Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa man seeks forgiveness, gets 30-year prison sentence for stabbing his wife to death

TAMPA — Deon Griffin gazed at the sheets of yellow legal paper he'd scribbled notes on and talked about his wife, Chanet, in the present tense as he asked her family for forgiveness Tuesday in court.

"I have committed a horrible crime. I have ended the life of a beautiful woman who meant the world to me," said Griffin, 35. "I love my wife very much, and she knows this. I pray every day that she will somehow come back to me."

He blamed his actions on drugs the night he stabbed her 15 times, watched her bleed to death, then stole her car and disappeared to get high again on crack cocaine.

Now, he'll spend more time in prison than his wife lived on earth.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Anthony Black sentenced Griffin to the 30-year maximum after a jury convicted him of manslaughter with a weapon. He had faced a second-degree murder charge.

Chanet Nicole Griffin, a child protection investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families, was 26 when she died.

" 'Kiss it, Mommy, and make it better,' Chanet would always ask when she was a child," said her mother, Paula Williams Carter. "Well, this is something I can't kiss and make it better."

Carter referred to her daughter as Chanet Williams, using her maiden name. She was an only child, and now their family line will end, her mother said.

"We are not living anymore, we are just existing," Carter said.

The Griffins had been married for less than three years before the April 29, 2008, stabbing took place at their apartment complex on Bonita Vista Way in Tampa. Chanet Griffin died in a vacant apartment next to the one she shared with her husband, and Deon Griffin was nowhere to be found when deputies arrived.

A day later, authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. They found him at the Salvation Army shelter in downtown Tampa.

Family and friends described a husband who used drugs and stole from his wife, and a woman who kept taking him back.

"She was a fixer, and she stayed with her husband because she wanted to fix him," said Shonda Lockwood, who supervised Chanet Griffin at the DCF. "She said she took her vows seriously. I cringe to think that 'till death do us part' became such a reality for her."

Antonio Williams, Chanet Griffin's father, said Deon Griffin didn't deserve to live.

"Ain't no way in the world he can sit up here and cry for leniency," Williams told the judge. "He deserves the death chair. That's how I feel."

Neither he nor Carter said they could forgive him.

"Hopefully, before your sentence is over, you'll be dead," Carter told Griffin. "I will say now, may you not rest in peace. I have no sympathy or forgiveness for you."

Kevin Graham can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa man seeks forgiveness, gets 30-year prison sentence for stabbing his wife to death 11/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 11:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.