82-year-old Bradenton woman brutally murdered, 55-year-old neighbor charged

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Bradenton police say an 82-year-old woman was brutally murdered by her neighbor. But, the neighbor claimed it was done in self-defense.

Misty Whiteley, 55, was arrested and charged in the death of Zelma Huddleston.

Bradenton police say on Monday evening, Huddleston’s daughter spent time with her mother and Whiteley at her home on 3rd Avenue West.

Later that evening, the daughter couldn’t reach Huddleston by phone. The daughter tried again on Tuesday morning with no luck.

The daughter then took a cab to visit her mother and found her dead and covered in blood. Nearby was a knife and a key chain with the name “Misty” engraved on it.

Whiteley had blood on her hands when the daughter confronted her

Whiteley said, “[Huddleston] was fighting with her and she was defending herself.”

Whiteley had a black eye, bruising on her forehead and two cuts on her right hand that were consistent with cuts from a knife.

She also had bloody clothing and shoes.

The medical examiner determined the time of death was consistent with the daughter’s statement that she couldn’t reach her mother after 9 p.m. on Monday.

Huddleston had lacerations and blunt force trauma to the head.

A neighbor, who did not want to be identified, is longtime friends with Whiteley. He said she recently had money troubles and risked losing her home.

“She seemed normal, just down on her luck,” said the friend. ““I don’t know what happened, I wouldn’t expect that kind of action out of her, she seemed like a decent person….She lost her cool or something”

Whiteley has a criminal history. After a battery arrest in 2007, she was ordered to take an anger management course.

The daughter told police Whiteley frequently caused problems for her mother. Whiteley was charged with second degree murder, battery on a law enforcement officer and obstruction of justice.

She was issued a $760,500 bond.

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