MIAMI - Miami State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced the filing of criminal charges against Instagram model Courtney Clenney during a Thursday afternoon press conference in the fatal stabbing of her boyfriend at an apartment they both shared in Miami.
Clenney, aka Courtney Tailor, who has more than 2 million followers on Instagram, was charged with second-degree murder with a deadly weapon.
On Thursday afternoon, Clenney appeared in a courtroom on Hawaii's Big Island, where she waived her right to an extradition hearing and agreed to return to South Florida. The judge there, Henry Nakamoto ordered her held without bail pending extradition.
The Miami State Attorney's Office released a video Thursday showing Clenney, 26, attacking Christian Toby Obumseli in an elevator just two months before police say she stabbed him to death.
According to the arrest warrant, Clenney claimed she threw the knife at Obumseli from 10 feet away, but a graphic description from the Medical Examiner's Office revealed Obumseli suffered from a knife wound three inches deep. The type of wound, they say, caused by forceful pressure.
CBS4 learned that domestic violence was constant in Obumseli and Clenney's two-year relationship.
According to the arrest warrant, "One Paraiso security documented so many incidents of arguing, including complaints from tenants two floors above, that the building's management was moving towards legal action to evict the couple."
Larry Handfield, Obumseli family attorney, said, "We always believed that with a thorough and fair investigation that this day would become a reality. This is such a relief for the family, but it gives restored hope that even though delayed, justice will still come."
On Thursday afternoon, Frank Prieto, Clenney's attorney released the following statement:
"It is a shame that the State Attorney's Office is seeking to win this case in the court of public opinion by showing an irrelevant and likely inadmissible video of Courtney in an elevator getting physical with Obumseli."
"The video does not depict the events leading up to what was captured in the elevator."
"Obumseli was the abuser, the worst kind of abuser. He would manipulate and abuse Courtney in private when he thought nobody was around."
"Do not forget that the initial investigation from the City of Miami Police Department uncovered an independent witness who saw Obumseli hitting Courtney in the head while he thought he was in the privacy of Courtney's apartment."
"Nobody has ever denied that Courtney and her abuser had a tumultuous relationship. It is inappropriate for prosecutors to try and taint the community against Courtney to the point she may not be able to receive a fair trial."
"The charging decision in this matter should have been made on the evidence of what occurred that evening in the apartment and nothing more."
"This is a case of self defense and the facts that will be presented at trial will prove this. Also, the arrest warrant issued in this matter contains deceptive and incomplete statements; clearly an effort to justify a finding of probable cause when presented to the magistrate."
"Further, the medical examiner has formulated conclusory opinions that will not stand up to scientific scrutiny."
"Unfortunately, it appears that the prosecutors have taken 'the easy way out' by charging Courtney; effectively placing the decision to clear Courtney of these charges in the hands of the judge and jury. We are confident she will be exonerated, and Courtney will be seen for what she is: a victim of domestic abuse that survived her abuser."
On Wednesday, Clenney was arrested in Hawaii.
Clenney's attorney confirmed to CBS4 that she is facing a charge of murder in the April 3rd killing of Obumseli, who was fatally stabbed inside One Paraiso in Edgewater.
Prieto released the following statement on Wednesday:
"We are completely shocked at Courtney's arrest based upon the clear evidence of self-defense in this matter. Obumseli attacked her and choked her that evening; Courtney had no choice but to meet force with force. Further, we are disappointed that the State Attorney sought an arrest warrant in this matter; we have cooperated with the investigation from the beginning with both the State and the City of Miami Police Department. We have always offered to self-surrender if charges were filed in an effort to begin the legal process of clearing her of the charges."
"Courtney was seeking treatment for her PTSD and related issues to this case and it is an absolute injustice to charge a victim of domestic violence and human trafficking with a crime; Courtney was clearly defending herself. We will vigorously defend Courtney and clear her of this unfounded and baseless charge."
In a previous, Clenney's attorney said, "This was not a crime. Courtney is innocent, she acted in self-defense and there should be no files charged in this case. We're confident when the state attorney takes their final review along with the City of Miami police department, they'll find that there's no case here."
Obumseli's family said that he was a soft-spoken man and the idea that this was warranted is unthinkable.
"We have no cause to believe that this was a case of self-defense. Toby was raised with a, by a very strong family with strong morals, strong values, he does not come from that," said Karen Egbuna, a cousin of Obumseli.
Prieto said Clenney kicked Obumseli out of the apartment she was renting in Edgewater a week prior to his death because of domestic abuse allegations.
These allegations Clenney made against Obumseli, her lawyer said, led to his death.
Miami police said they were called to the condo to investigate a domestic violence call. There they found Obumseli suffering from a knife wound. He died while being transported to a hospital.
Prieto said the two were together for about two years and their relationship was complicated.
"It was clearly a toxic relationship, (they) had their ups and downs and, unfortunately, it culminated with his death," he said.
Prieto said Clenney was actively seeking professional help to process the trauma experienced on the night of the stabbing.
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