Florida Keys

He got 15 years for strangling his girlfriend. He initially said it was self-defense.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dawn Augusto takes Jeremy Stigler’s fingerprints inside the Plantation Key courthouse Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Augusto, now assigned to courtroom security, was the detective who arrested Stigler on a second-degree murder charge in November 2016.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dawn Augusto takes Jeremy Stigler’s fingerprints inside the Plantation Key courthouse Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Augusto, now assigned to courtroom security, was the detective who arrested Stigler on a second-degree murder charge in November 2016. dgoodhue@fllkeysnews.com

A Monroe County judge sentenced a Tavernier man to 15 years in state prison for strangling his live-in girlfriend to death in November 2016.

Jeremy Stigler, 46, declined to comment Tuesday morning after circuit Judge Luis Garcia sentenced him on one count of manslaughter for killing Jade Green Dixon, who was 47, either on Nov. 6 or Nov. 7, 2016, inside her home on Atlantic Circle Drive. Jerome Gilhooley of the Monroe County public defender’s office represented him.

Stigler, who is more than 6 feet tall and weighs well over 200 pounds, originally pleaded not guilty of the original charge of second-degree murder, saying he killed Dixon, who was 5 foot, 2 inches tall, and weighed less than 120 pounds, in self-defense.

Prosecutors agreed to let him plead no contest to manslaughter this month.

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Jeremy Stigler.

Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne said Dixon’s family agreed with the plea and “hopes it will bring the closure they have been seeking for years.”

Stigler went to the sheriff’s office in the Plantation Key subdivision on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, and told deputies Dixon was dead and he was the one who killed her.

Later that day, he changed his story, saying the night before, Dixon was harming herself, and he spent hours trying to protect her from herself. When he woke up, he told deputies, Dixon’s lifeless body was lying in bed.

He said two nights earlier, Nov. 5, he hit her because she was about to stab herself in the neck with a kitchen knife. Stigler told deputies that Dixon was under the influence of a mixture of illegal and prescription drugs.

Whatever happened that night, deputies were called to the house to respond to complaints that Stigler and Dixon were arguing loudly outside.

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Crime-scene tape is tied around the Atlantic Circle Drive home of Jade Dixon, who was found dead inside the house by deputies on Nov. 7, 2016. David Goodhue dgoodhue@flkeysnews.com

Deputies took Dixon to Mariners Hospital for evaluation at 11 p.m. The hospital released her at 1 a.m. on Nov. 6, and she went back home to Stigler.

Police think she may have been killed some time that day, not Nov. 7, when Stigler turned himself in to deputies. He told investigators that Dixon was calm for about an hour when she arrived from Mariners, but then she held a knife to her abdomen before lunging at him with the weapon.

Stigler told detectives he was forced to punch Dixon in the face to protect himself. While Dixon was on the ground, Stigler said he held her down with one of his feet on her chest and then kicked the knife away.

When she finally calmed down, Stigler said he took Dixon to bed and she fell asleep. When he checked on her about two hours later, Dixon was “cold to the touch and unresponsive,” he told detectives.

“He stated, ‘I knew she was dead,’ ” Detective Manuel Cuervo wrote in his report.

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Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives Manuel Cuervo and Dawn Augusto walk with a handcuffed Jeremy Stigler, who was convicted of strangling to death his girlfriend, Jade Dixon, on Nov. 6 or 7, 2016. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

Stigler said he then tried to commit suicide by swallowing dozens of Valium and Xanax pills. When he woke up, he said he was so distraught over Dixon’s death that he hopped into her 2004 Cadillac and crashed the car into several neighbors’ mailboxes and a fence on the street.

He said he left the crashed car and took a cab to a mile marker 88 gas station, where he bought some beer. From there, he said he walked to his friend’s house and told him what happened. He and his friend, who is also his construction company business partner, walked to the sheriff’s substation where Stigler turned himself in.

But Stigler’s timeline of events didn’t add up, according to Cuervo. Specifically, police responded to calls about the crashed Cadillac at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 6, and could not find Stigler. Detectives believe Stigler may have actually already killed Dixon that afternoon..

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