The attorney for a social media model charged with murdering her boyfriend in their luxury Miami apartment is speaking out, calling it a clear case of self-defense and saying he expects she'll be exonerated at trial.
Courtney Clenney, 26, was arrested in Hawaii Wednesday and is expected to be extradited to Miami-Dade to face a second-degree murder charge in the April 3 killing of 27-year-old Christian Toby Obumseli.
At a news conference Thursday, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle outlined the charges against Clenney, who went by the name Courtney Tailor on social media including OnlyFans and Instagram, where she has more than 2 million followers.
Fernandez Rundle said Clenney and Obumseli had been "involved in an extremely tempestuous and combative relationship" since November 2020, and that Obumseli was a victim of domestic violence.
But in a lengthy statement, Clenney's attorney, Frank Prieto, said she was the victim of abuse.
"Obumseli was the abuser, the worst kind of abuser. He would manipulate and abuse Courtney in private when he thought nobody was around," Prieto's statement read. "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 two had moved to South Florida from Texas in January 2022 and took up residence in the luxury One Paraiso condo building in Edgewater.
Shortly after they moved in, security and building staff began documenting several incidents of loud arguments between the couple, with other tenants complaining about the noises, including some two floors above them, Fernandez Rundle said.
Fernandez Rundle showed surveillance footage of the couple engaged in a violent encounter in the building's elevator on Feb. 21, about a month after they moved in.
"It certainly appears that the defendant was aggressively attacking Christian," Fernandez Rundle said.
But Prieto said the video doesn't depict the events leading up to what happened in the elevator.
"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," his statement said.
Prieto said an initial investigation by Miami Police "uncovered an independent witness who saw Obumseli hitting Courtney in the head while he thought he was in the privacy of Courtney’s apartment."
A former neighbor of the couple gave NBC 6 a video he said shows Clenney and Obumseli in a heated in exchange that also happened in February.
The video doesn't have sound but the ex-neighbor, who didn;t want his name used, said it was intense.
"We just started hearing them arguing and it started real quick and she was being a little aggressive, trying to jump in the water," he said. "It was shocking because you know a lot of couples argue, a lot of couple do things and get into it but not physical like that."
The couple had apparently broken up the last week of March, when Clenney kicked Obumseli out of the apartment they shared at the Miami high-rise, prosecutors said.
But the two rekindled their relationship and Obumseli moved back in on April 1, two days before the killing, Fernandez Rundle said.
Almost immediately there were more arguments, leading to police responding to their apartment that same day, April 1, Fernandez Rundle said.
The fighting came to an end the afternoon of April 3, when Clenney called 911 to report that Obumseli had been stabbed and needed help. He later died from his injury.
Fernandez Rundle said Clenney admitted to police to having caused the three-inch stab wound to Obumseli's chest, but gave inconsistent accounts about the incident.
Clenney told investigators that Obumseli shoved her against a wall by her neck, then threw her to the ground and when he allowed her to get up, she grabbed a knife from a kitchen, Fernandez Rundle said.
She said that as Obumseli started coming toward her, she threw the knife at him from about 10 feet, Fernandez Rundle said.
But the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner determined that the knife came at a downward angle, and said that throwing it wouldn't have caused the fatal wound, Fernandez Rundle said.
In his statement, Prieto said the medical examiner "has formulated conclusory opinions that will not stand up to scientific scrutiny," and said the arrest warrant "contains deceptive and incomplete statements."
Prieto said it's a self-defense case and a trial will prove it.
"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," Prieto said. "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."