A 15-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder for shooting dead his mother’s boyfriend, after he threatened to ‘torment her until she committed suicide’.
The incident happened early Wednesday morning at the home Jessica Whidden, her son Michael and her boyfriend Paul Gregg Jr. share in Mulberry, Florida. Whidden had apparently not been staying at the home for several nights because of her recent fights with Gregg. But she came home Tuesday to get ready for a dinner with friends. Before she came home, Michael warned Gregg against starting anything with his mom. Nevertheless, the two did get into an argument, with Gregg accusing Whidden – who police say has another boyfriend – of lying. Whidden left, but when she returned the two went at it again. This time Gregg Jr. got a steak knife from the kitchen and approached the bathroom where his girlfriend was. He allegedly started screaming that ‘he wished he could kill her and that he would torment her until she committed suicide’. At that point, Michael blocked Gregg Jr from entering the bathroom. He says that the boyfriend was waving the knife and pointing it at his mother at times, but that he eventually walked away. Nonetheless, Michael went to his room and fetched a 12-gauge shotgun and came back out to point it at Gregg Jr., who was then sitting on the couch. He says Gregg Jr. then got up and started walking to the bedroom where more guns were stored. Michael shot him as he neared the closet.
At one point during the fight, the Whiddens say that Gregg Jr. got a knife and started waving it at his girlfriend
After Gregg. Jr got the steak knife, Michael went to his room and got a shotgun and eventually shot his mother’s boyfriend
After the incident, Michael and his mom went to a nearby church and called authorities.
Michael told responding officers that ‘he had enough’ and was afraid that if he didn’t do something, Gregg Jr. might hurt his mom. Jessica Whidden told police that her boyfriend had been abusive before, but that she had never reported the violence. She also said that her son had stepped in to defend her in these past incidents.
Michael was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder. It’s still unclear whether he will be tried as an adult or as a minor.
Family members told The Ledger that Whidden and her boyfriend were heavy drinkers and argued often. Whidden has a prior arrest for driving with a suspended license and her boyfriend had arrests for battery and drunken driving. Michael had no arrest history.
‘It’s just a red-hot mess,’ Polk County Sheriff Gracy Judd said. ‘We got a man who was drunk. A girlfriend he’s lived with for five years. We got a kid in the middle of this manure pile, and we’re trying to sort it out.’