DADE CITY — Police who arrested a Dade City man accused of shooting a bicyclist from behind got some help from an unusual source — the suspect's mother.
While police interviewed the sister of William Lee Chamblee, 32, Wednesday night, Chamblee's mother brought him into the station for booking, police Capt. David Duff said. Chamblee confessed to detectives that he was the one who killed Charles Andrew Simonds, 37, Duff said.
"The best guess I can come up with is she said, 'Get your ass in the car and let's go,' " Duff said. "I don't know what she said to get him here, but it worked."
Duff said police had enough information to arrest Chamblee on a charge of second-degree murder. Simonds, who had been shot four times, was found dead alongside 21st Street and Main Avenue late Sunday.
"I think he knew the gig was up," Duff said about Chamblee.
Chamblee's mother, Caroline, said she felt "rotten" and did not wish to speak about the incident.
Dade City police did not release a motive Thursday, but said Simonds was dating Chamblee's estranged wife, Stormy Messenger, 30.
Messenger could not be reached Thursday. Neither could members of Simonds' family.
Public records paint a rocky picture of Messenger and Chamblee's marriage.
In March, Messenger told Chamblee that she wished to end the relationship, according to a Pasco Sheriff's Office report.
An argument ensued, the two went for a ride and Chamblee refused to let her out of his car, Messenger told deputies. She said he threatened to run her over if she escaped.
Three weeks later, Messenger filed for a temporary injunction against Chamblee. It was eventually dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
In February 2008, Caroline Chamblee called Pasco deputies to report a domestic dispute at Messenger and Chamblee's Dade City home.
Caroline Chamblee told deputies at the time she was concerned for her 4- and 5-year-old grandchildren. She said Messenger had a medical problem and would occasionally overdose on her medications, rendering her unable to take care of the children.
According to the report, Messenger and Chamblee's trailer was "dirty, in complete disarray, with a bad odor." Trash was everywhere. The children wore dirty clothes and no shoes.
Messenger told deputies she was on medications. She said Chamblee had punched her in the left ear, according to the report.
A doctor said Messenger would probably not be able to hear out of the ear again.
Chamblee was charged with domestic battery. A few days later, Messenger decided not to pursue the charges and said she did not remember the incident.
That February, deputies contacted the department's child protection investigation unit and recommended the family situation be evaluated "to ascertain if the childrens' well-being is safe, healthy, and positive."
It was not clear Thursday whether the evaluation occurred, or where the children were when their father allegedly shot Simonds as he rode his bike.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Helen Anne Travis can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 435-7312.