Police say murder suspect’s timeline doesn’t add up

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives Manuel Cuervo and Dawn Augusto walk with a handcuffed Jeremy Stigler, who is accused of strangling to death his girlfriend, Jade Dixon, on Nov. 7.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives Manuel Cuervo and Dawn Augusto walk with a handcuffed Jeremy Stigler, who is accused of strangling to death his girlfriend, Jade Dixon, on Nov. 7.

The murder case against a Tavernier man accused of strangling to death his live-in girlfriend in November was added to the July court trial calendar.

Jeremy Stigler, 44, is accused of murdering Jade Green Dixon, who was 47, inside the Atlantic Circle Drive home where they lived.

Public defender Jerome Gilhooley asked Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia Tuesday for an extension in the case to take more witness depositions. Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne did not object because her office is still waiting for lab results from evidence submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Stigler turned himself in to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on Monday morning, Nov. 7, telling them that Dixon was dead and he killed her. But his story quickly changed, with him saying he woke up the morning after a night of trying to prevent Dixon from hurting herself, only to find her dead.

The Monroe County medical examiner determined Dixon died from “manual strangulation.”

Stigler told detectives that on Saturday night, Nov. 5, Dixon was acting erratically like she was under the influence of drugs “along with her prescription medication” and holding a knife to her throat, according to the Nov. 10 arrest affidavit. Stigler said he struck Dixon in the throat area to get the knife away from her. Stigler said he then called 911.

But a neighbor who did not want to be identified said at the time that Dixon and Stigler were loudly arguing and could be easily be heard outside of their house that night.

“They were out here Saturday night for a couple of hours,” the neighbor said. “There were a lot of cops and a lot of yelling.”

According to the arrest report, deputies came to their house and took Dixon to Mariners Hospital for evaluation at 11 p.m. Nov. 5. The hospital released her at 1 a..m. Nov. 6, and Dixon “returned back home with the defendant to their home.”

According to the arrest report, the timeline Stigler gave police about the events leading up to Dixon’s death does not add up.

Initial calmness

Stigler said that after Dixon was discharged from the hospital, things were calm for about a half an hour. Then Dixon grabbed another knife and held it to her stomach, Stigler told detectives. He said Dixon lunged at him with the weapon and he defended himself by punching her on the side of her face.

Although the blow caused Dixon to fall to the ground, Stigler told police she kept going for the knife, and the only way he could stop her was by stepping on the center of her chest and kicking the knife away from her. Stigler is listed on the arrest affidavit as being 6 feet, 1 inch tall and 200 pounds. Dixon was 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds.

Stigler said Dixon calmed down enough for him to put her to bed, and that he checked on her periodically throughout the early morning hours. He fell asleep for a couple of hours and awoke to find Dixon “cold to the touch and unresponsive” when he checked on her again, he told police.

“He stated: ‘I knew she was dead,’ ” Detective Manuel Cuervo wrote in his report.

Stigler said he was so despondent over Dixon’s death that he tried committing suicide by swallowing 90 10 milligram Valium tablets and 2 milligrams of Xanax. But he did wake up the next day, Monday, Nov. 7. He said he got into Dixon’s 2004 Cadillac SRX and crashed it into several mailboxes and a fence on their street.

When he couldn’t back the car out of the fence, he walked back to the house, he told police, according to Cuervo’s report.

Stigler told police he caught a taxi cab to a mile marker 88 gas station to buy beer and walked to his friend and business partner’s house near the station. After telling his friend what happened, the two men walked to the Plantation Key Sheriff’s Office substation at 50 Highpoint Road, according to Stigler’s statement to police.

But deputies actually responded to the crash at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 6 and could not locate Stigler, according to Cuervo’s report, so it’s not clear if Dixon died on Sunday morning, Nov. 6, or Monday morning, Nov. 7.

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204