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Report: Shooting death traces back to sex tape

I can smell a million dollars of Vivid money on this deal:

LAKELAND, Fla from www.the – In a tangled web of sex tapes and vengeance, a 38-year-old construction supervisor told police he killed an East Lakeland man while trying to protect his teenage girlfriend’s reputation.

Joey Delbert Midgett went to 36-year-old Jonas Ward’s house at 3:40 a.m. Tuesday to retrieve a videotape of Ward and Denise Bradshaw,[pictured] Midgett’s girlfriend, having sex, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Thursday.

Minutes after Ward refused to hand over the tape, he lay dead near the front door of his house with a .45-caliber slug through his head.

The events that led to that fatal moment began a month ago, detectives determined.

On Nov. 27, Bradshaw, 19, of Lakeland reported to deputies that Ward had raped her. When investigators questioned Ward about it, Judd said, he admitted giving her some drugs and having sex. But Ward said Bradshaw had consented, and he had a videotape and photographs to prove it.

Earlier this month, authorities told Bradshaw they had viewed the video and determined there was no rape. She said she knew about the video but still thought she was raped.

Then she told Midgett and after a night of drinking, Midgett told Bradshaw and her roommate, Holly Evans, that he wanted to go see Ward and “get that filth.”

The three drove to Ward’s house at 2943 Lunar Circle in Lakeland early Tuesday, and Midgett knocked on the door.

“When Ward comes to the door, Joey Midgett said, ‘I’m here to get the videos,'” Judd said. “Ward cusses at him and tries to slam the door, and Midgett’s hand gets caught in the door.”

Midgett, nicknamed The Hangman, told detectives he brought his right hand up to free his trapped left hand, and the pistol in his right hand went off, the sheriff said. Ward died in his living room of a single gunshot wound to his head.

Midgett and Bradshaw returned to their house at 1706 Holly Road in Lakeland, where he punched a hole in a bedroom wall to hide the gun and ammunition. He then took a bath with Bradshaw while Evans watched, and he and Bradshaw had sex, Judd said.

Judd described Midgett as a member of the Outlaw motorcycle gang, but the group’s lawyer in Tarpon Springs, Jerry Theophilopoulos, rebutted that claim.

Midgett, who has a tattoo across his back that reads “Support Your Local Outlaws,” spent time with members, but was not himself a member of the motorcycle club, he said. Theophilopoulos says he has access to a list of the group’s membership, and received many calls Thursday from members who were upset that Midgett had been described as a member.

“This is an inaccurate and false statement,” Theophilopoulos said. “The Outlaws basically are a motorcycle club that promotes brotherhood amongst the men.”

In his statement to authorities, Midgett said he went to Ward’s house solely to retrieve the video and photographs, but Judd said the evidence doesn’t support that.

“If that was the case,” Judd said, “why would he come with a .45-caliber and a trench coat?”

Sheriff’s detectives have charged Midgett with first-degree murder and armed burglary. Bradshaw hasn’t been arrested but remains under investigation, Judd said.

Midgett met Bradshaw through her mother, Kimberly, with whom Midgett had a relationship, Judd said.

Ward, a tattoo artist, had met the younger Bradshaw at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and later did a tattoo for her. The two then became lovers, Judd said.

Bradshaw has a tattoo that reads “The Hangman’s Property” on her back, done by someone other than Ward, detectives said.

Midgett and Ward didn’t know each other before the shooting, Judd said.

After authorities rejected her rape allegations, Bradshaw went to Ward’s house Dec. 10 and smashed his camera and computer with a hammer, then punched several holes in the exterior of his mobile home as she was leaving, according to sheriff’s reports. Three days later, authorities arrested her for criminal mischief, and she was released from the Polk County Jail on $500 bail.

Bradshaw initially denied allegations she had damaged his house, Judd said, but then said she had done it and that Ward “was going to get his.”

Judd said authorities searched the Holly Road house after Ward was killed and found a pistol and ammunition in the hole in the bedroom wall.

“We have every piece of evidence we could possibly want,” he said.

This isn’t Midgett’s first brush with the law. He carries an extensive criminal history in California dating to 1990, and most of the charges involve domestic abuse or harassment, drunken driving and resisting arrest. He was charged with aggravated assault in Polk County in July, but the case wasn’t prosecuted, according to court records.

He has a pretrial conference scheduled Jan. 26 in Polk County Court for two counts of domestic violence filed in September, court records show.


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