Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bradenton, FL: Man charged with killing girlfriend in Bradenton

MANATEE -- Cornelius Baskin was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Regina Nunez.

Nunez's mother found the 23-year-old dead June 7 inside her residence at Bayshore on the Lakes Apartments, 4203 24th Street West.

An autopsy showed Nunez died by manual asphyxiation with time of death during the afternoon or evening hours of June 6.

An upset Nunez called a friend about 11 a.m. that morning to talk about a fight between Baskin and her, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. Nunez's outgoing cell phone activity ended about 3 p.m, documents state.

The partially undressed victim was found lying in bed. Nunez's cell phone, with a smashed screen, was lying near her and there were other signs of foul play at the scene, according to the arrest warrant issued Tuesday.

Baskin, Nunez's live-in boyfriend, was quickly named a person of interest.

"It's a case we've been putting together since she was murdered," said Dave Bristow, sheriff's office spokesman. "We developed him as a suspect the day we went out there. We've just been developing the case and building the case since then."

A former roommate of Nunez said the couple had been fighting since December and Nunez often had bruises.

When he was told June 8 of his girlfriend's death, Baskin "showed no emotion or concern" and "seemed unwilling to aid in the investigation of her death," according to the warrant. Baskin told detectives he was last at the apartment on June 6 and left while Nunez was sleeping.

Baskin's cell phone records place him near the apartment complex during the time frame in which Nunez was killed. DNA found at the scene and on Nunez's body, clothing and cell phone matched Baskin's profile, according to the warrant. Those facts and circumstances led the State Attorney's Office to file charges.

Baskin was admitted early June 7 to the Manatee Memorial Hospital Psych Unit, after his behavior led his father to seek help, documents state. Security footage shows Baskin attempting to escape the hospital about 8:30 a.m on June 7.

That morning, Baskin's father called law enforcement from the hospital to check the apartment, but hung up when he could not provide an address. Some of Baskin's family members were seen trying to gain access to Nunez's apartment, according to the sheriff's office. Baskin's father was also the person who notified Nunez's mother to check on her daughter, the warrant states.

Baskin was arrested Tuesday afternoon near his last known place of residence without incident, according to the sheriff's office.

Fifteen of the county's 19 deaths investigated as homicides this year have fallen in the Manatee County Sheriff's Office jurisdiction. Six of those remain unsolved. Arrests have been made in five cases and one was determined a murder-suicide. Two were ruled self-defense. There is an active warrant for Javier Aguilar in the slaying of Natividad Faudoa.

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