Three teenagers charged with killing high school classmate with knife and sword

Police say teen trio burned clothes and brought cleaning supplies to clear up attack aftermath

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 27 October 2021 18:59

Three teenagers charged with killing high school classmate with knife and sword

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Three teenagers from Florida, two girls and a boy, have been charged with killing one of their high school classmates using a sword and a knife.

Police said the classmates lured 18-year-old Dwight “DJ” Grant from his home and then stabbed him to death using the weapons. The teenagers were arrested last week, NBC News reported.

According to law enforcement, one of the girls restrained Mr Grant as the boy stabbed him while the second girl acted as a lookout. All three have been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and evidence tampering.

The 18-year-old was last seen on 17 October and was found dead two days later in Miramar, north of Miami. He was found in the bushes behind his apartment building, police told NBC South Florida.

Law enforcement say in an arrest affidavit that the charged teenagers – a girl aged 16, and a boy and a girl both aged 17 – conspired to trick Mr Grant into a trap and cooperated to commit the murder. After the killing, they reportedly collaborated to get rid of the weapons and clean up any evidence.

A 22 October affidavit for the teenagers’ arrest states that they were caught on surveillance footage leaving as a group, arriving at the home of Mr Grant, and luring him into an outdoor stairwell, where the 18-year-old was entrapped by the trio.

Police said the plan to kill Mr Grant was initiated around a week before his death when the 17-year-old male found out that his ex-girlfriend, with whom he still had an “emotional connection”, had had sex with Mr Grant. Law enforcement has said that the boy texted the 17-year-old girl, saying that he was out for revenge.

Police obtained the girl’s cellphone records. “Murder will definitely happen soon,” the boy texted. “It’s happening by [homecoming].”

“[O]h – see that I can help,” she reportedly replied.

Police say the boy then enlisted the 16-year-old girl, telling her that Mr Grant had raped his ex. A Miramar Police Department spokeswoman told The Washington Post that “we have no evidence of any sexual assault”.

“Detectives spoke with that ex-girlfriend and she stated that the sexual relationship was consensual,” the spokeswoman added. “We felt the need to mention this to prevent any misunderstandings in regards to the victim.”

Miramar High School Principal Loli Formoso tweeted: “May our forever Patriot Rest In Peace. Please pray for Dwight Grant’s family, friends and our community. I spoke with Ms Grant to offer our condolences on behalf of the Patriot family. We will have grief counsellors available on Thursday and Friday. We are here for you.”

Mr Grant reportedly walked down the stairwell with one of the girls and tried to run when the other two teens were waiting at the bottom of the stairs with the knife and sword, police say.

Surveillance footage shows that the two teens waiting at the bottom of the stairwell took hold of Mr Grant and pushed him up against a wall.

“You know who I am and why I’m here,” the boy told Mr Grant, the affidavit states. As the 16-year-old girl pinned Mr Grant to the ground, the boy beat him and then stabbed him in the neck. Mr Grant then asked his classmates to “end it for him,” The Washington Post reported.

The 17-year-old boy stood over the bleeding Mr Grant and pushed the sword into his chest. The three suspects were arrested on Friday and Saturday.

WTVJ reported that Broward County prosecutors said on Tuesday that they plan on charging all three teens as adults in the upcoming weeks. It remains unclear who’s legally representing the suspects.

The three teens set a time to meet at a playground near the apartment building of the 16-year-old wearing black clothes they wouldn’t mind getting ruined, the arrest affidavit states. They also planned to put their phones in aeroplane mode and leave them behind at the home of the 16-year-old, not far from the home of Mr Grant.

The 17-year-old girl texted with Mr Grant for a few days about meeting up. She texted him again on 17 October to schedule a time. According to security footage, the three teenagers left the 16-year-old’s apartment complex around 7pm and just minutes later entered the apartment building where Mr Grant lived. Police said it was at that time that the 17-year-old girl “called the victim and lured him outside and into the stairwell”.

The attack started around 7.09pm, and the boy caught Mr Grant after he tried to escape. “You know I have to kill you now,” he told the victim, the 16-year-old girl later relayed to law enforcement.

The affidavit states that Mr Grant managed to get ahold of the sword as he was being beaten.

“The victim raised the sword in order to protect himself and [the 16-year-old] observed [the boy] pull out the small knife that he had and stabbed the victim on the right side of his neck,” the legal document said.

The boy told the 16-year-old “to get the sword and end it,” but she told him to do it and handed him the sword, at which point he stabbed Mr Grant in the chest.

The boy and the 16-year-old girl can be seen on security footage carrying the dead body of Mr Grant at 7.45pm.

“They then toss the lifeless body of the victim over a railing and into bushes … in front of the stairwell,” according to police. While they tried to hide the remains, the 17-year-old girl cleaned up the pool of blood in the stairwell using “materials that she had brought with her, likely in an effort to remove evidence of the crime,” the affidavit said.

They were filmed by surveillance cameras returning to the 16-year-old’s apartment building at around 8.30pm. The 16-year-old told police that they burned their clothes.

When Mr Grant’s mother called to report her son missing within hours of his death, she was told by authorities that since he was 18 years old, she had to wait 48 hours. The mother asked the 17-year-old girl that evening if she had seen Mr Grant. She allegedly said she had seen him earlier that same day but that she “hasn’t spoken with him since and doesn’t know what happened to him”.

The mother called the police on 19 October saying that she had seen the security footage of the attack on her son.

A detective dispatched to the scene found “signs of blood” and “the body of a Black male”, according to police. The detective also found a small knife with a broken blade close to the body. The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office said Mr Grant had multiple stab wounds and had been “badly beaten”.

DNA evidence was used alongside the surveillance footage to connect the suspects to the crime.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that around 100 people attended a vigil for Mr Grant on Tuesday.