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LIFE OF HARD WORK ENDS IN ONE BRUTAL INSTANT

A woman's tumultuous relationship with the father of her twins had her seeking help. Now, four kids are motherless. Her boyfriend is in jail.

Some looked at SaQuanda Tamika Simon and saw a success story.

At 30, she was a widow and a single mother of four who put herself through nursing school, accepted Jesus as her savior, landed a job at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and planned to get a master's degree.

A bullet ended those dreams this week. Deputies think they know who fired it.

His name was Cedrick Bontray Salter, 28, a local DJ who goes by the name Woogie and Woogieman.

On Wednesday evening, after 22 hours on the loose, Salter turned himself in to authorities. He was charged with first degree murder and armed burglary.

WFLA Ch-8 reported that as Salter was being led to jail after questioning, a reporter asked if he regretted what he did, and he replied, "Yes. Yes. I do.''

Salter is the father of Mrs. Simon's 18-month-old twins, but it would be a stretch to call them a devoted couple. Simon thought he cheated on her. And she told authorities he had once threatened to kill her.

Now deputies say he showed up at her home on Tuesday night and pointed a gun at her during an argument over why she hadn't returned his phone calls.

When Mrs. Simon fell from a bullet wound to her upper body, the daughter she was holding fell with her. At 9:15 p.m., Cy'Necia Gail Salter became motherless in her mother's arms - too young to know that everything about her life had changed.

A dead mother. A father in jail. A twin brother and two older sisters, ages 10 and 7, all in the house when it happened.

"If I could see him today," Simon's aunt, Deborah Jackson, 40, said, "I'd shoot him myself."

- - -

Lindoria Farris, 27, shook her head as she talked about her big sister outside the house where she'd died hours earlier. Farris said she thought Mrs. Simon and Salter had been dating four or five years. "Off and on," she said.

Salter DJed at parties and clubs like Tampa Live and maybe they met that way.

But Mrs. Simon was kind of private, brother Robert Carr, 22, joined in: "She didn't really let us into her business."

On March 2, Mrs. Simon told the court her story in a written application for a domestic violence injunction against Salter.

She wrote that on March 1, the two broke up "due to Cedrick's involvement with other women."

Afterward, Salter called her cell phone repeatedly and sent her text messages. Mrs. Simon changed her phone number.

"Cedrick became enraged, arrived at my house and took my phone," she wrote.

They struggled over the phone and fell into his blue Buick. He drove away with her, she wrote, and threatened to take her to Lakeland and "stab you in the neck with a screwdriver."

When Salter stopped at Interstate 4 and McIntosh Road, Mrs. Simon said, she kicked at the door until she could get out.

Later that day, an arrest report states, Salter showed up at Mrs. Simon's workplace and told her co-workers she needed to drop the charges or he would kill her.

And at her home that evening, Mrs. Simon heard gunshots.

"I know you heard me shooting and knocking on your window," he told her in a phone call later, according to the report.

Hillsborough Deputy J. Lafayette took three 9 mm Luger shell casings into evidence.

"If she doesn't drop the charges," Lafayette wrote, summarizing Simon's complaint, "he will continue to follow her around until he is able to kill her."

Salter was arrested on March 11, charged with kidnapping, aggravated stalking, grand theft third degree and domestic violence battery. He was released the same day on $1,000 bail.

Five days after that, a judge dismissed Mrs. Simon's temporary injunction against Salter for a reason not at all uncommon in cases of domestic violence:

Mrs. Simon didn't show up in court. "That's my babies' daddy," Farris remembers her saying.

- - -

Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said Tuesday's attack started the same way:

Salter called Mrs. Simon repeatedly that day. She was visiting with family and didn't answer.

Salter broke into her home, 5709 E 30th Ave., through the laundry room and confronted her, investigators said.

The two argued, then walked to the bedroom, where the argument continued. Family said two shots rang out at 9:15 p.m.

Mrs. Simon died. Salter fled.

- - -

Mrs. Simon, who family called "Mika," took school seriously.

She became a licensed practical nurse in 2005, two years after her husband, Roger Lamont Simon, died at 23. Family said he suffered from sickle cell anemia.

When Mrs. Simon enrolled at Galen College of Nursing in 2006 to become a registered nurse, she impressed her instructors, earning top grades.

"That's hard to do here," assistant dean Bobbi Martin said.

Despite the odds against her as a single mother, Mrs. Simon passed her RN boards the first time around.

"She comes into that category of the student that typically struggles because of her lifestyle," Martin said. "To do as well as she did is an exception to the rule."

Mrs. Simon's co-workers at Moffitt Cancer Center, where she'd started working June 1, were grieving her death Wednesday.

Mrs. Simon worked 12 hour weekend shifts there, 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. She hoped to finally get a master's degree.

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When the Rev. A. Fitzgerald Hall thinks of Mrs. Simon, he recalls her standing in the back of church after services holding two "big baskets" in her arms - a carrier for each of the twins.

The Brandon High School graduate grew up in the New St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church. As a child, she attended Sunday school every week.

But as an adult, it got harder.

A few months after Hall became pastor of St. Matthew in late 2006, he invited those who wanted to accept Jesus into their lives to meet him at the altar.

He remembers Mrs. Simon making her way to the front. And that, he said, is the only good in Simon's death.

"She died in the Lord," he said. "She died knowing the Lord."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

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