HAINES CITY — In past years, detectives say, James and Sheree Peters of Haines City have had a tumultuous relationship that often times turned violent and abusive.
Both of them, detectives say, have ended up in the Polk County Jail numerous times on domestic violence charges — against each other. Sheree Peters was arrested in July and September 2010, and this past January, for domestic violence against her husband, while James Peters got arrested in June 2006, September 2009, and last March 2010 for domestic violence against Sheree.
Now, that cycle of abuse, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says, has come to an end. More tragically, they note, it ended with James Peters’ death.
Polk County Sheriff’s Homicide detectives arrested 56-year-old Sheree Peters of 5560 Jennings Road in Haines City, and charged her with one count of manslaughter and one count of tampering with evidence in the death of her husband.
It’s not entirely clear yet what happened, noted Carrie Eleazer, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, since Sheree Peters gave what detectives say were conflicting statements about how her husband died. What is known is that a shotgun and cocaine play a part in this investigation.
It’s also likely, detectives say, that James Peters had been dead for a month before his body was discovered.
The investigation started when family members and a neighbor noticed that he had not been seen for weeks. Concerned, they approached Sheree Peters and asked about him, Eleazer said. But they did not get back a satisfactory response.
“Sheree told several different stories about where James has been — hunting, or at the VA hospital, or outside working in the yard,” Eleazer noted in her report on the case.
The relatives would eventually go to the Peters residence to check on him. Detectives say on Friday, relatives “confronted Sheree in the front yard of her home and asked about James,” Eleazer noted. “Sheree began acting nervous and then said she had to leave to get gas.”
After she left, the relatives went into the home and made a shocking discovery. They found James Peters’ decomposing body laying on the ground, covered with a sheet.
The relatives contacted the sheriff’s office, and deputies began the hunt for Sheree Peters. She was found at a hotel room in Dundee. Deputies say Sheree also had crack cocaine with her.
She was taken into custody for questioning, and offered conflicting statements to detectives, Eleazer said.
“She has given deputies several different accounts of how James died, saying he was shot while the two of them were struggling with a gun,” Eleazer noted.
Although the suspect told detectives that the gun was still in the house, it was not found after detectives conducted a search there.
So detectives questioned Sheree Peters again about the gun, Eleazer noted, and this time got a different story.
“When asked again where the gun was, she then told detectives she sold the gun for crack cocaine,” Eleazer said.
She was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail, charged with both manslaughter and possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
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