Death penalty being sought in HART bus driver stabbing

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The state says it will be seeking the death penalty in the case of Justin McGriff, the man accused of stabbing HART bus driver Thomas Dunn back in May.

State prosecutors filed the paperwork with the clerk’s office on July 31. According to the notice, “The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.”

The entire incident was caught on bus security video. Detective Kenneth Nightlinger with the Tampa Police Department watched that video and says the conversation he heard didn’t sound aggressive.

“The defendant said, ‘God bless you.’ The bus driver sort of turned and said, ‘Excuse me’ or ‘What was that?'” Nightlinger said in court. “The defendant repeated in a louder tone, ‘God bless you.’ The bus driver said, ‘Thank you.'”

The detective says right after that, McGriff lunged forward and sliced Dunn’s throat.

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