Charles Waits found guilty in Brito murders - FOX 13 News

Charles Waits found guilty in Brito murders

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A jury found Charles Waits guilty Tuesday in the murders of two Tampa teenagers, potentially sending him to prison for the rest of his life.

Jurors deliberated for about two and a half hours before reaching the verdict; Waits was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of 13-year-old Jeremi and 16-year-old Kiara Brito.

Their mother, Judy Brito, sobbed as she walked down the courthouse hallway after the verdict was read. Waits' loved ones exited minutes later, also emotional and embracing just outside the courtroom.

The two teens were found shot in the head the morning of June 5, 2011. Jurors determined the murders happened exactly as prosecutors described.

"This crime didn't take very long to happen," Assistant State Attorney Michelle Doherty said in her closing arguments. "[Waits and co-defendant Tavari Grant] were in there, they immediately fired warning shots, they made Kiera and Jeremi grab all of the items that they wanted and after they obtained the drugs, the money, jewelry, electronics, they killed them. They shot them in the head and left no witnesses behind."

Waits testified Monday that he went to the home to buy drugs with Grant. Waits said Grant pulled a gun, and forced his way into the home, where the teens were by themselves. He said he ran out of the home, and that's when he heard gunshots.

Waits initially told police a man named "Rocco" committed the crime, but admitted on the stand he made up that name.

"I lied about 'Rocco' being Tavari because I was scared at the time that Tavari would send somebody after my family," Waits said.

Defense attorney Octavio Gomez tried one last time to convince the jury Waits was telling the truth and urged jurors to leave their emotions out of their decision.

"You have every right to be angry. You have every right to be sad. But you can't judge this case based on those feelings," Gomez said.

But the prosecution said Waits lied to police, and they said he lied on the stand Monday.

Sentencing will take place November 22nd. Tavari Grant's trial is scheduled to begin in less than two weeks.

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