Make us your home page

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.


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

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

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle