LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland woman who took her estranged husband’s guns and turned them over to police last month will only face a misdemeanor charge, a state attorney announced Wednesday.
Courtney Taylor Irby, who goes by Taylor, was arrested last month when police say she removed weapons from the apartment of her estranged husband, Joseph Irby.
Taylor was arrested and was initially charged with three felonies. State Attorney Brian Haas announced in a news conference Wednesday he will not pursue those three felony charges. Taylor will instead face a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
Taylor’s arrest quickly drew national attention and stirred controversy. Some questioned whether police made the right call arresting her.
On Wednesday, Haas took aim at the controversy surrounding the story and the national attention it received. According to Haas, much of that information 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.
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.”
The state attorney did note in his news conference that Taylor is a victim of domestic violence but stated that didn’t give her permission to go into his home. Haas talked about the dangerous ramifications of allowing spouses to break into one another’s homes.
8 On Your Side Investigates will continue to follow developments in this case.