Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Public safety

Second arrest made in December death of 18-year-old Brooksville woman

BROOKSVILLE — Six months ago, when Byron Boutin was charged in the murder of 18-year-old DeAnna Lee Stires, he told authorities his girlfriend had a hand in the killing.

Now that woman has been charged.

Crystal Michelle Brinson, 36, was booked into the Citrus County Detention Center on Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder.

Brinson, a Brooksville resident, was already in the Hernando County Detention Center serving a year sentence for unrelated crimes.

"It will never bring DeAnna back, but this is the best thing that could have happened," said Stires' mother, Melba Miller.

Stires lived in Brooksville with her father, and her family reported her missing on New Year's Day. Eighteen days later, a hunter found her body in a wooded area of Levy County, wrapped in sheer fabric and bound.

Brinson's arrest report does not include details, and no other information was available Wednesday, but an affidavit released in January when Boutin was charged with second-degree murder offers insight into Brinson's alleged role.

An informant told investigators that Stires spent several days partying and doing drugs at homes in Hernando and Citrus, including Boutin's mobile home in Homosassa. The man said he last saw Stires alive in Brooksville on Christmas Eve with Boutin and Brinson.

Detectives searched Boutin's trailer on Jan. 18, the same day Stires' body was discovered. Investigators found blood throughout the home and in the trunk of his Lincoln Town Car. They also found a .38-caliber pistol with long strands of human hair lodged in the barrel and slide.

Boutin, 42, initially told detectives that he and Brinson brought Stires back to his house and Stires left after staying for a day. After detectives confirmed that the blood they found was Stires', he gave this account:

After arriving in Homosassa, the trio continued to do drugs at his trailer. Christmas evening, Boutin and Brinson left Stires alone for about an hour. They returned to find the trailer ransacked and Stires "acting crazy."

Boutin said Stires calmed down, but then the couple confronted her about a missing pipe and bag of methamphetamine. Brinson started to question Stires, but the conversation was calm, Boutin said.

Brinson then injected Stires with what Boutin believed to be morphine. The injection, he said, seemed consensual. A few minutes later, Boutin said, Stires started "flipping out," screaming in fear that Brinson was going to hurt her. Brinson struck Stires several times on the back of the head with the pistol, knocking her unconscious.

The couple put Stires in the back seat of Boutin's car and drove her to his father's house northwest of Brooksville. Boutin said Stires was snoring when they pulled her from the car.

Worried she would wake up and "freak out," Boutin said, the couple bound her hands behind her back with duct tape, stuffed a rag in her mouth and wrapped tape over the rag. They left, returned an hour later and found her dead.

Boutin said he and Brinson put Stires in the trunk of the Lincoln. On Dec. 27, Boutin drove north for about an hour, turned onto State Road 24 and dumped the body.

State records show Brinson has prior convictions for driving under the influence, grand theft and battery. Boutin is due in court today for a status hearing.

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