A man who told neighbors he accidentally shot a woman in the face at a mobile home park in east Orange County last month was indicted Wednesday on a first-degree murder charge, records show.
Jack Russell Mathis Jr., 34, faced a manslaughter charge in the death of Michelle Ennis, 44, before a grand jury voted to indict him on the murder charge, which carries the possibility of the death penalty.
In a report, a detective wrote that Mathis claimed he “didn’t mean to kill” Ennis, but the crime scene showed no evidence of a struggle and an autopsy determined that she was shot at point-blank range.
Deputies were called to the shooting about 4:15 p.m. June 29 at a mobile home community on Francois Street, just west of Bithlo.
There were no eyewitnesses to the killing, which happened inside a trailer.
But Mathis’ mother, Deborah Hamilton, told detectives her son had been at her home 10 minutes before the shooting — then called her on the phone, crying hysterically.
He told her Ennis “had a knife… and she was shot,” his mother told detectives.
Hamilton said she went to her son’s trailer to find him drinking liquor from a small bottle.
According to the report, two neighbors reported to detectives that Mathis told them the killing was an accident. One said Mathis routinely carried around a black .40 caliber handgun.
Mathis requested an attorney when approached by a detective seeking an interview but, as he was loaded into a patrol car later, blurted out, “I didn’t mean to kill her,” the report states.
According to the report, Ennis was found dead on the couch. An autopsy indicated the gun was so close to her face when it fired that it left an imprint of the muzzle on her skin, the report shows.
Mathis is being held without bond at the Orange County Jail.
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