Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A year later, friends in Tampa memorialize slain Brito children

TAMPA — Judy Brito stood under a tent in her former neighbor's driveway and listened to friends of her children share memories.

It was one year ago Tuesday that Kiara, 16, and Jeremi, 13, were fatally shot in a home invasion robbery at the Brito home that shocked a community.

More than 50 people gathered outside a house at 3022 W Van Buren St., across from where the Britos lived, to remember the teens during a candlelight vigil.

"I wanted to be here because last time they held a vigil I was in the hospital with my son," Judy Brito, 33, said. Jeremi died June 6, 2011 —one day after his sister.

Judy Brito was emotional as rain punctuated the sadness sweeping over the crowd.

Pastor Ron Satterwhite of the First Baptist Church of Tampa said the children's deaths were a reminder of finiteness of life.

"Their light is still there," Satterwhite said. "I can see some of you standing out there in the rain with your candles and they are still burning."

Satterwhite has helped Brito organize and administer her charity, the Kiara and Jeremi Brito Foundation, that has raised $11,000. Ultimately, Brito would like it to serve as a scholarship foundation. So far, the money has gone to scholarships, an Easter egg hunt and Christmas gifts for children in need, Brito said.

Neighbor Kayla Knowlton, 14, told the crowd she remembered how Kiara was always beautiful and would never go anywhere with her hair out of place. Jeremi was a bright, positive personality who was always drinking a Capri Sun, she said.

The Madison Middle eighth grader said in a prepared speech the outpouring of support is to let Kiara and Jeremi "know we wish they were here."

Kiara's former teammates from Robinson High School's girl's basketball team came to the vigil with their coach, Jessica Vitale, in T-shirts with her name and number 31.

"We took her jersey with us to every game to make it feels like she was always with us," said point guard Beverly Devine, 17. "She would have been the only senior on the team this year."

Last June, Tampa police arrested and charged two men in connection with the murders: Tavari Grant, now 19, and Charles Stephan Waits, now 20. Judy Brito said she didn't know them, but people have told her they had been to her home before.

"Kiara did tattoos and I used to cook for her friends," she said. "My kids had a lot of friends because they were always smiling and happy. They were loved."

Both men have a status hearing July 2 in Hillsborough County Court, said state attorney's office spokesman Mark Cox.

Their trials and possible punishment can't come fast enough for Brito.

"I hope they get life in prison without the possibility of parole," she said. "I hope they live each day miserable, just like I am."

A year later, friends in Tampa memorialize slain Brito children 06/05/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bill Clinton coming to Miami Beach on Saturday for mayors' convention

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Miami Herald:

    Former President Bill Clinton gives the opening address to kick off a meeting of International Aid Groups at the InterAction Forum 2017 at the Washington Convention Center on June 20.
  2. Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

    National

    WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. [Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]
  3. GOP's challenge: Finding votes for Senate health care bill (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Now comes his next challenge — persuading enough Republicans to back the measure and avert a defeat that could be shattering for President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after Republicans released their long-awaited bill to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He is one of four GOP senators to say they are opposed it but are open to negotiations, which could put the measure in immediate jeopardy. [Associated Press]
  4. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.