On April 3, one week before what would have been his 28th birthday, Christian “Toby” Obumseli was stabbed to death by his girlfriend, Courtney Clenney, 25, in a luxury Miami high-rise apartment after what police say was a domestic dispute.
Clenney, a white social media influencer and OnlyFans model who also goes by the name Courtney Tailor on social media sites and has millions of followers, called 911 after stabbing Obumseli, a cryptocurrency investor who is Black. When police arrived at the couple’s apartment, Obumseli was taken to a local hospital, where he died from a stab wound to the chest, the Miami Herald reported. Clenney was handcuffed in the apartment and told police that she had feared for her life and acted in self-defense.
She was eventually hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act, which provides emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people at risk of suicide or a mental health crisis, but she was soon released and was spotted at a hotel bar five days after the stabbing and has yet to be charged.
Miami Police declined to comment to Yahoo News on the decision not to charge Clenney, instead emailing an official statement about the incident.
“The preliminary investigation determined that both Mr. Obumseli and the female had been involved in a physical altercation,” the statement reads, adding, “Homicide detectives, in conjunction with Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and Medical Examiner Department, continue to investigate the incident.”
Clenney and Obumseli, who had recently moved together from Austin, Texas, to Miami, were known to police prior to the fatal stabbing. Department sources told the Miami Herald that officers had been called to their apartment at least four times over the last few months in response to disturbances, but no arrests were ever made.
Now that three weeks have passed and charges against Clenney have still not been filed, Obumseli’s family is demanding answers in the case.
“The family just wants accountability,” Larry Handfield, attorney for the Obumseli family, told Yahoo News. “That’s all the family wants.”
The family’s frustrations with police began right from the start. In fact, Handfield said, Miami police did not notify them about Obumseli’s death. Instead, they say they learned about it from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine calling them two days after the killing and asking if they would like to donate Obumseli’s organs. The family initially thought it was a prank call. (University of Miami Miller School of Medicine did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Yahoo News.)
The family flew to Miami from Texas to meet with detectives the following day and were frustrated that the police seemed to have already made up their minds about the events surrounding Obumseli’s death. Moreover, Handfield said, they felt dismissed and disrespected by the police.
“They were told that Courtney claimed self-defense and they believed her and there was no need for an investigation,” he said. “The detective reached his conclusion in less than 24 hours from reporting to the scene. That is totally inappropriate and something that should never happen.”
“We have no cause to believe that this was a case of self defense,” Obumseli’s cousin, Karen Egbuna, said at a press conference five days after the killing.
Handfield said he thinks Clenney received preferential treatment from police because she is white.
“I believe that if she was Black, she would’ve been arrested and [police would have] let the process play itself out,” he said. “But since she was treated with privilege, she has not been arrested.”
But Clenney’s lawyer, Frank Prieto, refuted this notion, telling Yahoo News that if Clenney’s statement did not hold up, she would have been arrested.
“I don’t believe privilege plays a role,” he said. “The crime scene had been thoroughly evaluated. … If her statement was inconsistent with what the scene looked like, there would have been an arrest.”
Prieto added that there is evidence of domestic violence that proves the couple had a “tumultuous relationship.” The night of the incident Prieto said he saw bruises on Clenney’s body at the police station.
“They both have a history of being physical with each other,” he said. “The Friday before [Obumseli was killed]police were called to the apartment because of a domestic dispute, and only because Clenney did not want to press charges was Obumseli not arrested.”
Clenney is now in therapy from the incident, Prieto said.
“She’s grieving and completely devastated,” he said. “It’s a tragedy that a young man lost his life, but… this was self-defense and it’s impacted her life as well.”
Prieto and Handfield note that Clenney has pending cases in other states, including a 2020 arrest in Texas for driving under the influence and a 2015 outstanding bench warrant for public intoxication in California.
Friends and acquaintances of Obumseli and Clenney said the couple had broken up last month, according to CBS Miami, and Obumseli was reportedly sleeping in common areas of their Miami apartment in the days leading up to the stabbing.
Ashley Vaughn, a close friend of the couple, told Local 10 News that prior to the evening of April 3, she and her friends had seen Clenney hit Obumseli, but not the other way around.
“From what we’ve personally experienced between the both of them, we believe that Christian wouldn’t put her in a position where she would need to stab him to protect herself,” she said.
A neighbor with a direct view of the couple’s apartment, however, said he had witnessed Obumseli appearing to throw a punch at Clenney a week prior to the fatal stabbing.
Because of their lack of faith in the Miami Police Department, the Obumselis are along their own investigation and passing additional character witnesses along with names and addresses to the state’s attorney office.
“We are providing the information that the police should have done,” Handfield said. “There are a lot of witnesses who can put context and that will show that throughout their relationship, the person that was aggressive throughout was the suspect Miss Courtney.”
Obumseli’s brother, Jeffrey Obumseli, created a GoFundMe to raise money for a funeral, litigation and counseling, among other fees. As of Wednesday morning, the effort had raised more than $81,000.
Cover thumbnail photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: via Instagram, family handout