Bradenton woman pleads guilty to beating, stabbing neighbor to death

Manatee Woman Takes Plea Deal

BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - A Bradenton woman pleaded guilty Thursday to beating and stabbing her neighbor to death.

In October 2017, police were called to 3rd Avenue West where they found Zelma Huddleston dead inside her home and her neighbor, 56-year-old Misty Whiteley, covered in blood.

Huddleston's daughter and the cab driver who took her to Huddleston's home on 3rd Avenue West made the grisly discovery. Huddleston's daughter went to the house after being unable to contact her mother.

When the cab driver exited the home, he saw Whiteley, who told him she beat Huddleston's "a**" the night before and wanted her knife back from inside the home. Huddleston's daughter also spoke with Whiteley, who claimed she had been defending herself in an argument with Huddleston.

Paramedics arrived and, finding the victim was deceased, exited the home. That’s when they heard Whiteley say, “I had an altercation with the woman in that house last night.”

But when police arrived and spoke to Whiteley, she told officers that she stayed with Huddleston through the night because "someone smacked her across the head with something." But police say Whiteley had blood on her hands and clothes, as well as a black eye, bruised forehead and two cuts on her right hand, and Whiteley's keys were found near Huddleston's body.

Police were granted a search warrant to search Whiteley's property and say she tried to go into the home, despite being told she was not allowed inside. Officers had to pin her to a fence and handcuff her. In the process, she struck an officer.

An autopsy determined Huddleston died of blunt force trauma and multiple lacerations.

Whiteley was initially charged with second degree murder and battery on a law enforcement officer. Thursday, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter and battery on a law enforcement officer and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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