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Man accused of killing ex-girlfriend with ax receives upgraded charges

Marion County man charged with first-degree murder

Durant Smith, 40, is accused of fatally beating his ex-girlfriend with an axe and a block of wood.
Durant Smith, 40, is accused of fatally beating his ex-girlfriend with an axe and a block of wood. (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Charges against a Marion County man have been upgraded to first-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend.

Amanda Christia, 33, of Silver Springs died Sunday, two days after deputies said she and another woman were beaten with an ax by her ex-boyfriend, who is the father of her child.

Durant Smith, 40, Christia's ex-boyfriend, was at the house in the 500 block of Northeast 129th Terrace in Silver Springs to pick up his belongings at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 when he began attacking her with an ax and a block of wood, according to the report.

Brittany Suber, 23, was also at the house and heard Christia screaming. She told deputies she saw Smith hitting Christia in the head with an ax. Smith then turned and hit Suber with a block of wood, but she was able to get away, police said.

Suber told deputies that Smith was "obviously trying to kill (Christia)."

When deputies arrived, they said they found Christia unconscious, suffering from severe trauma to her head. Deputies said they also found, Suber, who suffered a broken arm. Both women were immediately taken to a nearby hospital.

Suber was treated and released from the hospital.

Deputies used a K-9 unit to track Smith to a vehicle on Northeast 118th Avenue and arrest him.

Deputies said they found an ax among Smith's belongings in the vehicle.

Jackie Douglas, a friend of Christia's, created a petition titled "Justice for Amanda" asking for signatures supporting the death penalty for Smith.

As of Friday, the petition had received 968 signatures, just short of the goal of 1,000.

Douglas said in the post that the petition will be delivered to State Attorney Brad King.

News 6 spoke with King and he said the petition will not influence his decision on whether Smith receives the death penalty and he will follow Florida law.

King also said he has not yet seen the petition but has been informed that it exists.

Smith was originally charged with aggravated battery and violation of a court ordered injunction protecting Christia after a previous incident of domestic violence.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office upgraded the charges Friday to first degree murder.