'Homicide for the Holidays': Florida couple brutally murdered in front of their two-year-old son over ill-fated affair

The couple was killed in their home with their baby son still with them inside the premises just two days after Christmas on December 27, 2005.


                            'Homicide for the Holidays': Florida couple brutally murdered in front of their two-year-old son over ill-fated affair

The killings of Steven and Michelle Andrews is one of the most twisted and brutal cases of murder in Fort Myers, Florida. The couple was killed in their home with their baby son still with them just two days after Christmas on December 27, 2005. When the police arrived, after a mysterious 911 call informed them about something being amiss at the home, they found Michelle's body sprawled naked at the bottom of the bed while Steven was face down in the bed, shot dead. Blood covered the floor and the walls of the room, as the crime scene painted a chilling picture at their Gateway home.

A happy couple, who had moved into Fort Myers just a year ago, neighbors just couldn't understand why anyone would want to kill them - and so brutally. Investigators found no foreign DNA in their master bedroom and the rest of the house, leading them to suspect it was a murder-suicide. However, the truth was hiding in plain sight. 

Intruder or friend?

As investigators were looking around the house, they found a broken sliding door - and they started chasing the angle of an intruder. Neighbors spoke about how the couple was very social and had people over during the holiday season that year. They didn't think anything of it then, but after the murders, one neighbor recalled seeing a man in a camouflage jacket and a motorcycle at their home the day of the murder.  

An affair gone awry

Steven was a Project manager at a Bonita Springs landscaping company while Michelle was a nutritionist. They had a 2-year-old son. They were a picture-perfect family on the outside. But sometimes before the murder, Steven had bought a really expensive car and a coworker, Kelly Ballew, had gifted him an equally expensive keychain for the car - something that Michelle found odd. 

Desperate to save her marriage, she had contacted Kelly's ex - Fred Cooper, he worked as a motorcycle mechanic for Sun Sports Cycle & Watercraft on Metro Parkway in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs. Kelly and Fred had just called it quits after a very long relationship and a child. Michelle had hoped that talking to him would help her and Steven stay together. But it wouldn't be so. 

Murder and regret?

Kelly and Steven worked together. They were close and they both shared their frustrations about their respective relationships. On the day they were killed, Steven had emailed Kelly about their future together, but he had no idea about what was to come. As they went to sleep, Fred rode in, snuck in and fired a bullet at Steven killing him instantly.

As Michelle woke up, he hit her on the head and face and then proceeded to strangle her before stripping her and positioning her to send a message. In the scuffle, he had left his DNA in Michelle's fingernails and her gown which was later matched to him by investigators.

Some people in the community still believe that it was Fred who had dialed 911 after feeling remorse looking at the couple's orphan child. While others say it was the little boy who dialed emergency services. The only voice heard on the line by emergency services was the couple's two-year-old son Luke saying " Mama" many times.

Fred was sentenced to life in prison in 2009. He also has a criminal history which begins in 1994 when the state sentenced him to three years in prison for breaking into and destroying a cabin. That sentence included a court order for him to undergo a mental health evaluation and treatment. He served two years, but it wasn't long before Martin County deputies arrested him again - this time for breaking into a salvage yard. After almost three and half years in prison, in 1999 the Department of Corrections released him. He was on parole until 2000. 

Catch the next episode of 'Homicide for the Holidays' at 7pm ET/PT every Saturday, only on Oxygen.

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