A Bay County jury of 12 took less than 2 hours to find Angela Riggins Dantzler guilty of First-Degree Murder for the 2021 shooting death of her husband in their home, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Friday evening, Circuit Court Judge Shonna Young Gay sentenced the defendant, now 58, to Life in prison for the July, 2021, shooting death of her husband, Lorenzo Dantzler, then 61, inside their Kings Harbour Road home.
“Angela Dantzler murdered Lorenzo Dantzler in premeditated, cold blood,” Prosecutor Peter Overstreet told jurors, noting the final shot to the victim was a contact wound to the head while he was sprawled on the floor. “When all the evidence, the photographs, the testimony, the videos are examined, the cloak of presumed innocence is removed and she is exposed for all time and for all to see who and what she is: a murderer, in cold blood, of her husband.”
Overstreet called numerous witnesses during the weeklong trial, including family members who were concerned about the victim, friends who tried to help him, Panama City police who responded to the home and investigated the scene, and state crime lab and crime scene analysts.
The testimony and evidence proved to jurors that the victim’s wife of more than 35 years had passed away in April, 2019. He met the defendant online not long after that and the two were married in August, 2019.
“Her jealous, controlling nature was a shock for a man married for 38 years to a woman he loved, and when she passed away and he needed companionship he made that fatal decision,” Overstreet said. “People deal with grief in many different ways and Lorenzo was no different. After losing his wife, he didn’t know what to do with himself.”
The evidence showed tension in the marriage as the defendant began to believe people were out to get her and that she was being watched. She also became jealous. About a month before the murder during a trip to Tennessee she was accused of assaulting her husband and admitted taking his ID and credit cards and leaving him stranded there.
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The day of the murder, Overstreet said the evidence showed that the defendant had disabled, unplugged and/or damaged the Ring cameras in the home. She approached her husband, who was unarmed and sitting in a chair, from a hallway and fired multiple shots from a 9mm pistol. The victim was struck.
“Imagine the horror Lonnie must have been going through at that time, with his wife shooting at him four times in his own home,” Overstreet said.
After the gun misfired, left the room. When she returned with a .38-caliber revolver, the victim had crawled a short distance away in a laundry room. “He was trying to get away, but his legs were not working, he was helpless,” Overstreet said.
It was then that the defendant again fired shots, including the contact wound to the victim’s head as she stood over him.
The defendant covered the body with towels and other clothing and linens and left it there. She also spread scented dryer sheets over the body and bloody areas where the shooting started. Evidence showed she sent a text message from the victim’s phone to his office saying he would not be in to work because the defendant’s father had a heart attack – which was not true. Additionally, she sent a text from her phone cancelling a cleaning service, saying she was out of town, which also was not true.
The defendant was still in the house with the body July 14 when concerned family members who could not reach the victim and could not get into the house called Panama City police for a welfare check. Police made entry, found the body, and finally found the defendant laying in the bed with a sheet over here.
She ignored officers’ commands and when they pulled the bedding off her, she reached for two guns she had on the bed. An officer tazed her and she was taken into custody. Officers also found her phone and the victim’s phone on the bed. She was treated at the hospital because of the numerous Tylenol she took in an overdose attempt before officers entered her room.
Basford thanked the Panama City Police Department not just for their work in processing the scene, but for the professionalism they showed in first entering the house and in taking the defendant into custody without harm when she reached for a gun. He also thanked the family for their assistance and patience during the prosecution of this case.
For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 850-381-7454.