HILO, Hawaii — Prosecutors in South Florida announced a second-degree murder charge Thursday against social media model Courtney Clenney in connection with the fatal stabbing of her live-in boyfriend.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced the charge against the 26-year-old model during a news conference. Clenney was arrested Wednesday in Hawaii. Fernandez Rundle said Clenney, who goes by the name Courtney Tailor on such platforms as Instagram and OnlyFans, remained jailed in Hawaii while authorities seek her extradition to Florida.
She appeared in a courtroom on Hawaii's Big Island Thursday, where she waived her right to an extradition hearing and agreed to return to Florida.
Judge Henry Nakamoto ordered her held without bail pending extradition.
Fernandez Rundle characterized Christian Obumseli's April 3 death at the couple's Miami apartment as the culmination of a “tempestuous and combative relationship” that began in November 2020. The county medical examiner said in an autopsy report that Obumseli, who worked in cryptocurrency, died from a forceful downward thrust from a blade that went 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) into his chest, piercing a major artery.
According to an arrest report, Clenney acknowledged killing Obumseli but said she acted in self-defense. She said Obumseli had pushed her and thrown her to the floor, which prompted her to grab a knife and throw it at Obumseli from about 10 feet (3 meters) away. The medical examiner said Obumseli's wound could not have been caused by a knife thrown from that distance.
Clenney's Miami defense lawyer, Frank Prieto, said the medical examiner's opinions won't stand up to scientific scrutiny when they argue self-defense at trial. He acknowledged that Clenney and Obumseli had a tumultuous relationship but said Obumseli was the primary aggressor.
“Obumseli was the abuser, the worst kind of abuser,” Prieto said in a statement. “He would manipulate and abuse Courtney in private when he thought nobody was around.”
Hawaii County police said in a statement they assisted the U.S. Marshals Service as they arrested the 26-year-old on Wednesday in Laupahoehoe, which is on the Big Island. Officers used an arrest warrant issued by Miami-Dade County, Florida.
"We are completely shocked at Courtney's arrest based upon the clear evidence of self-defense in this matter. Obumseli attacked her and choked her that evening; Courtney had no choice but to meet force with force," Prieto said in a statement to CBS Miami on Wednesday.
Prieto told the news outlet the couple was together for about two years and had a complicated relationship.
"It was clearly a toxic relationship, (they) had their ups and downs and, unfortunately, it culminated with his death," he told CBS Miami.
He went on to say that Clenney was in rehabilitation in Hawaii for substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder "and related issues to this case."
“I’m completely shocked, especially since we were cooperating with the investigation and offered to voluntarily surrender her if she were charged,” Prieto said. “We look forward to clearing her name in court.”
10 Tampa Bay's Andrea Chu contributed to this report.