The suit, which was filed on November 17, alleges that Chronister – and even his predecessor David Gee – responded with indifference and negligence to domestic violence claims and their need for warrants for arrests. The suit claims that poor record-keeping and a seemingly unserious approach to apprehending domestically violent persons resulted in the death of Co-Plaintiff Douglas Bauer’s ex-wife, Kelly Garrison. Bauer’s eldest daughter is also listed as a Co-Plaintiff in the case.

2018 Murder-Suicide Case Results In Lawsuit Blaming Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL. – A widely reported murder-suicide that occurred over three years ago is coming back to life through a lawsuit filed against Hillsborough County Sheriff, Chad Chronister.

The suit, which was filed on November 17, alleges that Chronister – and even his predecessor David Gee – responded with indifference and negligence to domestic violence claims and their need for warrants for arrests.

The suit claims that poor record-keeping and a seemingly unserious approach to apprehending domestically violent persons resulted in the death of Co-Plaintiff Douglas Bauer’s ex-wife, Kelly Garrison. Bauer’s eldest daughter is also listed as a Co-Plaintiff in the case.

Garrison was an elementary school teacher at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS in Tampa. In early 2018, she took leave from her position to flea her latest ex-husband, Kelley McDonald, out of fear.

On December 30, 2017, McDonald had attempted to strangle Garrison at her new apartment after their recent divorce, but he fled when a neighbor intervened.

A Hillsborough County circuit court ordered that McDonald stay 300 feet away from Garrison and surrender all of his firearms. This order followed a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence filed by Garrison three days after McDonald attempted to strangle her. In it, Garrison described McDonald as diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. She recounted numerous incidents of stalking, harassment, threats, and mind-gaming that occurred before and after their divorce.

In a Family Law Financial Affidavit pertaining to Garrison’s 2017 divorce from McDonald, he was listed as a logistics planner with Cola-Cola Beverage on Princess Palm Avenue in Tampa. But in Garrison’s 2018 petition for protection, he was listed as “homeless” and most recently employed as an Uber driver.

On April 5, 2018, Garrison, along with her two daughters, was hiding out at her sister’s house in Dahlonega, Georgia when McDonald found them. He shot and murdered Garrison as her daughters watched, concurrently killed her sister, permanently maimed Plaintiff Bauer’s eldest daughter with a shot to her face, and partially orphaned Bauer’s youngest daughter.

McDonald ended his own life after he instigated the bloodbath. He was still roaming free at that time, despite a four-month-old warrant for his arrest filed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It was filed five days after Garrison submitted a domestic petition for protection due to McDonald’s attempt to strangle her.

The lawsuit expresses dissatisfaction with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, stating, “…it was HCSO’s official custom and/or policy to subordinate – if not outright ignore -the need to protect victims of domestic violence such as Garrison from offenders at large like McDonald; a policy and/or custom that had been in effect for years before the December 2017 attack.”

The lawsuit proceeds to accuse Chronister and former Sheriff David Gee as policymakers that “purposely and repeatedly failed to create and maintain proper records regarding wanted subjects involving domestic violence, which allowed many dangerous individuals to evade detection and capture over the years…rather than correcting the record keeping problem, HCSO went further and at times admonished and/or threatened employees who expressed their concerns.”

The lawsuit further alleges that during Garrison’s almost deadly encounter with McDonald in December 2017, the “HCSO failed to establish up a reasonable perimeter and/or utilize K-9 and/or helicopter support to search for and apprehend McDonald before he was able to get away…Similarly, HCSO failed to activate the Crime Scene Unit and/or notify any Detective from District #3 and/or the Violent Crimes Section.”

The lawsuit also contends that HCSO should have obtained an arrest warrant for McDonald more quickly than in five days following the December 2017 strangling incident because it involved an alleged crime punishable by life in prison. Even with an arrest warrant in hand, the lawsuit claims that on February 16, McDonald was seen outside Garrison’s school of employment – where her youngest daughter attended daycare – yet when notified, HCSO did not respond with additional, reasonable and timely action to find McDonald.

However, it is not clear from the lawsuit what HCSO did do during this incident.

Jordan Redavid of the law firm Fischer Redavid located in Hollywood, Florida represents the plaintiffs in the case.

He responded to an inquiry by The Free Press stating that he could not directly address questions, but wrote, “I am confident in my clients’ case and hopeful that, through the discovery and trial process, the truth will come to light. My sincerest hope is that our legal system, which has previously failed my clients, will now find a way to deliver them whatever semblance of justice it can in a tragic case such as this.”

Redavid is demanding a trial by jury.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office does not comment on pending litigation.

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One Reply to “2018 Murder-Suicide Case Results In Lawsuit Blaming Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office”

  1. Does anyone read and edit your articles for spelling and grammar?
    There are some embarrassing errors, clumsy verbage, and awkward syntax in this article.

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