South Florida man charged with killing his girlfriend, saying she took her own life

MARATHON, Florida. – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a 39-year-old man who they believe fatally shot his girlfriend, then told authorities she committed suicide.

Sean Booth Chidester of Marathon was arrested on Saturday for murder.

“Fortunately, there are few murders in the Florida Keys, but when they do happen, the sheriff’s office always works aggressively and vigilantly to solve them as quickly as possible,” Sheriff Rick Ramsay said. “I want to thank my staff, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office for their diligent work in resolving this sad case.”

According to Adam Linhardt, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, deputies were called to a house in the 1000 block of Sylvia Avenue in Marathon on July 14 in relation to a suspected suicide.

Linhardt said Chidester’s girlfriend, Daniela Blackburn, 38, was found dead inside the house. She had been shot in the head with a handgun.

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Authorities say Chidester told deputies that Blackburn killed herself while in another room.

The 9mm handgun used in the shooting was found inside the home, Linhardt said.

He said the medical examiner later determined the injury was not consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Blackburn also had no history of mental illness or suicidal tendencies, detectives said.

The motive for the murder remains unclear.

Chidester is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

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