PLANT CITY — It was just past midnight when the fight broke out between two men who had seen the same woman.
Her boyfriend was stabbed to death, police said. And it was her ex, authorities said, who confronted the two at her house early Thursday and pulled a knife out of his pocket.
The victim, Corey Sean Burdette, 20, of Tampa, had a "kindergarten crush" on her in elementary or middle school, said Burdette's brother Preston, 22. Now he was the woman's co-worker at a pizza place.
The suspect, Christopher Michael Henderson, 21, of Plant City had a "complicated" relationship with her, said Henderson's brother Andrew, 25.
"They were on and off for a long time" in high school, he said, but the last time they were "on" was a couple of months ago.
Henderson was being held in a Hillsborough County jail on a second-degree murder charge.
Police did not release the woman's name. A man who answered the door at her home Thursday said she declined comment.
Burdette was at the woman's house near the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club in Plant City, said police Capt. Jerry Stwan, when Henderson arrived around 12:30 a.m.
According to the arrest report, two witnesses saw Henderson pull a folded pocketknife from his pants pocket and stab Burdette in the chest.
Burdette was declared dead at the scene. Henderson was stopped in his car a few blocks away and arrested, Stwan said.
Burdette, Henderson and the woman knew each other from attending Plant City High School together, Burdette's brother Preston said.
Corey Burdette had graduated a couple of years ago, moving into his own apartment in Tampa and delivering pizzas to pay the bills, his brother said.
And even as that job was just keeping him afloat, Burdette still found a way to give the perfect Christmas gifts: a gold heart necklace for his mom and Skullcandy headphones for his brother.
"That might not sound like a lot," Preston Burdette said, "but it kind of just blew me away."
The brothers had hung out with the woman and a friend the day before the stabbing, Preston Burdette said, a "pajama party" to watch TV.
He wasn't there the night Corey died. But Preston Burdette said Henderson once pulled a knife on him, too, during a fight.
Henderson's mother had tears streaming down her cheeks when she came to the gate of her Plant City home.
"I'm sure this is a misunderstanding of some kind," she said before going back inside. "I don't understand it."
Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this story. Stephanie Wang can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.