A Bradenton woman accused of killing her boyfriend had been charged in March with stabbing the man on several occasions, but prosecutors declined to pursue the case. A judge also declined Anthony Bernard Wilson’s request for a protective order against the woman, despite her telling him: “I’m gonna kill you.”
Less than five months later, Wilson is dead and the woman, Roberta Gail McDonald, has been charged with murder after police found his body at his East Bradenton apartment.
Wilson was stabbed several times to death, an autopsy determined.
McDonald was arrested Monday afternoon, hours after Wilson was found dead in the Treesdale Apartment complex in the 1800 block of Martin Luther King Jr. where he lived.
“She did admit to it. She claimed it was self-defense but there have been several versions of the events that have come out,” Assistant State Attorney Suzanne O’Donnell said in court on Tuesday afternoon.
McDonald made her first appearance before Circuit Judge Teri Dees, who set her bond at $300,000 as requested by the prosecutor.
Assistant Public Defender Destiny Prater argued that McDonald claims to have killed Wilson in self-defense and has been cooperative with police. O’Donnell disputed that, explaining how the victim had been left dead inside the apartment since Friday or Saturday morning, and how she has given detectives various accounts of what led to the stabbing.
At about 9 a.m. Saturday, McDonald flagged an unnamed woman down near the Cummings Mini Mart and asked for a ride. McDonald told the woman “she needed someone to talk to” during the ride, police said she later told them.
McDonald told the woman that she had gotten into an argument with her boyfriend, and that when he hit her on the head, she responded by stabbing him, the woman told police. McDonald showed her where he lived and pointed out that his car had been moved.
McDonald also told the woman that Wilson had defecated and that she had left him laying on the ground and that he was cold to the touch but still had a pulse, according to police.
About 11:30 a.m. Monday, the woman approached a maintenance man in the Treesdale apartment complex and asked if the resident in Wilson’s apartment was OK, according to the affidavit. The maintenance man told the woman that he didn’t know but when he asked her why, she told him that her friend had stabbed the victim.
The maintenance man told his supervisor and Bradenton police were called to the scene. Police were let into the apartment and found Wilson dead on the floor in a bedroom.
Police said they found McDonald after developing her as a suspect and brought her into headquarters for questioning, during which she admitted to stabbing Wilson.
She gave differing accounts of what led to the stabbing, according to police.
The two had been drinking and smoking crack when Wilson got upset because they ran out of crack, McDonald told detectives.
According to her first account, he hit her over the head with a piece of wood and she responded by stabbing him once. In her second account, McDonald claimed that he was hitting himself, not her. McDonald reverted to claiming Wilson hit her with the wood in a third account, that a struggle ensued and she snatched a knife from him and stabbed him with it.
McDonald also claimed that Wilson told her he was OK and was adamant he didn’t need to go to a hospital. Police said she then showered before running out in fear and “leaving him at the scene to die.”
Police in March said McDonald had stabbed Wilson four times before he called police to report the domestic violence, according to Manatee County court records. She had also thrown a VCR at him once.
When the woman held a knife to his neck and told him “I’m gonna kill you” and “I’m gonna get you,” he was frightened enough to call police, according to an arrest report.
McDonald was charged in March with four counts of aggravated domestic battery with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated domestic battery and one count of aggravated domestic battery.
The state attorney’s office declined to file formal charges against McDonald, however, and the case was dismissed.
Wilson also petitioned the court for a protective injunction for repeated violence but was denied by Circuit Judge Susan Maulucci.
According to probable cause affidavit for McDonald’s March 18 arrest, Wilson had been afraid to report the abuse before because he worked for the U.S. Postal Service and thought it could jeopardize his job. At the time, he told police that theirs was a “friends with benefits” relationship. However, McDonald told police that she been living with him for seven to eight months.
The most recent time McDonald had stabbed him was about nine days before the March 18 arrest, according to the affidavit. Wilson told police that McDonald stabbed him three times in the lower left arm with a steak knife because she was upset that he had taken too long to get home from work.
She later threatened to kill him, police said.
The prior three stabbings had also occurred within about three months of McDonald’s March 18 arrest, according to Wilson. He showed police each of the wounds and officers noted that the wounds, including their stages of healing, seemed consistent with his account.
Each time, McDonald stabbed him with a steak knife she was known to carry, according to police. During at least three of the four stabbings, she was reported to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, police said.
Wilson also had a scar consistent with his report that she threw a VCR at him, hitting him in the face.
McDonald’s criminal history include more than a dozen arrests, including for charges of throwing a deadly missile into a vehicle, possession of cocaine, possession of crack cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and trespassing.
Anyone with information on this case can call Bradenton Police Detective Andy Perez at 941-932-9322. Tips can also be submitted to Bradenton police by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $3,000, tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or online at manateecrimestoppers.com.