CLEARWATER — It was a dream start to a Sunday for Kyle Peter and Sidney Green.
The Clearwater couple, both 22, spent the morning in Tampa having breakfast before heading to the JCPenney at Tyrone Square Mall to have professional photos taken.
The couple returned to Green’s apartment to take a nap before Peter’s mom was scheduled to pick them up and take them to dinner at a hot pot restaurant.
Instead of waking to their phone alarms, however, Peter says he was jolted awake about 7 p.m. by yelling and punches to his face from his girlfriend’s father, Laurence Green.
A fight erupted and soon spilled into the Bay Cove apartment complex’s parking lot, at 19135 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater.
Amid a struggle between Peter and Laurence Green, Clearwater police say, Sidney Green was fatally stabbed by her father after she placed herself between the two men. Despite resuscitation efforts from neighbors and first responders, she died Sunday night at Morton Plant Hospital.
“She was talking about marriage and about having kids together that very day,” said Peter, who had dated Sidney Green since they were both seniors at Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy in 2018. “None of it makes any sense. There was no reason for this to happen.”
Laurence Green, 51, was taken into custody on a charge of manslaughter. He remained at the Pinellas County Jail on Friday in lieu of $20,000 bail. He has pleaded not guilty.
Peter said he and Laurence Green did not get along, but he never understood why. Despite disagreements in the past, Peter said, the two regularly had civil conversations when he visited the apartment that the father shared with his daughter.
Things turned sour on Sunday, however. Peter said he and Sidney Green were able to evade her father inside her room and escape to the parking lot in an effort to leave. The situation escalated there, however, after one of Sidney Green’s sisters pulled the hair of Peter’s mother, who had just arrived at the complex to pick the couple up.
Peter reacted by throwing a brick at the sister’s car, he said Friday. That’s when Laurence Green confronted him a second time and punches were thrown between the two men.
This is when police say Sidney Green got between her father and boyfriend to try to break up the fight. Instead, she was stabbed in her lower left abdomen, according to a witness. Police later determined it was Laurence Green who held the knife.
“I never saw the knife once,” Peter said. “The fighting stopped and she looked at me and said, ‘Babe, I think someone punched me in the stomach.’ It turns out she was stabbed, but I had no clue. She said she was about to faint but I didn’t understand why.”
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Bay Cove resident Joseph Leone was walking to his car with his wife when they heard cries for help from Laurence Green on Sunday evening. Leone’s wife, a certified nursing assistant trainee, sprinted toward the father and daughter while he followed behind. They arrived to see Laurence Green crying and screaming over his daughter, who was bleeding on the ground.
Leone says his wife gave Sidney Green mouth-to-mouth while he performed chest compressions. He says the 22-year-old briefly regained consciousness before first responders took her to the hospital.
“He was begging for help to save her and for his daughter not to die,” Leone said of Laurence Green. “He was screaming for her to stay alive.”
Police arrived and handcuffed both Peter and Laurence Green. After collecting fingerprints from both men and samples from under their fingernails, Peter said, police released him from custody about 5 a.m. Monday.
Peter said he found out his girlfriend died in the middle of the night. He was in a holding cell next to Laurence Green, who became hysterical at one point and began screaming that Peter killed his daughter.
“Nobody came and told me anything about Sidney’s condition,” Peter said. “I just heard her dad screaming. And when an officer came to ask me how I was doing hours later, I didn’t answer. I just asked if Sidney was okay and the officer put her head down and said she didn’t make it.”
Nyjah Paolucci, 22, said she knows Laurence Green did not stab his daughter on purpose. She said she was Sidney Green’s best friend and observed for years how the two had a loving relationship. In the days since the stabbing, however, she still ponders: “Why even pull out a knife?”
Laurence Green wrote a birthday post to Sidney Green on Facebook in February. It read, in part: “For the last 22 years of my life you have been my energy, my fire, my challenge, my anger, my resolve, my heart, my fury, my love, my baby girl, my daughter.” Sidney Green replied in the comments that she loved him. The post has since been removed from his Facebook, however.
Peter said Friday that he has felt helpless since his girlfriend’s death. He spends almost all day on his couch, wondering about the thousands of “what ifs” — both about Sunday’s fight and his future with Sidney Green. They planned to get married, he said, and were saving money to take a trip to his native Saint Lucia in the Caribbean Sea this December.
“I don’t know what to do with myself now,” said Peter. “Everything I did was with her. What I eat, what I watch, where I go — it’s all going to change for the worse now.”