Second suspect charged in case of slain South Tampa teens

TAMPA — He insisted he was forced to drive to a robbery that ended in murder. But on Friday, detectives charged Charles Stephan Waits with murder in the deaths of Kiara and Jeremi Brito.

Waits, 19, admitted driving some people in his mother's 2007 Chevrolet Impala to 3021 W Van Buren Drive the morning of the killings, Tampa police said. He also admitted having a cell phone that was linked to the robbery, investigators said.

Tavari Grant, 18, was charged with first-degree murder in the case on June 9.

Waits, 19, went to the Brito home just before 6 a.m. June 5 and got 16-year-old Kiara and 13-year-old Jeremi to open the door because he knew them, police said. Both teens were shot in the head. Kiara died at the scene, and Jeremi was taken off life support at Tampa General Hospital on June 6.

Witnesses saw Waits with a gun and items stolen from the Britos after the slayings, according to police. Fingerprints from Waits and Grant were found on the Impala.

When Waits was first arrested on unrelated drug charges June 6, he told police that he was forced to participate in the robbery and drive the getaway car for the shooter, according to an arrest affidavit.

Witnesses gave police a partial license plate number that led them to Waits' South Tampa home.

Police searched the home and found cocaine, but didn't immediately arrest Waits that night. The former Spoto High School football player turned himself in the next day after police announced they were looking for him.

The search also uncovered a rifle that may be connected to an unrelated case handled by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, prosecutors said.

On June 7, a judge denied bail for Waits because the new possession charges came while he was awaiting trial on other drug charges from a May 11 traffic stop.

On May 11, Waits was arrested on cocaine and marijuana possession charges and was released after posting bond at the county jail.

Waits and Grant are charged with two counts of first-degree murder and home invasion robbery.

Second suspect charged in case of slain South Tampa teens 06/17/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 17, 2011 11:37pm]

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