Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough jury convicts man of killing half brother, friend

Flanked by his lawyers, Derrick Cullins, center, listens as the judge polls jurors after they returned with a guilty verdict Thursday.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Flanked by his lawyers, Derrick Cullins, center, listens as the judge polls jurors after they returned with a guilty verdict Thursday.

TAMPA — During nearly three weeks of trial, a jury never learned why a brother killed a brother.

But a mountain of forensic evidence, including hundreds of photos of splattered blood throughout a Tampa home, convinced a jury Thursday that Derrick Cullins, 31, fatally stabbed his half brother and his brother's friend in April 2009.

Cullins denied all of it.

He said he slept through everything and never noticed the blood or a missing carpet in the morning.

Prosecutors said the two victims lost a combined four liters of blood in the rampage.

The body of Carl Walters, 21, Cullins' half brother, was found two days later in the woods in Plant City.

The body of his friend, Ryan Davis, 20, was also found in a wooded area of Plant City, but not for 10 more months.

In a motion for acquittal outside the jury's presence, the defense suggested they were victims of a sexual predator living among "the gay/lesbian/transgender community."

Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Emmett Battles said there was no evidence of that, and rejected the motion.

The most damning evidence was blood.

Davis' blood was found on Cullins' shoes. Walters' blood was found on a store receipt in Cullins' pocket.

Prosecutors also showed a receipt found for the dumping of a carpet and furniture.

They said Cullins had pulled up the carpet and thrown away couch cushions that he couldn't clean.

They said he spent five days painting over blood splatters on the walls, but missed many of them.

It took the jury four hours to convict Cullins of two counts of second-degree murder.

They carry maximum sentences of life in prison.

At the end of the trial, Robin Harris, Davis' mother, looked stunned.

"I can't speak," she said. "It's been a long wait."

Judge Battles scheduled sentencing for April 13.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or jbarry@tampabay.com.

Hillsborough jury convicts man of killing half brother, friend 02/16/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post

    News

    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  2. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike

    Health

    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  3. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116
  4. White House offers muddled message on Russia sanctions legislation

    National

    WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that the Trump administration supports new legislation to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its aggression toward Ukraine.

    President Donald Trump at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford  at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, July 22, 2017. [New York Times]
  5. 'Stranger Things' is coming back; here's the first trailer

    Blogs

    The nostalgia-heavy, small-screen blockbuster Stranger Things returns to Netflix with a new season on Oct. 27 - just in time for a pre-Halloween weekend binge session.

    A scene from the Stranger Things Season 2 trailer.