Palatka man sentenced to life in estranged girlfriend's murder

Jose Maldonado Sr. pleads guilty to first-degree murder

Jose Maldonado Sr. pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison in the May 2016 murder of Linnie Drumm.

PALATKA, Fla. – A Palatka man was sentenced to life in prison in the 2016 killing of his estranged girlfriend, the State Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Jose Maldonado Sr., 49, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting death of 44-year-old Linnie "Chris" Drumm. 

In May 2016, prosecutors said, Drumm was in the parking lot of the Putnam County Health Department, where she had taken her daughter and granddaughter for an appointment, when Maldonado walked up the vehicle and fatally shot her one time in the head. 

About three hours later, authorities said, Maldonado, accompanied by his brother, turned himself in at the Putnam County jail

Police said Maldonado and Drumm had lived together in Palatka for 13 years and had a child together. Prosecutors said they were living apart at the time of the shooting. 

Maldonado has a lengthy arrest history in Putnam County, and Drumm had taken out a domestic violence injunction against him in 2013.

According to the State Attorney's Office, the guilty plea in the case followed attempts by defense attorneys to have Maldonado declared insane at the time and incompetent to proceed.

The Lee Conlee House in Putnam County is a domestic violence center and confidential crisis shelter for women and children. Anyone who is being victimized by domestic violence is urged to call the center's 24-hour hotline at 386-325-3141. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is available 24/7, is 1-800-799-7233.

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