Jurors acquitted a Florida woman on Friday of murdering her stepfather-turned-husband, but they convicted her of tampering with evidence.
Danielle Redlick, 48, testified that she did stab Michael Redlick, 65, in the shoulder, but she asserted it was self-defense. He was strangling her, she said. Prosecutors highlighted her shifting stories, including her initial account to authorities that her husband stabbed himself and might have died from a heart attack.
The Sunshine State did not have to prove that she intended to kill her husband that night on Jan. 11, 2019. Based on her own testimony, she believed that he initially survived the stabbing, prosecutor Sean Wiggins noted. Instead of getting help or performing amateur CPR, the prosecutor added, she let him bleed to death. She did not call 911 until she slit her wrists about 11 hours later in morning of Jan. 12, 2019, when she was bleeding and in danger, he said.
By finding her not guilty of second-degree murder, the jury indicated that they at least believed there was reasonable doubt in the state’s homicide case. There was a lesser-included charge of manslaughter, but they did not convict her of that, either. Wiggins emphasized in closing arguments on Thursday that his stabbing was second-degree murder. As an example of manslaughter, he brought up a hypothetical incident of getting into a bar fight after the victim spilled a drink on a defendant’s shoes; the victim died after falling and cracking his head.
Jurors did convict Danielle Redlick of tampering with evidence, based on her actions after stabbing her husband. Wiggins argued that she set the scene to appear to be something that it was not. She started cleaning it up and told 911 Michael’s death was possibly a heart attack, he said. She used mops, towels, water, and what appeared to investigators to be a cleaning solution, he said. Defendant Redlick also deleted texts from her phone. She cannot explain why she deleted those messages, Wiggins said.
Her other deceptive behavior included telling a detective after the fact that she was willing to talk, but that she already told the dispatcher what happened, he said. She also showed a selectively memory, testifying about incidents from 10 to 15 years ago in which Michael looked bad, but she could not tell what she did with the knife after the killing.
Andrew Parnell, one of Danielle Redlick’s public defenders, said in closing arguments that the couple’s relationship was marked by Michael Redlick abusing her. The attorney said that the slain man’s insecurities led to violence against Danielle: hitting her, holding her down, choking her, looking her in the eyes as he attacked her. She was trapped, pinned down, smothered, thinking she was going to die in her kitchen at the hands of her of own husband, Parnell said.
According to the defense, Danielle Redlick would sometimes fight back, but mostly she would normalize it. As part of the cycle, she would get flowery words, an apology, and hope it’d be better, her attorneys said.
The state highlighted testimony from the couple’s daughter Jadyn, now 18, who said that Danielle Redlick was the main source of toxicity in the relationship.
Parnell mentioned a Jan. 10, 2019 incident in which Michael—who was previously kicked out of the home in January 2018 for having an affair—discovered that Danielle was talking to another man. Jadyn, who once described her father as calm, sarcastic and funny, testified that he got drunk and that she had to step between her mother and father and take the liquor bottle from him. She had never seen her father that upset before, she said.
Danielle had texted her daughter Jadyn at one point to stay in her room because Michael was being violent, Parnell said.
The defense emphasized her conceding responses during an aggressive cross-examination, such as saying “if you say so,” and “I believe you” when confronted with certain facts of the case.
Sentencing in the tampering charge is set for Aug. 5.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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