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Deadly stray shot in bar brawl leads to murder conviction for Brandon man

Tyrone Lamont Grimes faces up to life in prison for the murder of Karen Williams.

Tyrone Lamont Grimes faces up to life in prison for the murder of Karen Williams.

TAMPA — A Brandon man faces 25 years to life in prison on his conviction Friday of killing a woman with a stray shot during a nightclub brawl in October 2007.

Jurors deliberated 90 minutes before finding Tyrone Lamont Grimes, 28, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Karen Williams, 36, who was shot in the face during a concert at the Fluid Lounge and Nightclub.

Grimes, claiming his car had been stolen, got into an argument with a man at club, authorities said. Then he confronted a second man, brandished a .38-caliber revolver and picked a fight.

The second man, Jayfrey Williams, who was not related to Karen Williams, was smaller than Grimes, but managed to force him onto a pool table. It was there that Grimes began shooting.

Williams, a mother of three who lived in Riverview, had walked out of the nightclub to leave, according to one witness, but stepped back in to look for a friend when the shooting started.

"Karen Williams, on that night, never saw it coming," prosecutor Scott Harmon told jurors during closing arguments.

Defense attorney Ron Kurpiers argued that Grimes was innocent and was the victim of a "circle of deception."

In his closing argument, he tried to pick apart the state's case by focusing on inconsistencies in witnesses' statements. He said witnesses gave vague accounts initially, then came back during trial with more detailed and incriminating testimony.

"Remember the inconsistencies," Kurpiers said. "Remember how one story didn't stay together when they told it a second time or a third time or a fourth time."

But Harmon contended that despite minor inconsistencies, witnesses agreed on the main details of what happened.

He also said Grimes did not act like someone who had done nothing wrong. To the contrary, he reminded jurors that Grimes drove to Miami immediately after the shooting without even going home to pack a bag or say goodbye to his pregnant wife.

"Is that the way innocent people act? Do innocent people run away from crime scenes?" Harmon asked.

Jurors also convicted Grimes of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm for shooting during his fight with Jayfrey Williams.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Anthony K. Black scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 1.

Grimes showed little reaction as the verdicts were read in the packed and hushed courtroom. Afterward, the victim's family and prosecutors held hands in a circle in the hallway and prayed.

The Rev. W.D. Sims said a prayer of thanksgiving for the efforts of authorities in seeking justice, and a prayer for the Williams family to be healed.

And he also prayed for "Tyrone," the man who killed Karen Williams.

"Teach him, Father," Sims said. "Show him a more excellent way."

Richard Danielson can be reached at Danielson@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5311.

Deadly stray shot in bar brawl leads to murder conviction for Brandon man 04/03/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 3, 2009 11:49pm]
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