Former Marine Matthew Buendia is about to stand trial for the attempted murder of a Hillsborough County deputy. But the star witness for his defense team is not cooperating.
"I haven't talked to her in about two years because of this information," Buendia's Attorney Mark O'Brien told FOX 13. "She is a very important witness."
Jessica Gipson was Buendia's girlfriend at the time of shooting. She refuses to communicate with Buendia's lawyers because of love letters she claims Buendia wrote to another woman while in jail.
She says there are recorded phone conversations also. According to court documents, Gipson says the letters and calls contain negative and disparaging information about her.
In the documents, Gipson says "an unknown person provided the information to a Homeland Security agent, who provided the information to her."
In a deposition with Buendia's lawyers last week, Gipson refused to reveal the identity of the mysterious federal agent. She says the individual brought the information to her in person.
Buendia's attorneys have their suspicions, as to where the information about an affair came from. They say there was no affair. They believe that Gipson is being manipulated.
"Why is a federal agent even obtaining this information number one and why is it being provided to a civilian," said O'Brien. "I want to know who this person is. I want to know where he received this information. And I want see the information."
At a hearing Wednesday, a judge ruled that Gipson must answer questions about the identity of the alleged Homeland Security agent.
Gipson is an eyewitness to the shooting. She and Buendia were fighting the night of the shooting in September of 2011. Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux was called to the scene. Prosecutors say Buendia shot her three times at point blank range.
"It's because of my faith in God that I survived this. I know that's why I'm here," De Veaux told reporters a few weeks after she was shot.
Buendia served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. O'Brien says Buendia has been diagnosed with PTSD and suffers blackouts. He says Buendia was the shooter, but he doesn't remember that day.
Gipson will have to testify in O'Brien's trial, but the defense needs her on their side.
"She's a witness to what Matthew Buendia went through leading up to that point," said O'Brien.
O'Brien wants to depose Gipson again within the next week. Buendia's trial is set to start in December.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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