LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A 25-year-old central Florida woman told detectives that she acted in self-defense when her father and 6-year-old daughter were fatally stabbed, according to an arrest affidavit released Monday, but detectives aren't buying her story and she's facing two counts of first-degree murder.
Cheyanne Jessie said in the affidavit that her daughter, Meredith Jessie, and her 50-year-old father, Mark Weekly, were killed during a struggle with her dad over a knife and a gun at his home last month.
A judge on Monday denied her bail. Besides the first-degree murder counts, she also faces a count of tampering with evidence.
Cheyanne Jessie had dropped her daughter off July 18 at the house of her father, who worked as a caretaker on the property where he lived, and a fight broke out when she returned later that night. The affidavit says it began when Mark Weekly disparaged her mothering skills.
Cheyanne Jessie told detectives that her father pushed her to the floor and tried to cut her with the knife. She also told detectives that her daughter ran to help her but was stabbed in the throat. The mother told investigators her father grabbed a gun but she managed to push it back at him as he pulled the trigger, the affidavit said.
However, Cheyanne Jessie had no injuries to suggest that she had been in a struggle with her father, and she had tried to clean up the crime scene, detectives said in the affidavit.
Cheyanne Jessie returned to the house several days later and put the bodies in plastic tote containers. She then loaded them into a sports utility vehicle and moved them to a shed on the property belonging to the landlord, according to the affidavit.
An interview with her boyfriend suggested that someone sent phony texts from the dead father's phone, concocting a story to explain the disappearances of Mark Weekly and Meredith Jessie.
According to the affidavit, Cheyanne Jessie's live-in boyfriend, Matthew Munroe, told detectives that he had threatened to leave her for good if she couldn't get a handle on her daughter's behavior problems. After July 18 — the night of the killings — Munroe told detectives, he started receiving texts from Weekly's phone. The texts said that Weekly had decided to move to Georgia after he was diagnosed with cancer and told he had a brief time to live. He would be taking Meredith Jessie with him, according to the affidavit.
The texts also told Munroe that he wanted all his personal belongings sold, the affidavit said.
Cheyanne Jessie told detectives she had cleaned up the evidence and sent text messages so she wouldn't get in trouble, according to the affidavit.
Information from: WKMG-TV, http://www.local6.com/index.html