44-year-old Sarasota woman charged with second-degree murder following July 9 shooting

Courtney Wadeck being held in jail without bond

A 44-year-old Sarasota woman has been charged with second-degree murder following a shooting that was reported to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office on July 9, the agency has announced.

Courtney Leigh Wadeck, of 3701 Ferguson St., is being held without bond in the Sarasota County Jail, Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division records show. Her arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 8.

The Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a shooting that happened at 11:54 p.m. on July 9, the agency said in a news release, adding that the incident occurred in the 3700 block of Ferguson Street in Sarasota. Ferguson Street is east of South Beneva Road and north of Clark Road, a map shows. Ferguson Street intersects St. Louis Avenue and Afton Circle.

When deputies arrived at the scene, a later news release explains, they “found an unresponsive female on the living room floor with a gunshot wound to her chest. Life-saving efforts were attempted,” the release pointed out, “but the victim succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased by Sarasota County Fire Department medics at 12:27 a.m.”

Wadeck immediately was identified as the primary suspect, the release added.

Both Wadeck and the woman who reported the shooting, Candice Kristine Schardt, were present when the deputies arrived at the single-family home, the Probable Cause Affidavit said. Officers subsequently transported them to the Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Sarasota for interviews, the affidavit noted.

Schardt told investigators that she and the victim had moved in with Wadeck and Wadeck’s spouse, Jason John William Brown, about four days prior to the shooting. However, the affidavit indicated, a disagreement had arisen among the parties over the living conditions.

Then, about 11:30 p.m. on July 9, the affidavit continued, Schardt and the victim came to the house “to remove their belongings.” While they were packing, it added, “the victim and [Wadeck] began to argue and eventually engaged in a physical altercation.”

The affidavit pointed out that neither the victim nor Wadeck had a weapon when that struggle began.

Schardt said that both she and Brown “attempted to intervene during the altercation with no success,” the affidavit continued.

Schardt was in a bedroom when she heard a gunshot in the living room, she told the investigators; she did see the victim fall, she acknowledged.

After finding the victim unresponsive, Schardt added, she called 911 while Wadeck remained in the residence.

During a later interview, the affidavit noted, Brown — who had left the dwelling “with his children” after the shooting — said that he “was unsure of the cause of the altercation,” but he saw no weapons during the fight. Brown also reported that he had made multiple attempts to split up Wadeck and the victim, “with no success.” Then he “ ‘heard’ a gunshot and saw the victim fall to the floor,” the affidavit added. (The document said he also told the investigators he was in the living room when the shooting occurred.)

Brown did report that Wadeck owned a .380-caliber handgun.

When investigators tried to interview Wadeck, the affidavit pointed out, “[S]he invoked her right to remain silent.” Nonetheless, it added, she “did make several spontaneous utterances,” but those were not included in the affidavit.

Past charges

A Sarasota News Leader check of 12th Judicial Circuit Court records this week found eight other charges lodged against Wadeck, dating to August 2022. All of them involved traffic infractions, including two citations for failing to stop at a red light.

In one case, however, Wadeck also was charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.

The Probable Cause Affidavit said she was driving while her license was suspended. During the investigation, one deputy reported to another officer involved in the case that the deputy previously had warned Wadeck not to drive because of the suspension. Nonetheless, the affidavit noted, Wadeck said she did not have anyone who could drive her where she needed to go.

After Wadeck was stopped, the affidavit continued, the traffic officer conducted a search of her vehicle. He found a multi-colored glass pipe in her purse. Based on his training and experience, he wrote in the affidavit’s narrative, he believed the residue in that pipe “resembled burnt leafy marijuana.” The purse also contained multi-colored short straws, the affidavit added, and they had “a white powdery residue inside.”

The traffic officer informed Wadeck the he was arresting her for possessing drug paraphernalia, along with citing her for the traffic infraction. The officer added that she “voluntarily uttered, ‘I forgot about that bowl and stuff.’ ”

That case remains open, the court docket shows.