Ellory Thomas “Tommy” Buehl, 33, is at the Flagler County jail on a felony aggravated stalking charge after he sent 48 texts to his ex-girlfriend in violation of an injunction and a no-contact order. To dissimulate his identity, Buehl would allegedly get new phone numbers after sending texts.
His 42-year-old ex at one point took refuge at Flagler County’s shelter for abused people. Prosecutors have filed a motion asking the court to deny Buehl bond because of the danger he may pose otherwise, and a history of violence toward the victim, including the killing of her dog. The case is illustrative of the lengths an individual may go to defy no-contact orders–intimidating, threatening and demeaning their victim along the way–and prosecutors’ rapid response in attempts to prevent escalations.
Buehl was arrested on Thursday. In his first court appearance, County Judge Andrea Totten denied him bond. But the defense is expected to file a motion to set “reasonable” bond in line with ordinary cases. Prosecutor’s motion to deny bond anticipates that, as does a “judicial notice” to the court that the state intends to introduce as evidence the victim’s petition for an injunction against Buehl, which she filed on Nov. 29. Circuit Judge Chris France granted the indefinite injunction on Dec. 7.
Violations began almost immediately, on Dec. 10, and kept going until Jan. 14.
The 42-year-old victim had lived with Buehl for 18 months starting in April 2022. In her petition for an injunction, she noted that he had “previously threatened, harassed, stalked or physically abused” her and destroyed her property. In March 2023 she filed a domestic violence charge against him after he attacked her physically, attempted to strangle her and threatened to stab her. When she hid in a room with her son, he “destroyed the door in an attempt to get into the room.”
He was arrested, charged with domestic violence and pleaded guilty. He successfully fulfilled a deferred prosecution agreement, and the charge was dropped. She stayed with him.
In the same petition for the injunction, she described in disturbing details the progression of events that led to the death of her dog, a teacup chihuahua named Lulu, last October. It is not uncommon for domestic abusers to target the pets the victim is attached to. Though based on a very small sample, one survey found that 71 percent of individuals at domestic abuse shelters had reported that “their boyfriend or husband had either threatened harm to their animals or had engaged in actual maltreatment and/or killing of an animal.”
A few weeks before the dog died, Buehl had called his then-girlfriend to say he’d accidentally fallen on Lulu after “the cat tricked him.” The woman took the injured dog to the veterinarian, who found Lulu to have a dislocated hip and a scratched eye. Buehl, the victim wrote, “continued to physically abuse the dog while [she] was at work. The next week, the dog’s face was swollen. [She] began to leave the dog inside a crate while she was at work. Although the dog was inside a crate, [she] found an open wound on her back, a wound on her neck, and she was limping on another occasion. On October 13, 2023, Buehl called her to say that her dog was dead.”
She ran to the house to find Lulu with a lot of blood coming out of her mouth. She “did not know what to do so she buried her dog and cleaned everything up so that her son would not be traumatized when he came home from school.” Animal cruelty that leads to the death of an animal is a third-degree felony.
The woman then took her 11-year-old son and left Buehl’s home in Daytona Beach to live in an undisclosed location in Flagler County.
“I owe you another dog,” he would later text her. “I didn’t purposely kill her,” and “Don’t you want to know what happened to her?” Weeks later, a woman who considers herself Buehl’s sister even though she isn’t biologically so–her family took in Buehl and raised him as a son–wrote the victim and told her that Buehl “has always been drawn to the pagan and sinister.” She shared a text he’d written her, admitting to killing the dog (“oh damn, I think I killed the dog”).
The violations of the injunction began on Dec. 10 with this text: “Please forgive me for contacting you. I have not contacted you since the temporary order. But I was told that I threatened you. You’re either lying or you were contacted by someone else and thought it was me.” He texted her repeatedly that day, at times to tell her that he will not contact her again. But he does, including an obscene text on Christmas eve, sent to the victim and others, when he punctuates his “Merry Christmas” with an expletive and goes on to write: “And to all and condemned night. Devil’s wrath will come.”
On Dec. 26, he sent her a string of demeaning and threatening statements: “I should’ve killed you when I had the chance,” he wrote, before unleashing vile personal attacks and accusations (“The problem is you,” one of the tamer ones read). He makes himself seem the hero trying to help her. Days later, he changed his tune to more conciliatory, self-accusing texts: “Try to understand that I need help. I won’t contact you anymore. I promise.” He then contacts her again, including an ominous “come outside” text on Jan. 3, only to claim the next day he’d sent it by accident. “Don’t report me. It was an accident. Please,” he texts. Then: “I’m going to get help. Bare [sic.] with me. you’ll be fine.”
The texts only multiplied after that as he asked for a “peace treaty” and pleaded that he was really a “peaceful person,” but also said he’d contacted the Family Life Center through Facebook. He tells her how much he loves her, that he has Covid, that he needs help, that alcohol made him say terrible things. The last text was on Jan. 14.