After police said Karlos Holmes killed his fiancee in 2013, he put her body in a bathtub, filled it with water, then tossed in a plugged-in electric hairdryer.
Police say he wanted Tiffany Claiborne’s death to look like an accident. On Friday, a Mecklenburg jury didn’t buy it.
At the close of a two-week trial, they convicted Holmes of first-degree murder. The 47-year-old Greenville man was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Poovey to a mandatory life in prison without parole.
According to prosecutors, Claiborne disappeared in November 2013. When her Charlotte co-workers went to her home, they found her in the tub, the hairdryer floating nearby.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police kept working the case, particularly after a medical examiner said there were no signs that the 31-year-old Claiborne had drowned or been electrocuted. Instead, investigators said, she had injuries that made it look like she had been strangled or suffocated, and there also were signs of a bedroom struggle.
Holmes, who at the time of his arrest was listed in jail records as 6-foot-4 and weighing 225 pounds, had been seen driving his fiancee’s car on the day her body was discovered. Police say a check of the trunk revealed a broken nightstand missing from Claiborne’s bedroom.
When questioned by police, Holmes said his relationship with Claiborne had been fine. A check of text messages between the two indicated otherwise – revealing that Claiborne had ended the engagement and told Holmes to move out.
Fifteen months after Claiborne’s body was discovered, Holmes were arrested and charged with her murder.
More than two years after, he walked out of a Mecklenburg courtroom toward a life behind bars.