Man convicted of LaGrange store owner’s murder sentenced to life in prison

Credit: Troup County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Troup County Sheriff's Office

A man on trial in Troup County for the killing of a 78-year-old business owner was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 45 years, officials said.

Andreco Parham, 38, was found guilty on eight counts related to the shooting, including felony murder, which took place on Valentine’s Day of 2020, according to Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herb Cranford. During a dispute with another man, Parham got ahold of a gun and shot him, firing several shots in the process.

One of the stray bullets hit Patricia Underwood in the head as she was closing her LaGrange shop, Pat’s Corner Store.

Police found Underwood dead at the scene, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The other man involved in the dispute was hit in the shoulder and taken to the hospital.

Parham, already a felon at the time, was not legally allowed to have a firearm. According to Cranford, Parham and the man who was his intended target had argued earlier in the day. Just before 10 p.m., Parham was at a home near Pat’s Corner Store when he saw the man standing outside the business. Parham grabbed a gun from someone else in the house and confronted the man, eventually leading to the fatal shooting. He fired at least six shots, Cranford said.

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After opening fire and hitting both his target and Underwood, Parham fled back to the house, where he was discovered hours later by police. He was arrested on a murder charge, among several other counts, but was ultimately convicted on additional charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and other gun crimes.

Cranford said that Parham’s lawyers tried to justify the shooting at trial, claiming that his use of force was self-defense and in defense of others. Those claims were rejected by the jury.

According to her obituary, Underwood was born in the small town of Franklin, about 20 miles north of LaGrange on the Chattahoochee River, in 1941. She spent much of her adult life in metro Atlanta, working for 32 years at the now-shuttered General Motors plant in Doraville. When she retired, she opened Pat’s Corner Store on Union Street in LaGrange.

Prior to Underwood’s shooting, Parham had been convicted in seven separate felony cases, Cranford said, including violent crimes such as aggravated assault, aggravated stalking and making terroristic threats.

“At any point over the last 20 years, Parham could have chosen to stop assaulting others, to stop threatening others, and to stop possessing firearms while being a felon,” Cranford said. “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.”