Cincinnati, OH – A jilted woman killed an innocent bystander while trying to intentionally hit her boyfriend with a vehicle outside a Kroger grocery store.
The incident occurred outside the Spring Grove Village Kroger on Aug. 31, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said in a press release on Sept. 8.
Investigators said 24-year-old Taahviya Chapman was waiting in a vehicle with her eight-month-old daughter while her boyfriend, Jawon Lunsford, ran into the store, WXIX reported.
Deters said Chapman began going through Lunsford’s phone while he was inside the business, and that she stumbled upon text messages between him and her sister that she felt were inappropriate.
Chapman was behind the wheel of the minivan when Lunsford walked out of the store a short while later, security footage showed.
She then stomped the accelerator and slammed into him, hitting 58-year-old Christopher Griffith in the process, Deters said.
Security footage showed the minivan hitting Lunsford and going up onto two wheels as it crashed into Griffith, who was just steps away from the front doors of the store at the time.
Chapman then jumped out of the vehicle and proceeded to violently beat Lunsford as he laid on the pavement, Deters said.
Lunsford suffered a broken leg during the attack.
“Her car was disabled,” Deters told WXIX. “She exited the vehicle leaving her 8-month-old baby in the car and proceeds to go to her boyfriend and start beating him after he’s been run over by this car.”
Griffith was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.
His brother, Greg, said Griffith had previously been in a motorcycle crash that left him paralyzed below his neck, WCPO reported.
“He slowly, but surely recovered until he could walk,” Greg said. “He needed a cane, but he could walk and function, live on his own.”
In his younger years, Griffith worked as a sound engineer for performers including Prince, Aerosmith, The Temptations, ZZ Top, Harry Connick Jr., and the Four Tops, Greg told WCPO.
Greg said Griffith’s family hopes the criminal justice system will hold his killer accountable for his death.
“I don’t understand why someone would do this,” he told WCPO. “I really want her to pay for what she’s done. I mean the maximum penalty, whatever the murder charge is going to be, that she pays for this. This is senseless.”
Deters said Chapman and Lunsford’s eight-month-old has been placed in the custody of the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services, WXIX reported.
Chapman previously lost custody of a four-year-old child who is now in the care of her father.
Chapman has been indicted on charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder, endangering, two counts of murder, and two counts of felonious assault, Deters said in the press release.
She faces a maximum of life in prison if she is convicted on all counts.
“What this woman did is sickening. Her total disregard for human life is stunning,” Deters said in the press release. “This woman didn’t care about the lives she put in danger – including her own 8-month-old child. That level of selfishness is impossible to understand, but we will do everything in our power to ensure she spends the rest of her life in prison.”
“Every day, we see crimes that are more violent and more callous,” he continued. “As a people, we live in the bed we have made. Useless, endless, and ineffective programs – combined with the decriminalization of crime, the hatred of law enforcement, and misguided blame on everyone but the bad guy has caused this. I can only deal with the results. It is high time society and its leaders deal with the true causes.”