Model Accused of Boyfriend's Murder Sued by Victim's Father for Negligence in Wrongful Death Case
The father of a murdered Miami man is suing the model.
The father of a murdered Miami man is suing the model accused of killing him, claiming negligence under Florida's wrongful death law. Courtney Clenney, 26, has been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of her then-boyfriend, Christian Tobechukwu "Toby" Obumseli, 27, a cryptocurrency trader. The two were living together in an upscale high-rise at the time of the murder. Clenney has pleaded not guilty and says she stabbed Obumseli in self-defense; she is currently awaiting trial in prison. But Obumseli's father says Clenney and several others are financially liable for Obumseli's death in April 2022. Read on to find out more about the case, including dark allegations about Clenney and Obumseli's relationship and why a judge denied Clenney bail last winter.
Suit Names Clenney, Others
The dead man's father, Chio Obumseli, filed the lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Court on Monday. The suit also names the owners of Clenney's apartment building, two property management companies, and the building's security company as defendants. "At all material times, Courtney Clenney owed a duty to decedent Christian Obumseli to maintain the subject premises in a safe and danger-free manner," the lawsuit says. "Courtney Clenney breached her duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety and protection of Christian Obumseli, deceased, and acted in a careless and negligent manner."
Seeks Damages of $50,000
The suit claims that Clenney "created and/or allowed to be created … dangerous conditions" that led to Obumseli's death. "Further, Courtney Clenney failed to warn subject building's residents, invitees, and the public, including Christian Obumseli, deceased, of the existence of said dangerous conditions," the suit states. "The negligence of Courtney Clenney proximately caused injury to Christian Obumseli, deceased, and directly led to his criminal attack." The lawsuit also accuses the building owner, security company, and property management companies of negligence in failing to protect Obumseli from harm in the apartment. Obumseli's father is seeking damages of $50,000 for pain and suffering, medical and funeral costs, and "future loss of support and services."
Troubled Relationship Alleged
In August, the Miami Herald reported that Clenney originally told police she'd merely thrown a knife at her boyfriend. But police say that wasn't the case. They allege that, because of the angle of the knife and the depth at which it penetrated his body, Clenney stabbed Obumseli in close proximity. The Herald also reported Clenney had a history of attacking Obumseli with weapons "during an increasingly stormy relationship." State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said the pair had a "violent and toxic two-year relationship."
Attorneys Joust in Rolling Stone
Michael Haggard, a lawyer representing Obumseli's family in the lawsuit, told Rolling Stone this week that several of the couple's neighbors saw Clenney threatening Obumseli before his death. "We've got over 10 witnesses, not only from this building, from adjacent buildings, that are like, this woman is absolutely screaming at the top of her lungs, every curse word you can think [of], threatening this guy," he says. None of the neighbors reported Obumseli acting aggressively, he told the news outlet. "All the witnesses say that he was under control," he said, "that he was just trying to calm her down, he's trying to give her a second chance. That's what happens sometimes in what I call reverse domestic violence, if you will, because obviously, we know most of the time, it's a man." Clenney's attorney Frank Prieto told Rolling Stone his client is innocent. "The evidence in both the criminal and civil case will show that Courtney's actions were taken to defend herself from an imminent attack by Obumseli," he said. "Courtney is a survivor of domestic violence."
Denied Bail, Considered Flight Risk
Clenney has been held without bail since August 2022, when she was arrested and charged with Obumseli's murder. Prosecutors have alleged that Clenney earned more than $3 million from her work between 2020 and August 2022, including $900,000 in 2020 and more than $1.8 million in 2021. Clenney's father says her assets are much lower: $11,000 in cash and $375,000 in real estate. In a November 2022 bail hearing, a judge denied Clenney bail, declaring her a flight risk. The judge said the star "has no ties to Florida and ample means to leave the country were she to choose to do so. The Defendant has substantial funds at her disposal and the ability to make more outside of the jurisdiction of the United States."