50 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2020, Underwood, 78, was in the process of closing her business, Pat’s Corner Store, for the evening, when a stray bullet went through the window and struck her in the head, killing her.

Witnesses on scene identified Parham as the shooter, and LPD investigators eventually found Parham hiding in a house across the street from the store around 3:00 am, approximately five hours after the murder. The evidence showed that Parham’s target, who was also shot but survived, was involved in a dispute with Parham and his family in the area earlier in the evening, according to the press release.

Upon seeing the target in front of the store, Parham took a handgun from someone else at the house, went across the street, and eventually opened fire, shooting at least six times. One of the shots killed Ms. Underwood, an innocent bystander. Parham raised a justification defense at trial, claiming his use of force was in defense of others and self-defense, which the jury rejected with its verdict.

At the time of the murder, Parham was a seven-time convicted felon, according to the press release. His prior felony convictions included a 2003 aggravated stalking conviction in Meriwether County, a 2006 theft by taking motor vehicle conviction in Coweta County, a 2009 aggravated assault conviction in Meriwether County, a 2010 terroristic threats conviction in Meriwether County, a 2012 felony obstruction of an officer conviction in Meriwether County, a 2016 terroristic threats conviction in Meriwether County, and a 2018 possession of firearm by convicted felon conviction in Harris County.

“Approximately 20 years ago, Andreco Parham began a one-person crime spree, which concluded with his arrest for needlessly killing an innocent, law-abiding member of the LaGrange, Georgia community,” said Cranford’s press release. “At any point over the last twenty years, Parham could have chosen to stop assaulting others, to stop threatening others, and to stop possessing firearms while being a felon. Yet on February 14, 2020, he again chose to do all of those things. It is right and just that he now must spend the rest of his life in prison—where our community will be safe from him.”