On the morning of April 13, 1996, Earl Little arrived at the University of Miami’s campus apartment to pick up the black Ford Explorer he had lent to roommate Marlin Barnes. key.
Little found a puncture in the right rear tire of his vehicle, causing the vehicle to lean to the right.
Little opened the door to his apartment to find Barnes collapsed on the front door, beaten so badly he was barely conscious. Little called the police, who entered the apartment and found the body of Timwanika Lempkins, who was still alive with severe trauma to the back of his head.
Barnes died at the scene, while Lempkins died after being airlifted to hospital. Both suffered trauma and cuts that were later determined to be the result of multiple shotgun blows.
Barnes and Little both played football for the University of Miami, and at a football team meeting after the murders, some football players said Rempkins had an ex-boyfriend named Labrant Dennis.
In an interview with police, Dennis admitted to having a romantic relationship with Lempkins, with whom he has a child. Dennis told police he and Lempkins had an argument a week before the murder, when she and Barnes came home late after a night out. Dennis and Rumpkins were living with Dennis’ cousin and her boyfriend when the altercation occurred. After the argument, Lampkins moved out.
In the early hours of the day of the murder, Dennis showed up at the Salvation Club, a club that Lempkins, Barnes and a mutual friend had also been to that morning. Dennis, however, denied seeing Trump and Barnes that morning.
While investigating the area for information about the murder, police located a gas station attendant who worked at a gas station a few blocks from the Salvation Club.
The attendant told police a man who matched Dennis’ description, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt covering his face, was parked in a car at the gas station. The attendant also told police that the vehicle was in a location that would allow a black Ford Explorer to be seen, with a flat tire, being loaded onto a flatbed trailer across the street.
Police were questioning Dennis after learning that Joseph Stewart, an acquaintance of Dennis, might have information about the case. Stewart told police that Dennis borrowed a shotgun and duffel bag from him.
On the morning of April 13, Dennis hid a duffel bag containing a black hooded sweatshirt, black boots, a badly damaged shotgun and a knife in some bushes at Stewart’s mother’s home. After finding the items, Stewart became nervous and threw the clothes in the grocery store bin and threw the shotgun and knife down the drain.
Police later recovered shotguns and knives, as well as a duffel bag, but were unable to recover discarded clothing. Further forensic investigation determined that the shotgun fragments found in the apartment matched Stewart’s damaged shotgun. The state further linked Dennis to the murders and established Dennis’ motive by providing evidence that Dennis stalked Lumpkins multiple times and threatened to kill her with a gun.