Judge: Matthew Buendia's ex-girlfriend must reveal who told her the former Marine was cheating
6:56 PM, Oct 23, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. - A former Marine charged with opening fire on a Hillsborough County deputy may soon hear why a key witness stopped cooperating with his defense attorney, after a judge ruled in favor of a motion forcing his ex-girlfriend to divulge how she learned he was having an affair.
Matthew Buendia, 24, is charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. According to investigators, he shot HCSO Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux at point blank range on September 30, 2011 when she responded to a 911 call about domestic violence.
He has been in solitary confinement ever since. The woman who called that night was his girlfriend, Jessica Gipson, who reported that Buendia attacked her.
According to a motion filed Tuesday in Hillsborough County court, Gipson cooperated with Buendia's defense team for the first month after his arrest, attending almost every meeting with his family as well as court hearings.
The court documents report she "abruptly ceased her relationship" with Buendia, stating, "I'm done with him."
Gipson tells Buendia's attorney, Mark O'Brien, that someone inside the Faulkenburg Road Jail gave privileged information to a Homeland Security Agent. The information included his jail phone calls as well as incoming and outgoing letters.
In them, Gipson learned Buendia was cheating on her. According to O'Brien, it's all a lie.
"He's disappointed. He maintains that he hasn't had an affair," O'Brien said. "And I haven't talked to her in about 2 years because of this information."
After serving three back-to-back deployments, family and friends claim the former Marine suffers from severe PTSD. His black-outs worsened prior to the event. O'Brien calls Gipson a central player in testimony supporting that.
"She's a witness to what Matthew Buendia went through leading up to that point," O'Brien said. "If I have access to cooperative witnesses, it's a lot easier for me to ask questions and receive answers. I haven't been able to ask her those questions and receive those answers since late October 2011."
In the motion filed Tuesday, the following conversation reveals why Gipson shunned Buendia.
"I believe you said that you found out through his e-mails that he had made unflattering comments about you, your physical appearance…your sex life and, just your personality compared to other women?" O'Brien says.
"That's correct," Gipson responds.
Gipson has refused to identify who gave her the information, only referring to the person as a federal agent with Homeland Security.
On Wednesday morning, Judge Ronald Ficarrotta ordered in favor of a motion to compel. Now, Gipson must share her source and any evidence she has to support it.
O'Brien plans to arrange a time for the deposition in the next week.
"Whether it's true or false, I can understand why she's upset with Matthew Buendia. My problem is with the people who provided that information to her," O'Brien said. "I think, perhaps, she's been manipulated by someone else and we need to figure out who those people are, if there's more than one."