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911 tape brings conviction

TAMPA — An eyewitness account and a man's dying words, caught on a 911 recording, led jurors to convict Timothy Blackwelder of first-degree murder Thursday.

Also convicted of burglary with an assault using a firearm, Blackwelder was immediately sentenced to two consecutive life prison sentences for killing his lover's husband.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Robert Foster called it "a cold, calculated murder."

"I hope you never see the light of day," he said.

"That's fine, you know," Blackwelder said. "You can hand them down, but you can't make me serve it."

Jurors deliberated for two hours. They had to sort through the he said/she said accounts provided at trial this week by Blackwelder, 25, and Brittani Key Stewart, his lover and the wife of victim George Stewart, 24.

The Stewarts married in February 2007. They separated a month later, and Brittani Stewart had a romantic relationship with Blackwelder in the months that followed.

Blackwelder said Stewart pulled the trigger on Dec. 7. She said Blackwelder came to the home where she was living, in violation of a restraining order she had against him, and fired the fatal shot to her husband's heart.

They fled to Georgia in her van and were caught a day later.

She wasn't charged with a crime. She said she went with Blackwelder to keep him from hurting her twin toddler daughters, who were left with their dying father.

Assistant Public Defender Kenneth Littman argued Thursday that prosecutors had no physical evidence linking Blackwelder to the crime. The state never tested the murder weapon for fingerprints.

But prosecutor Jalal Harb said jurors couldn't ignore the key piece of evidence: a 911 call that captured George Stewart's last words.

During the recording, Stewart identified Blackwelder by name, said he was pointing a gun at Stewart and then screamed in pain, "He just shot me!"

Blackwelder did not react as a clerk pronounced him guilty of murder. A bailiff handcuffed him before the clerk finished reading the verdict form.

His mother and Stewart's mother both cried quietly on opposite sides of the courtroom.

Outside, Pamela Sansom stood with her son's widow.

"George," Sansom said, "got his justice."

Colleen Jenkins can be reached

at cjenkins@sptimes.com

or (813) 226-3337.

911 tape brings conviction 05/22/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2008 6:38pm]
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