A 39-year-old Florida man is behind bars after he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, then called 911 and falsely told police that the woman shot herself in the head, authorities say. Sean Booth Chidester was taken into custody and charged with one count each of dangerous and depraved murder without premeditation, kidnapping, as well as two counts of violating a no contact order in the death of 38-year-old Daniela Marie Blackburn, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
Blackburn earlier in the month called 911 after Chidester allegedly assaulted he multiple times, but she declined to press charges, telling investigators that the accused killer had “a beautiful side to him.”
According to a press release from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, deputies on July 14 responded to a call about a deceased woman at a residence located in the 1000 block of Sylvia Avenue. The caller, later identified as Chidester, allegedly called 911 and told the emergency dispatcher that his girlfriend had committed suicide.
‘The [reporting party], Sean, advised dispatch ‘she’s dead and she shot herself in the head’ and stated ‘she’s dead in my kitchen,'” investigators wrote in a sworn affidavit.
Upon arriving at the scene, first responders found Blackburn’s body inside of the residence. She had “been shot in the head with a handgun” and was pronounced dead on the scene. A 9mm handgun was recovered from the scene.
Chidester was also at the residence and allegedly told deputies that Blackburn “shot herself while he was in another room.” However, investigators who observed Blackburn’s autopsy allegedly discovered evidence contradicting Chidester’s version of events.
“Observations made by Detectives at the autopsy found the wound was not consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the affidavit states. Investigators also noted that Blackburn did not have any prior history of mental illness or suicidal tendencies.
Chidester was initially taken into custody for violating a no-contact order signed by a judge on June 18 requiring him to keep away from Blackburn. Prosecutors in the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office later decided to charge him with murdering Blackburn.
“We made the decision [to charge Chidester with murder] Monday of this week,” Joseph Mansfield, chief assistant state attorney for Monroe County, reportedly told the Miami Herald. “We decided this was going to be a homicide charge, but we also knew he was in custody. We knew we were safe knowing he wasn’t going anywhere.”
According to investigators, Chidester had a long history of domestic violence against Blackburn that took a particularly bad turn in the weeks leading up to her death.
MSCO deputies on July 1 responded to a 911 call regarding an alleged domestic violence incident at residence located in the 10000 block of 6th Avenue. Per the affidavit, Blackburn had dialed 911 and told the dispatcher that “someone was trying to harm her.”
Blackburn allegedly told the responding deputies that Chidester had just attacked her three times before she was able to dial 911 for help. Blackburn said that she and Chidester got into a verbal altercation that quickly escalated into a physical altercation with Blackburn being “the victim of battery,” per the affidavit.
Chidester allegedly “used both of his hands to grab her by the hair and drag [Blackburn] off of the couch onto the floor” causing her to hit her head on a dresser drawer, deputies wrote of the July 1 incident. Chidester then “paced away” before twice returning to grab Blackburn by the hair and drag her about the residence. It was only after Chidester allegedly dragged her to an area near the front door and “paced away” that Blackburn had the opportunity to call for help, the affidavit says.
However, Blackburn after the July 1 incident completed a non-prosecution form, telling deputies that she “did not wish to pursue charges” against Chidester because “he has a beautiful side to him.”
Chidester is currently being held on $1 million bond.
“Thankfully, there are few murders in the Florida Keys, but when they do occur the Sheriff’s Office will always work aggressively and vigilantly to resolve them as quickly as possible,” Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a statement. “I want to thank my staff, the State Attorney’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office for their diligent work in resolving this sad case.”
Read the affidavit below.
[image via MCSO]
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