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Florida Man Arrested For Mother's Beating Death, Allegedly Wrote 'I Gave Into The Devil Tonight'

Christina Diorio sent her neighbor, Wendy McClelland a late night text that read "I need ur help." The next morning, the McClelland found her friend dead. Diorio's son, Darren Pouncey, has been arrested in the case.

By Caitlin Schunn
5 Horrific Family Homicides (by the Children)

Police say that a Florida man's hands were bleeding when they took him into custody for allegedly beating his mother to death.

Darren Pouncey, 34, is charged with one count of murder for the death of his mother, Christina Diorio, 58, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

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Deputies were called to at a home Stuart, Florida — a little under an hour north of West Palm Beach — around 8:45 a.m. on New Year’s Eve by Diorio's neighbor, Wendy McClelland, the sheriff’s office said in a field case report obtained by Law and Crime.

The reporting officer stated that, upon arrival, he first encountered Wendy McClelland's husband, Justin McClelland, and Pouncey coming out of the master bedroom and onto the screened-in back porch. Justin McClelland ordered Pouncey to sit, and the deputy observed Pouncey’s hands were “bleeding and swollen.”

A police handout of Darren Pouncey

He also noticed drops of blood on the porch floor, blood smeared on the vertical blinds and handles of the French doors leading into the bedroom and damage to the wall by the light switch where someone appeared to have punched it.

When he opened the blinds, the deputy said he saw Diorio laying on the floor with a leopard print blanket over her torso and legs, according to the field case report. The deputy said she had no pulse, and that he observed Diorio’s upper lip and face seemed swollen, and her “nose was full of blood and her face seemed discolored.”

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Pouncey confirmed his identity to the responding officers and was taken into custody on an outstanding Martin County warrant for contempt of court with no bond. There were two large dogs and one small dog in the room with Diorio, and Justin McClelland was able to coax the large dogs out. The small dog, however, refused to come out from under Diorio's bed.

Detectives were called, and they spoke to Wendy McClelland, according to the arrest affidavit obtained by Law & Crime.

Wendy McClelland told detectives that she received a text from Diorio that said “I need ur help,” around 11:15 p.m. the previous night, but didn’t see it until the morning. She told detectives that she responded shortly after 7:00 a.m., asking Diorio if she was OK but did not receive a reply. She then tried to call her friend several times between 7:30 and 8:45 a.m., but got no answer.

Finally, she said, she went to Diorio's home, unlocked the exterior master bedroom door, and found her friend's body on the floor, saying the victim’s face was “bloody and messed up.”

As her husband entered the home, Wendy McClelland told detectives that she noticed Pouncey was standing in the interior master bedroom doorway, and she left and called 911.

Detectives spoke with Justin McClelland, who said that he'd told Pouncey to go to his room — which he did — but that Pouncey came back to the master bedroom and, in response to questions, told Justin he wanted a gun, according to the arrest affidavit. Justin McClelland said he told Pouncey, “It’s not worth it.” He added that Pouncey had a cut on his right hand and blood on his left hand, and that it looked as if he had showered.

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When detectives began to question Pouncey at the sheriff’s office, he told them he was not able to speak without his dentures, though he'd already spoken to officers at the scene. When detectives offered to get his dentures, Pouncey allegedly extended his middle finger to the detectives, according to the arrest warrant, allowing detectives to observe his “bloody hands and redness to his hands.”

He then motioned for them to leave the room.

Two other detectives interviewed Pouncey a few hours later — despite him not having his dentures —and “during this time, Pouncey was laughing” as he allegedly spoke about “having a hard time relating to people, the military, therapy and what he does for a living,” according to the arrest affidavit.

When detectives asked him about what happened at the home on the night of Dec. 30, Pouncey “stopped talking, started to cry and would not speak about the incident,” according to the arrest affidavit. He allegedly told detectives he was out of the house, “it was dark” and he could not establish a “time line.” He also allegedly told detectives he “could not remember anything from the previous night,” according to the affidavit, and later said he went out to dinner between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. and thought he'd had a drink with dinner.

Detectives searched the home with a search warrant and found apparent blood stains on the screen porch door and the floor of the porch, according to the arrest affidavit. There was allegedly no forced entry, damage to the locks or broken windows.

They allegedly found a notebook on top of a chair in Pouncey’s bedroom, which they said had the following written in ink: “soo I gave into the Devil Tonight!! Apparently. I’ve tried to love but it seems love is dead and people just got f*cked instead. No rhyme or reason!! I love you but I have become accustomed to the hell this world is…I belong. I’m sorry.”

The Saint Lucie County Medical Examiner and Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy Monday, and determined that Diorio had sustained multiple blunt impact injuries to her head, torso and extremities while alive, according to the arrest affidavit. The medical examiner found both a subdural and a subarachnoid hemorrhage, as well as a hemorrhage in her neck. Her cause of death was multiple injuries and was ruled a homicide.

Pouncey has a long criminal history, according to the Martin County clerk of court records, including a charge of driving under the influence on Dec. 9, and charges of resisting an officer without violence and driving under the influence, both on June 22. He had been charged with six other traffic violations between April 2005 and March of 2022.