Criminal Justice

Courtney Taylor Irby, 32. Photo from the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office.

A Florida woman was arrested and jailed on a burglary charge after allegedly entering her estranged husband’s home to retrieve his guns and turning the weapons over to police.

Police in Lakeland, Florida, charged Courtney Taylor Irby, 32, with armed burglary and grand theft of a firearm, report NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Lakeland Ledger and Click Orlando. She was charged with armed burglary because she carried the weapons out of the home.

Taylor Irby, who goes by her middle name, spent six days in jail before being released on bond, according to the Lakeland Ledger. (Some stories say Taylor Irby was jailed for five days.)

Taylor Irby entered the home of her estranged husband, Joseph Irby, 35, after a judge said he could not possess any guns or weapons as a condition of pretrial release. He was facing a domestic violence charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The charge against Joseph Irby stems from a June 14 incident in which Taylor irby said her husband used his vehicle to ram her car and run it off the road. The couple had been in a divorce court proceeding that day.

In a June 15 bond hearing for Joseph Irby, Taylor Irby told the judge her husband is mentally unstable and armed, according to the New York Times account. “I am so fearful,” she said.

Later that day, while Joseph Irby was still in jail on the domestic violence charge, Taylor Irby allegedly went inside her estranged husband’s home to get his pistol and rifle. Taylor Irby told a Lakeland police officer that she retrieved and turned in the guns because her husband wasn’t going to do it, according to the officer who arrested her.

State Attorney Brian Haas of Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit said in a statement Tuesday that he hadn’t made a decision on whether to pursue charges against Taylor Irby. Haas said his office was “awaiting various reports, statements and other documentation.”

Taylor Irby’s lawyer, Lawrence Shearer, argued that his client did not commit theft or burglary because her estranged husband wasn’t legally entitled to keep the weapons, according to the Washington Post.

Joseph Irby’s lawyer, Robert Peddy, questioned whether Taylor Irby feared for her life and noted she was seeking sole custody of the children in divorce proceedings, according to the New York Times. He suggested her motivation was “custodial and financial.” In an interview with the Lakeland Ledger, Peddy said Taylor Irby wasn’t credible and was making “embellished” claims.