The man who shot and killed 28-year-old Kiara Livingston of Aurora will spend the rest of his life in prison for her murder.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Darren Vahle last week sentenced Cleveland Vernon Grimes IV to life without parole. A jury on June 25 had found Grimes guilty of “Murder 1 after deliberation.”
“First-degree murder is multiple crimes wrapped into one,” Vahle told Grimes during sentencing. “You stole from her family their mother and sister. You robbed this woman of her future. It’s child abuse – her little kids will now suffer.”
Vahle added: “The reason society has fixed the penalty at life without parole is that we value nothing more than human life. The wanton, willful taking of human life demands the highest punishment.”
On April 14, 2018, Livingston was at an apartment on South Iola Street in Aurora, where she and Grimes got into an argument. She and Grimes were in a relationship, and Grimes was jealous and possessive.
Livingston got in her car to leave, and Grimes came out with a handgun, walked to the driver side of her car and shot her five times. When officers arrived, the car was still in reverse and the taillights were still on.
Livingston died at Aurora Medical Center. She left behind two young daughters.
Grimes fled the scene. Investigators determined his identity, and he was arrested about a week later.
“Another selfish, hateful, evil act of domestic violence has left two girls, 9 and 2, to go through life without the love, guidance, and protection of their mother,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “Despite destroying three innocent lives with his homicidal rage, our laws allow our system to merely lock this wanton killer away for the duration of his life. We must continue to eradicate domestic violence from our community.”
Even though the sentence was mandatory under the law, Livingston’s family and friends came to the hearing to tell the judge how much she meant to them and how her loss hurt.
“Kiara was my friend – she was so genuine, so beautiful, so smart and so kind,” one young woman said. “This person took away a true jewel from us. He knew that, and he knew what he was doing to her kids.”
“I’m walking around with my heart shattered and in pieces,” Livingston’s aunt told the judge. “Grief is the final act of love. We will continue to keep her in our hearts and continue to love on her daughters. We see her when we look at them.”
Livingston’s mother spoke last. “Somebody made the decision to take my child rather than letting God make that decision,” she told the judge.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Laura Wilson prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Casey Brown.
“This was a senseless killing of a wonderful human being,” Wilson said in her sentencing argument. “There was not a robbery or a clear reason – this seemed to stem from the defendant’s jealousy, anger and frustration at being disrespected in front of his friends by a woman.
“He got a gun and shot the victim five times. She was leaving. … He stopped her from doing that.”