Ariana Tito leaves the courtroom at the York Judicial Center in Biddeford on Tuesday after her attorney Darius Wadia, left, entered not guilty pleas on her behalf. Police say Tito shot Kayla Grant in November before fleeing to New York, where she was later arrested and extradited to Maine. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A Biddeford woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and two counts of tampering with a witness for allegedly shooting her brother’s fiancee, whom she believed had led police to arrest him in a separate shooting.

Ariana Tito, 18, entered the plea in York County Superior Court in Biddeford. She was arrested on Dec. 1 in New York after police in Maine said she shot Kayla Grant, 32, in Saco on Nov. 28. Grant was engaged at the time to Tito’s older brother, 25-year-old Lorenze Labonte, whom police say shot and killed Tito’s boyfriend, Ahmed Sharif, on Nov. 24.

Tito said little in court Tuesday. She confirmed to Superior Court Justice James Martemucci that her attorney, Darius Wadia, had explained the allegations against her. Wadia entered her not guilty pleas, sitting beside Tito and two sheriff’s deputies. Her mother attended the hearing via Zoom.

Tito is barred from having contact with several people, including a younger sister who prosecutors have said witnessed Sharif’s death and helped identify Labonte as the shooter.

Labonte has also pleaded not guilty to murder, possessing a firearm as a prohibited person and tampering with a witness.

Court documents in the siblings’ arrests, just days apart, tie together the two shootings, only one of which was fatal. Grant was shot through her right cheek and was brought to the hospital. Sharif was pronounced dead at the scene.


In an affidavit for Tito’s arrest, Detective Justin Huntley wrote that Tito witnessed Sharif’s shooting and spoke with police before her brother was arrested on Nov. 27.

Grant was shot the next day at the apartment she lived in with Labonte, the document states.

Days earlier, a man contacted police and said that Grant told him Labonte had shot “Ari’s boyfriend” at their mother’s residence, according to the affidavit. Tito allegedly contacted that man on Snapchat the day she was accused of shooting Grant, asking for a recording of his conversation with Grant and saying the man was “dead to her,” the document states.

Investigators said they connected Tito to the shooting through various surveillance cameras that covered the half-mile route she allegedly walked from an apartment in Biddeford to Grant’s apartment in Saco.

The footage shows a young woman in a hood and mask who “is similar in appearance and physical build to Ariana Tito” walking from her uncle’s home on South Street in Biddeford around 7 a.m. to the area of 103 Temple St. in Saco, where Grant was shot sometime before 7:45 a.m., Huntley writes.

The videos show her walking down Main Street in Biddeford to the bridge leading into Saco before the shooting, according to the affidavit. Then, after police were called to Grant’s address, the same woman can be seen running south on Temple Street, shedding various pieces of clothing.


Huntley said police recovered the woman’s sandals and a white jacket with a Samsung cellphone in the pocket from Jubilee Park near the Saco River, and a black baseball cap with a Nike “swoosh” emblem at Grant’s address, where there were also footprints similar to the sandals.

By 7:48 a.m. – minutes after police found Grant bleeding on the sidewalk – the woman is seen on video wearing red spandex shorts, a hooded sweater and socks with no shoes. Huntley said Tito was wearing the same shorts and sweater in a now-deleted Instagram video of her posted that morning at her uncle’s house.

When police spoke to Grant that morning, she told them she had been shot in her apartment by someone wearing a balaclava style mask. She did not identify her shooter, according to the affidavit.

Huntley said another detective tried speaking with Grant the day before when searching her apartment during Labonte’s arrest. At the time, Grant had refused to answer any questions, Huntley said.

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