Man stages home invasion to cover up girlfriend's murder, deputies say

Suspect accidentally texted Marion County detective predicting his arrest

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

DUNNELLON, Fla. - Deputies on Monday arrested a Marion County man accused of killing his live-in girlfriend in January after authorities say he staged a crime scene to look like an intruder shot and killed the victim, then accidentally texted a detective predicting his arrest.

David W. Romig called 911 on Jan. 30 at 2 a.m. saying that an "unknown white male" busted down their Dunnellon home front door and shot his 63-year-old girlfriend Sally Kaufman-Ruff in the head, according to the arrest report.

When deputies with the Marion County Sheriff's Office arrived, they said Romig pointed out a crowbar near the front door and a partially smoked cigarette on the front porch, that he said he had never seen before.

Kaufman-Ruff was found in the master bedroom laying in bed with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Detectives said it appears she was likely shot from several inches away. Romig said he awoke to a man with a headlamp on standing above him and when he struggled with the intruder his girlfriend was accidentally shot, according to the report.

A piece of fabric was collected from the front door. Romig said he thought it was torn from the intruder's jacket, according to the report.

Romig said he and Kaufman-Ruff had been living together for more than two years. He also said he is the sole beneficiary on her will, that excluded her only daughter, deputies said in the report.

On the way home from the hospital later on Jan. 30, Romig sent two text messages that he said were meant for his wife to one of the investigating detectives.

"I think they are going to arrest mw [sic]," one read.

Romig said he sent them accidentally, because he was nervous, according to the report.

Romig's account quickly unraveled when investigators determined that his DNA was found on the cigarette, the door and that the piece of fabric was clearly cut with scissors to make it look like there was a break-in.

Romig later texted his wife that he "had a very bad night" and that his girlfriend was shot, but "things don't add up."

"I'm afraid I did something I don't remember," Romig said in a text.

The suspect later admitted to detectives that he has been suffering from black-outs, having "out-of-body experiences" and that he was hearing voices, according to the report. Romig said he knew he was experiencing a black-out on the night Kaufman-Ruff was killed when he woke up in the kitchen with all the lights on in the house and saw the victim laying in bed with a gunshot wound to the head, detectives said.

Romig admitted to detectives that he staged the crime scene to look like a home invasion, then called 911.

Romig is charged with premeditated murder, making a false report to law enforcement and tampering with evidence. He is held without bail at the Marion County Jail.

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