A Valrico man arrested today, Sept. 14, at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Greater Brandon, faces second-degree murder charges after forensics experts determined his wife didn't hang herself back in March. Instead, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said she was strangled.
Issued today was an arrest warrant for Colin Maloney, 39, of 3413 Pearson Road. Maloney was at the Cracker Barrel in Valrico, at 1880 State Road 60, where he was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Orient Road Jail.
Maloney is accused of strangling his wife, Felicia Maloney, 39, on March 18.
According to the sheriff's report, on that day, at 5:45 a.m., Colin Maloney called 911 and requested medical assistance for his wife at their home. Maloney told the 911 operator that he walked into their bedroom and discovered his wife unconscious.
"She is nonresponsive, her jaw is clenched and she's a little blue," Maloney told the operator. "She was in the shower. I came into the bedroom. She is barely breathing and I'm performing CPR."
Emergency medical personnel arrived and began advanced life support for 20 minutes but were unable to revive her. As EMS was transporting the victim to the ambulance, they noticed several ligature marks on the victim's neck.
Meanwhile, two deputies remained inside the house with Maloney and his 8-year-old son, Tanner Joseph. One of the deputies noticed the child playing with a white cord he had retrieved from a kitchen trash can.
According to the sheriff's report, Maloney asked the deputies, "Did you see what my kid is doing?" He then walked over to the trash can and took out a white extension cord, saying, "You see this? This is what she used to hang herself."
Up until that time, Maloney had never mentioned that he had found his wife suspended with an electrical cord from the upper support of the bed board.
Hillsborough County Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Leszek Chrostowski later determined the cause of death to be ligature strangulation. During the autopsy, several horizontal ligature marks were observed on the
victim's neck, which are inconsistent with a suicide by hanging, he said.
Chrostowski ruled the death a homicide.
A forensic engineer with The Centre of Forensic Sciences subsequently conducted a forensic examination and concluded that it was extremely unlikely that the victim hanged herself with the bed board or the electrical cord.
As a result, the sheriff's office obtained an arrest warrant for Maloney on charges of second-degree homicide.
According to Florida state law, a second-degree murder lacks the premeditation often required for the prosecution of a first-degree murder. Florida state laws permit the prosecution of second-degree murder when the killing lacks premeditation or planning, but the defendant acted with enmity toward the victim or the two had an ongoing interaction or relationship.
Maloney, who lists his occupation as a stockbroker, previously was arrested June 3 and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal mischief and burglary of an occupied dwelling.
Following the arrest Friday afternoon, all was quiet at Maloney's Pearson Road home.