All through the night of Jan. 11, Michael Redlick lay in a pool of blood on the floor of his home in Winter Park, Fla., while his wife slept, having grown tired from her efforts to wipe all of it away.
The police say they could tell when they arrived the next morning, around 10, that she had been working. They pulled into the couple’s roundabout brick driveway sprinkled with broken eggshells — Michael’s car had been egged — and walked into the home to find the smell of bleach. A bucket of “pink liquid” sat at the bottom of the stairs, police noted, along with a pink-stained mop and a pile of saturated bloody towels. Circular streaks dashed through the blood like a bad carwash job, as though the cleaner gave up on the work halfway through.
Danielle Justine Redlick was there waiting for them, looking “disheveled,” police said in an affidavit. She had told the 911 operator that her husband, a former NBA executive with the Memphis Grizzlies, had stabbed himself to death. But that already didn’t seem right to police ― in part because she had waited about 11 hours to call them.
Even the 911 operator seemed suspicious.
The call started with Danielle Redlick, 45, saying she believed her husband “might have had a heart attack.” But then she pivoted to say he stabbed himself in the middle of an argument, taking a kitchen knife out of her hand and suddenly jabbing it into his shoulder. The operator, seemingly befuddled, wanted to know: How come she was only just now calling?
“Yeah, um," she said, hesitating, "I’m on probation, and I was afraid, and I didn’t think anyone would believe me, and I was just trying to get him to wake up.” She added that she was “just exhausted.”
More than three weeks later, police aren’t buying it, believing she didn’t call for help the night of Jan. 11 because she didn’t have her story straight.
On Thursday, Redlick was charged with second-degree murder in her husband’s death after further investigation uncovered a tumultuous relationship, fraught with fights and dating apps, and inconsistencies in Redlick’s story. Witnesses told police that the couple’s marriage had been “rocky,” and that often Redlick was the one to provoke fights after “snapping.” In fact, one friend told police that the 65-year-old Michael Redlick often used to say his wife was “crazy, but as long as I hide the steak knives everything will be fine.”
Charles Frederick, Danielle Redlick’s defense attorney, declined to comment. But he said in court Thursday that his client may have acted in self-defense, and that “all the evidence, at this point, is circumstantial," the Orlando Sentinel reported. She was ordered held without bond and barred from having any unsupervised contact with the couple’s two children, who are 11 and 15.
Michael Redlick, called “Red" by friends in NBA circles, had been an executive vice president of business operations for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001 to 2009 and was the associate chair of the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the time of his death, according to his LinkedIn profile. He had been married to his wife for 13 years, the Sentinel reported. Her attempt to file for divorce last year was dismissed in November after a judge ruled Michael Redlick had not been properly served with papers, the Sentinel reported. According to the affidavit, Danielle Redlick was on probation for a January 2018 disorderly intoxication incident in which she pushed and attempted to punch a paramedic trying to help her. Police had been called to the residence in the past at least twice because of arguments between the couple, according to the affidavit.
She claimed in an interview with a Florida Department of Children and Families investigator before her arrest that she was in the kitchen eating the Quarter Pounder when Michael stole the sandwich, took a bite out of it and spit it back in her face. She claimed her husband then grabbed her arms, pushed her down on the ground and, once she tried to get up, smashed her head against the top of the stove. During the struggle, she said she grabbed a kitchen knife from a drawer.
“What are you gonna do? Stab me?” she claims her husband said.
That’s when he snatched the knife out of her hands, she claims. He “made a motion” as if he was going to stab himself, and so she fled to the bathroom and shut the door, she said in the interview. She could hear him on the other side of the door moaning, seeming to mutter, “Sam Katie,” which she thought was a reference to the characters Max Cady and Sam Bowden in the 1991 movie “Cape Fear." She waited until it was quiet before opening the door, where she saw a trail of blood leading from the bathroom to the living room. He looked disoriented, possibly dead, she said. She said she looked for her phone but couldn’t find it, so she tried to see if he was breathing. She said she tried to give CPR, but he vomited, according to the affidavit.
Police say she decided to continue cleaning the house the next morning. Her phone records indicate she spent time on a dating app for a while, about two hours before calling 911. Just before she did, around 9:30 a.m., she cut herself, according to the affidavit, and decided to dial for help when the wounds on her wrists started bleeding.
“Even after stabbing her husband, she admitted to not rendering aid while he was moaning and ‘out of it’ while he died,” Winter Park Police Detective Pamela Woehr wrote in the affidavit. “Additionally, she waited eleven hours to call for assistance after tampering with the crime scene knowing that a death investigation was forthcoming.”
Woehr noted that the autopsy and her own examination of the scene refuted many of the details Danielle Redlick provided. The medical examiner ruled that the stab wound could not have been self-inflicted, and that there was a cut beneath Michael Redlick’s eye and a black-and-blue injury on the inside of his upper lip. There was also bruising on his arm, consistent with self-defense, the coroner said.
Woehr found the McDonald’s bag in the trash, but it appeared all of the burger and fries had been eaten. There were no traces of vomit found in Redlick’s body.
His blood-soaked jeans, however, did have a “clear mucus-like substance” on them, reminding Woehr of the driveway that morning.
The eggs, she figured.