TAMPA — The mother of two teenagers who were fatally shot two years ago is disappointed that the charges against one defendant were dropped last week but hopes police will continue to investigate the case, a local attorney said.
Judy Brito, the mother of Kiara, 16, and Jeremi, 13, met with prosecutors from the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office last week, said attorney Ricky Martinez, who has represented Brito in the past and is serving as a spokesman in this case. He said prosecutors explained to Brito that there was not enough evidence to take Tavari Grant to trial and that they would have to drop first-degree murder charges against him.
“It is excruciatingly difficult for her to deal with ... ” Martinez said. “At this time, she understands the position of the State Attorney’s Office regarding their decision and is hopeful that the Tampa Police Department continues to actively investigate.”
Jurors last week convicted Charles Waits of first-degree murder, two counts of armed robbery and one count of armed burglary of a structure in the home invasion robbery and slayings of the two South Tampa siblings.
Grant was scheduled to stand trial in the case next week, but the state attorney’s office on Friday announced it would drop charges.
Grant will not be on the streets, though; he was sentenced in April to 7 1/2 years in state prison on unrelated charges of attempted armed robbery.
Tampa police said it still has an active investigation on the case, and Grant remains a suspect.