An Instagram Model Has Been Charged With Murder, Four Months After Allegedly Killing Her Boyfriend In Miami




  • In US
  • 2022-08-11 19:53:47Z
  • By BuzzFeed News
 

An Instagram influencer and OnlyFans model has been charged with second-degree murder, four months after allegedly fatally stabbing her boyfriend in a luxury condo in Miami.

Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced charges against Courtney Clenney, 26, at a news conference on Thursday afternoon. She was arrested by police in Hawaii the day before.

"Personal relationships should never involve domestic violence. And make no mistake about it: domestic violence is a crime no one should tolerate," Rundle said, flanked by law enforcement officers and Obumseli's family members. "Men are often unfortunately unwilling to come forward as victims of domestic violence … the sequence of domestic violence events can be broken, but it takes a first step."

Clenney, who is white, is accused of killing her Black boyfriend, Christian Toby Obumseli, on April 3 in a luxury high-rise apartment they lived in. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Obumseli with a stab wound, and he was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Police said the two were involved in a physical altercation.

Clenney was admitted to the hospital for mental health evaluation for less than two days before being released.

Obumseli, a cryptocurrency investor, and Clenney, who goes by Courtney Tailor online, had been in a relationship that Rundle described as "tempestuous and combative" since November 2020.

Since moving into their Miami apartment in January 2022, security and building staff documented so many loud arguments between the couple - including complaints about their fights from tenants as far as two floors above - that eviction proceedings were being initiated against them, Rundle said.

Officials played security footage from the apartment building's elevator from Feb. 21 showing Clenney repeatedly hitting Obumseli and grabbing his hair as he pushes her away and deflects her blows.

Events like that caused the couple to separate several times during their relationship, Rundle said, including in the last week of March when Clenney kicked Obumseli out while her mom was visiting from Texas. They reconnected on April 1 and he moved back in after her mom left, Rundle said.

"Arguments began almost immediately," she said. Police responded to the apartment that evening, and Clenney appeared intoxicated, officers noted.

On the day that Obumseli was killed, the couple had been filming themselves before he left the apartment. According to a timeline laid out by investigators, Obumseli returned three hours later, at 4:33 p.m., with sandwiches for them. Clenney called her mom on the phone at 4:43 p.m. and then again at 4:49 p.m.

At 4:57 p.m., she rang 911. On the call, Obumseli was heard in the background repeatedly saying that he was dying and losing feeling in his arm, and Clenney was heard saying sorry, Rundle told reporters.

Investigators believe that Clenney was on the phone with her mom when she allegedly stabbed Obumseli.

He had a three-inch deep stab wound to the chest that was a result of a "forceful downward thrust," Rundle told reporters, citing the medical examiner's findings.

Clenney's lawyer, Frank Prieto, told the Miami Herald that he did not anticipate her arrest.

"I'm completely shocked, especially since we were cooperating with the investigation and offered to voluntarily surrender her if she were charged," he said. "We look forward to clearing her name in court."

Clenney was in Hawaii for substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder rehabilitation, he said. Prieto did not respond to calls or emails from BuzzFeed News.

Prieto has said that his client acted in self-defense and told Rolling Stone that Obumseli had tried to choke her. He also claimed that Obumseli was privately abusive toward Clenney - which Obumseli's family strongly refuted - though the lawyer acknowledged that there could have been mutual violence between them.

Clenney, however, gave inconsistent accounts of the incident to police, Rundle said, first claiming that Obumseli pushed her against the wall by the neck but did not choke her. Then she said that Obumseli threw her to the ground but let her get up, and at that point, she grabbed a knife from the kitchen. She claimed that she threw the knife at him from 10 feet away.

Police did not see any injuries on Clenney, which would have corroborated her claims, Rundle said. The medical examiner also believed that a knife thrown from that distance would not have caused the kind of injury Obumseli had.

His family and the couple's friends have also cast their relationship as different from what Clenney's attorney has said. One friend, Ashley Vaughn, told Local 10 that their circle has seen Clenney hit Obumseli, and never the other way around.

"From what we've personally experienced between the both of them, we believe that Christian wouldn't put her in a position where she would need to stab him to protect herself," Vaughn said.

An unnamed neighbor, however, told Local 10 that he saw Obumseli "swinging" at her a week before the stabbing.

"I could not tell if it was open-handed or closed-handed, but he was swinging at her," he said.

Obumseli's family has demanded answers about his death for months. His brother, Jeff Obumseli, said in a statement on April 10 that a detective "prematurely concluded this was not a crime of violence."

"The bottom line is inextricably clear: Courtney is being treated differently because of her privilege as a wealthy white woman," he said. "We have every reason to believe that [Obumseli's] death was the result of unwarranted and unprovoked violence."

Police chief Manuel Morales said at the news conference that investigators took this long to issue an arrest warrant against Clenney because they were gathering information and evidence and wanted to present a "solid" case to the state attorney. Miami police spokesperson Michael Vega also told BuzzFeed News that the department has always said that the case was "open and under investigation."

Obumseli's cousin, Karen Egbuna, told reporters the week after his death that they had "no cause to believe" that Clenney acted in self-defense.

"Toby was raised by a very strong family, with strong morals, strong values," Egbuna said. "He does not come from that."

Larry Handfield, an attorney representing Obumseli's family, did not respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed News.

A GoFundMe organized by his family described Obumseli as "extremely compassionate with a desire always to uplift those around him."

"He did not deserve for his life to be cut short by a heinous act of violence," they wrote. "We will never forget his infectious smile that could light up any room or his caring spirit."

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