Key witness refuses to testify, throws trial into disarray - FOX 13 News

Key witness refuses to testify, throws trial into disarray

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Tension enveloped a Tampa courtroom Thursday. Two defendants, Tavari Grant and Charles Waits, are both charged with the murder of two Tampa teens.

But it's a key witness who made a big splash in the courtroom.

Denzel Baker, who is Tavari Grant's half-brother, ignored a judge's order and refused to tell what he knows about the murders.

Thursday morning, the judge got an earful from Hillsborough Assistant State Prosecutor Michelle Doherty.

"He understood the instructions from your honor, and again he refused to answer any questions," Doherty said.

In June 2011, Kiara Brito and her younger brother Jeremi were home alone. Prosecutors say the two defendants came looking for drugs and ended up shooting and killing both teens.

Whatever Baker knows about the murders has remained a secret.

But now Baker can think about it in jail. Judge Laura Ward had made up her mind:

"Mr. Baker, you are in direct criminal contempt of this court for directly violating a court order," Ward said.

And with that, Baker was handcuffed right in the courtroom. On his way out, Tavari Grant let out a profanity-laced rant, suggesting someone was selling him out.

Grant and Waits are charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Both trials are scheduled to begin in October.

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