Jury convicts Aurora man of murdering 28-year-old woman in her car last April

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AURORA | It took an Arapahoe County jury less than four hours on Tuesday to determine a 37-year-old Aurora man was guilty of murdering Kiara Shanae Livingston in her car last year.

Pictured: Cleveland Grimes IV. Photo provided by the Aurora Police Department.

Following a week-long trial in Arapahoe County District Court, jurors convicted Cleveland Grimes IV of first-degree murder on June 25, according to Vikki Migoya, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Grimes shot and killed Livingston, 28, at about 4:30 a.m. on April 14, 2018 outside of his Aurora townhouse at 940 S. Iola St.

Grimes’ sister, 41-year-old Latasha Grimes-Kelly, told police she exited the townhouse — where she lived with Grimes and an adult niece who was out of town — at about 4:20 a.m. on April 14 after hearing a disturbance outside of her window, according to a recently released arrest affidavit filed against Grimes. Grimes-Kelly saw a silver Chevy Malibu parked on the street in front of the townhouse, noticed Livingston was in the driver’s seat, and got in the passenger’s seat to speak with her. 

Moments after Grimes-Kelly entered the Malibu, Grimes approached the driver’s side door and fired several rounds into the car, striking Livingston several times.

On body-worn camera footage from Aurora Police, Grimes-Kelly can be heard saying “I’m asking (Livingston) ‘What’s going on?’ and she’s about to start talking to me, and somebody opened this door and just started shooting,” according to the affidavit.

Livingston then fell into Grimes-Kelly’s lap. After the shooting, Grimes-Kelly, who only suffered minor injuries in the shooting, told police she jumped out of the passenger seat of the car and “then played dead and did not look around, since, being from Chicago, she knows that is the smartest thing to do,” according to the arrest document. She then called 911.

Livingston, the mother of two young daughters, was pronounced dead at the Medical Center of Aurora about 25 minutes after dispatchers first received Grimes-Kelly’s 911 call. She died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to a spokeswoman from the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office. 

A friend of Livingston’s later told police the two of them had gone clubbing in Aurora and Denver the night she was killed. They drank, smoked weed and split some ecstasy. 

Grimes-Kelly told police Livingston was in a casual romantic relationship with Grimes, and the two had been communicating throughout the night of April 13 and into the early morning hours of April 14. Several of Livingston’s friends told police Grimes was possessive of Livingston, saying he did not want her to see other men and wanted her “to be his stay-at-home woman.”

One of Livingston’s friends told police, “I know Tre did this,” according to the affidavit.

Grimes’ father, Cleveland Grimes III, later told police he went by the nickname Tre, and his son used the nickname Little Tre.

Investigators pinned the younger Grimes to the crime scene using statements from neighbors who reported hearing gunshots and seeing a man matching Grimes’ description around the time of Livingston’s murder. Grimes’ fingerprints were also found on several parts of Livingston’s Malibu, and investigators used cell phone records to confirm he had spoken with Livingston several times in the hours before she was killed.

Police later found five 9mm Makarov shell casings scattered around the car, and two more matching rounds in the parking lot behind the townhouse. In his affidavit to the court, Aurora Detective Todd Fredericksen described the casings as “unique ammunition originally from eastern-bloc countries.” Police also found an empty magazine from a semi-automatic handgun near the driver’s seat of the Malibu. 

Officials said Grimes ran through the townhouse immediately after the shooting and fled the area in an older model Buick or Oldsmobile car. He was arrested six days after the shooting, and has been detained at the Arapahoe County Detention Center without bond ever since.

Grimes has been arrested before in Colorado on felony menacing and driving under the influence charges, according to state records. He was also named in a pair of assault cases involving his sister in the five months prior to the shooting.

Grimes’ first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Grimes is expected to be formally sentenced at 4 p.m. on July 11.