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Daughter witnesses murder-suicide of mother, her boyfriend

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Updated: 11/26/2013 6:24 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police said an 11-year-old girl is with family now, after being present as a murder-suicide unfolded.

Two lives were taken early Tuesday morning. Police said a woman was murdered as her daughter looked on.

"I don't know to what extent. The child was in the home. I believe the child witnessed some of what happened," said Assistant Chief Chris Butler with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Butler said the couple lived together in their Arlington home. Neighbors often heard them arguing. Tuesday morning, the quarrel turned deadly as police were on their way.

When officers got inside, they discovered Michelle Simpson, 45. She'd been shot multiple times. They also found Stephen Harford, 44. Police said he shot Simpson and himself.

"According to the neighbors, they heard fighting then gunfire," Butler said.

This wasn't the first time JSO had responded to a home shared by the couple. In April 2012, police said, Harford made threats to kill himself and everyone else inside, Simpson included, while he was intoxicated.

"We did seize firearms that he had and he was Baker Acted," Butler said.

Action News dug deeper to find out what restrictions there are on owning a gun after being involuntarily committed under the Baker Act. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a court would have to have found Harford mentally incompetent in order to stop him from owning a gun after that incident.

Harford had an active concealed weapons permit, according to JSO.

A JSO domestic violence team offers services to victims of domestic violence. Simpson and Harford had never been offered services, according to JSO.
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