LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side Investigates has received new evidence in a domestic violence case that garnered national attention. Investigators have released new 911 calls, video surveillance and audio recordings of interviews.
Prosecutors say Taylor Irby and her estranged husband Joseph got into an argument over a child’s doll in Bartow on June 14.
Investigators say Joseph hit Taylor’s car.
After that encounter, police say Taylor went into Joseph’s apartment in Lakeland. The case stirred controversy after Taylor was arrested for theft and armed burglary.
State Attorney Brian Haas later announced he would not pursue those three felony charges. Taylor instead faces a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Joseph is facing a felony aggravated battery charge.
Both have pled not guilty.
After Taylor’s arrest, some questioned whether police made the right call.
Haas has previously taken aim at the controversy surrounding the story. He said much of that information in the media was “inaccurate.”
According to an arrest affidavit, Taylor took her estranged husband’s guns while Joseph was behind bars after being arrested for domestic aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He is accused of ramming his car into Taylor’s vehicle back on June 14 in the parking lot of the Bartow courthouse.
New surveillance video shows Joseph’s car traveling behind Taylor’s car during the June 14 incident. 8 On Your Side also obtained the emotional 911 call Taylor made that day.
“He hit my car,” said Taylor in the 911 recording. “I don’t want to get out of my car.”
Haas says his office will pursue that domestic aggravated battery charge against Mr. Irby but noted that there was no evidence he tried to kill his estranged wife or run her off the road.
After Mr. Irby was arrested, a judge made it clear he could not have weapons. Taylor claims that’s when she broke into his home, took his guns and brought them to Lakeland police.
But Haas says Taylor did not go into the home with the intention of retrieving the guns. According to Haas, Taylor and a few of her friends went into the home and took two men’s watches, a GoPro and possibly a computer as well as two guns. The state attorney says it appears taking the guns was “merely an afterthought.”
Prosecutors and law enforcement stress their commitment to helping victims of domestic violence.
“Every day my office works hard to protect victims,” said Haas during a news conference.
Haas talked about Florida’s “red flag” law. It allows police to pursue a risk protection order and seize the guns of an abuser or anyone that poses a danger.
“If you look at the numbers, our county leads the state in risk protection orders,” said Haas, “so there’s no question that our law enforcement will use that tool if they’re made aware of a situation.”
Statistics show a woman is five times more likely to be killed if the abuser owns a firearm. That’s according to the Gifford’s Law Center.
The red flag law allows police to take away guns and help decrease the danger.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is also dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence. They shared documents that explain how a victim can get help including, getting an injunction for protection.