PLANT CITY — Before police found the young woman's body, before they saw her stab wounds and found the little girl sleeping nearby, they talked to David Coleman, 23.
It was early Monday, and he was at his mother's house. He said he had just gotten in a fight with his children's mother. The pair argued over a child custody issue, he said.
His recollections of the fight, shared with a Hillsborough deputy a short time later, are included in a search warrant affidavit filed Monday afternoon in court.
According to Coleman, at some point during the fight, the children's mother, Tiffany April Lamar, 24, grabbed a butcher's knife. She went after Coleman with it, he said, saying: "I'm gonna … kill you tonight."
Coleman took the knife away from her.
What happened to the knife? the deputy asked. Coleman did not answer.
Did he strike Lamar with it? "Yes," he answered, according to the affidavit.
Is Lamar okay? "No," Coleman replied.
About 3:30 a.m., Plant City police officers forced their way into Lamar's home at the Woodbridge Apartments. She was already dead. She had multiple stab wounds, the affidavit states.
A young girl, unharmed, was sleeping in a nearby bedroom.
Police spent Monday morning investigating Lamar's death and questioning Coleman. At 2:30 p.m., authorities announced they were charging him with second-degree murder.
They said that after the pair's fight, Coleman left the apartment with twin children and went to his mother's house in eastern Hillsborough County. About 3:20 a.m., she called deputies.
Her son had stabbed his girlfriend, she said, according to the affidavit, and his hand was bleeding.
The child who was found inside the apartment, along with the twins, are in protective custody through the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Coleman was taken to the Orient Road Jail.
And though the search warrant explains Lamar's injuries, police declined to talk about them. They wanted to wait until her autopsy was complete, said Sgt. Tray Towles.
This is Coleman's 13th arrest in Florida, according to state records. His first was at age 13, when he was charged with possession a gun on school grounds, a felony.
He has also been charged multiple times with carrying a concealed firearm. A 2009 charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was dropped.
He spent nearly two years in prison starting in November 2011 for grand theft motor vehicle and leaving a crash with injuries.
He has a tattoo on his left arm, according to prison records. It's the slain woman's name: Tiffany.
Times news researcher John Martin and staff writers Arielle Waldman and Claire Wiseman contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3433.