Trial underway for South Tampa teens' murder - WFLA News Channel 8

Trial underway for South Tampa teens' murder

Posted: Updated:
Waits is accused of first degree murder in the deaths of 16-year-old Kiara Brito and her brother, 13-year-old Jeremi Brito. Waits is accused of first degree murder in the deaths of 16-year-old Kiara Brito and her brother, 13-year-old Jeremi Brito.
Kiara and Jeremi Brito Kiara and Jeremi Brito
Judy Brito, mother of the murdered teens testified on Wednesday. Judy Brito, mother of the murdered teens testified on Wednesday.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The mother of two teens murdered in their South Tampa home took the stand Wednesday in the murder case against Charles Waits. Waits is accused of first degree murder in the deaths of 16-year-old Kiara Brito and her brother, 13-year-old Jeremi Brito.

The teens were killed in the early morning hours of June of 2011 during a home invasion. Their mother, Judy Brito, was not at home at the time of the killings. She broke down on the stand almost immediately. Brito told jurors she was on a parasailing trip at the beach with her boyfriend, when she got a phone call from Tampa Police.

"They didn't tell me anything," she said. "They told me I had two kids in the hospital. That something was wrong."

She rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where Jeremi was in surgery. He did not survive.

Brito said she had left Kiara alone before, and spoke to both of her children during the evening. She remembered calling Jeremi in the early hours of that June morning, telling him to go home to keep his sister company.

"Kiara doesn't like to sleep by herself," Brito sobbed. "So I called Jeremi and told him he had to go home, so she wouldn't be by herself."

Prosecutors say Charles Waits was one of the two men involved in the crime.

Waits' family friend, Lisa Hammock, took the stand, as well. She said her daughter Alexis Jackson introduced Kiara Brito and Charles Waits, because he wanted to get a tattoo from Kiara Brito, who ran a tattooing business from her living room.

Hammock and Jackson went to the Brito home the morning of the murders. Hammock said she called Waits to tell him what happened.

"When I first told him, he was like, auntie, they don't think it was me, do they?" she said. "I was like, no. He was just like, his prayers go out to the family, and that was it."

At the time of his arrest, police refereed to Waits as the get-away driver. A witness wrote down Waits' tag number at the home as he fled after the shooting, leading to his arrest.

Former Armwood high school football standout Tavari Grant is also charged with the crime, but is still waiting for his trial.

The case against Waits started early this week.

In court, Assistant State Attorney Michelle Doherty told jurors it was a brutal murder and a bloody crime scene. In her opening statement Doherty told jurors there will be no question that Waits was at the Brito home at the time of the murder.

Doherty says, "They used force, they were armed with firearms and this was brutal, horrific killing of Kiara and her brother."

Doherty told jurors that Waits even admitted to police after his arrest that he was at the home at the time of the murders. Doherty says Waits had been to the home before to buy marijuana from the teens.

Waits told police he took another man he called Rocco to the Brito home that night, and thought they were there just to buy drugs.

Waits told police he was forced by Rocco into the home at gunpoint before the killings.

Defense attorney Octovaio Gomez told jurors there is no evidence that puts his client in the home where the murders occurred.

Gomez says, "They found no evidence, not a hair, no fingerprints, absolutely nothing that belong to Charles Waits. There's not even a finger print on the door, there is nothing else."

Gomez says all of the evidence links the other man to the crime, but not his client

Don’t miss out on the day’s top Facebook conversations
http://on.fb.me/18y81Cl

 









  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:26:13 GMT
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
  • Citrus Park property prompts code enforcement change

    Citrus Park property prompts code enforcement change

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-08-20 19:55:42 GMT
    Action today by Hillsborough county commissioners following an 8 On Your Side investigation.Commissioners voted unanimously to draw up an ordinance that will bring chronic code offenders before a judge in county court.For months now 8 On Your Side has documented the county's inability to deal with properties that are overgrown and piled with junk and pose possible health risks to neighbors.
    Action today by Hillsborough county commissioners following an 8 On Your Side investigation.Commissioners voted unanimously to draw up an ordinance that will bring chronic code offenders before a judge in county court.For months now 8 On Your Side has documented the county's inability to deal with properties that are overgrown and piled with junk and pose possible health risks to neighbors.
  • Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:16 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:16:32 GMT
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.