Advertisement
  1. News

Hillsborough judge orders woman to reveal source in deputy's shooting

Hillsborough County sheriff’s Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux, second from left, gives her first media conference in 2011 after being shot three times — in the upper leg, lower leg and shoulder — while responding to a domestic violence call. She is flanked by her mother, Martha De Veaux, left, squad partner Deputy Joshua Lane and sister LeChelle De Veaux-Garnes.
Published Oct. 24, 2013

TAMPA — Two years ago, a former Marine accused of battering his girlfriend fired nearly a dozen bullets at the Hillsborough deputy sent to investigate.

Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux lived, and though authorities arrested Matthew Buendia and charged him with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, his girlfriend stood by his side. Jessica Gipson visited the defense attorney's office several times a week, providing information in Buendia's favor.

In October 2011, that ended. Jessica Gipson broke up with Buendia and the defense lost the cooperation of one of its best witnesses.

The reason? A U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent approached her with information that Buendia had an affair, defense attorney Mark O'Brien says she told him. She wouldn't say who that agent was.

Buendia, 26, says the alleged affair is a lie, according to O'Brien. They want to know more about this so-called agent. As far as they know, federal agents have not been investigating Buendia.

Was it someone trying to drive a wedge between witness and defense, the attorney wonders. Could it constitute witness tampering?

On Wednesday, O'Brien asked a judge to order Gipson to name the agent. And Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta did.

He denied Gipson's claim that the information was privileged — that she didn't have to share a name because she risked self-incrimination.

O'Brien hopes to schedule a deposition and have an answer in the upcoming week. He believes an answer will help in his preparation for the trial, scheduled to begin Dec. 2.

According to authorities, on Sept. 30, 2011, Buendia approached Deputy De Veaux outside his Carrollwood apartment complex as the deputy talked to Gipson about her domestic violence call.

Buendia pulled out a handgun and fired nine or 10 times at De Veaux, deputies say, from just a few feet away. Three bullets hit her — in the upper leg, lower leg and shoulder.

As she lay on the pavement, Buendia ran back into his apartment and locked himself inside. Within minutes, dozens of SWAT members and negotiators descended. A negotiator on a bullhorn told Buendia to surrender. Deputies threw chemical canisters into the apartment to force him outside.

They blew up the apartment door and sent in a robot with a camera.

It combed the apartment and sent an image of Buendia passed out in a closet. They arrested him and he has spent the last two years in solitary confinement, wearing a red uniform that denotes "high-risk" inmates.

His family and attorney have said Buendia suffers from PTSD after three military tours abroad, including one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.

On Wednesday, O'Brien said his client has also suffered from dissociative disorder and was having an episode when he shot at the deputy. Dissociative disorder was formerly known as "multiple personality disorder," and during dissociative fugue a person might not be aware of what he is doing — or might not remember the actions later.

O'Brien believes Gipson has good intentions and is perhaps being manipulated by someone else.

"I can understand why she's upset with Mr. Buendia," he said. But the information she was given was not done so in any official capacity, O'Brien claims. So why was it shared with her at all, he asked.

Two agencies with access to Buendia's letters or phone calls are the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which runs the county's jails.

O'Brien did not want to speculate if either agency was involved — or what their motives may be.

"I don't need to," he said. "I should know within the next week."

Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon said Wednesday the agency is aware of the legal proceedings and is "looking into the matter."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Former NFL running back Warrick Dunn spends time with new homeowner LaToya Reedy and her son, AnTrez, at 918 43rd St. S. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The retired Tampa Bay Buccaneer running back partnered with Habitat for Humanity and others to give a hardworking nursing assistant and her son the home of their dreams.
  2. Duke Energy Co. workers are competing in a line worker competition in Kansas this week. | [Courtesy of Duke Energy Florida] Duke Energy Florida
    Four Duke Energy Florida competitors are from Tampa Bay, as well as two coaches.
  3. An 18 month-old girl died after being left in a car Monday. No charges are expected, police say. WFTS  |  Courtesy of
    No charges are expected after 18 month-old girl was left in a Jeep as her father took a truck to work, police say.
  4. University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle pieces together a skull that might have been Amelia Earhart's. SANDRA C. ROA  |  University of South Florida
    DNA from a skull found in 1940 could prove whether the famous aviator has been found.
  5. Alexandra Toigo, 32 and Sabrina Pourghassem, 23, pose for a photo at Hofbrauhaus St. Petersburg holding their signature beer mugs during Oktoberfest 2018. "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The beer hall’s property owners filed a lawsuit saying the restaurant missed its rent starting in August.
  6. Port Tampa Bay on Tuesday agreed to sell a half-acre it owns near the Florida Aquarium for $4.7 million to Streams Capital of Tampa, which is looking at building a 33-story condominium and hotel tower. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times
    The buyer, Streams Capital of Tampa, is looking at building a 33-story tower with a hotel, condominiums and retail.
  7. Nearly a year after it was left abandoned and half-sunk off the Tampa side of the Howard Frankland Bridge, a salvage crew finally raised and towed the Moonraker II to the Courtney Campbell boat ramp. It is slated to be crushed. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The boat was an eyesore to those who live off Tampa Bay. Then it became a political statement. Now it’s been towed and will soon be crushed.
  8. Republican Sen. Joe Gruters said Florida consumers are required to pay the sales tax, but rarely do so if online sellers don't collect it.
    The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee unanimously approved the bill Tuesday.
  9. Stephanie Vold, a medical assistant and intake specialist for OnMed, holds the door while Austin White, president and CEO of the company, talks with a nurse practitioner during a demonstration of their new telehealth system at Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday. The hospital is the first to deploy the OnMed station and plans to install them at other locations. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The closet-size “office” with a life-size screen is another example of the changing face of medicine.
  10. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement