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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Court documents: ‘Wonderful father’ of 3 stabbed 48 times by ‘furious’ ex-girlfriend who was stalking him amid custody battle

Cynthia Khaleel is shown after her acquittal in 2018.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A father of three was shot and stabbed 48 times in his home amid an ongoing custody battle with his ex-partner, Cynthia Khaleel, who is suspected of killing him and discarding her bloody clothes in the trash after his death.

Deputies responded to 15113 Wilson Court in Mead just before 2 a.m. Saturday after 40-year-old Justin Daniel, the homeowner, called 911 to report Khaleel had come to the house in violation of a no-contact order he had in place against her. When law enforcement arrived, they found him dead in a pool of blood with 48 stab wounds and three gunshot wounds, the Spokane County Medical Examiner was recorded as ruling in court documents. Multiple kitchen knives were scattered at the top the stairs, blood smears lined the walls of the home and multiple windows were broken on the upper and lower level of the house.

Daniel was awarded full custody of his and Khaleel’s 3-year-old child in March, but witnesses close to the family said Khaleel was “furious” about the ruling and was stalking and harassing Daniel, court documents said. Daniel already had a protective order against his ex-partner that was solidified in December 2023 that ordered Kahleel to surrender her weapons, but Spokane County Superior Court Judge Breean Beggs lifted the weapons restrictions once Daniel was given custody of the child. Effective Thursday, Khaleel was to have the couple’s daughter from 9 a.m. to Saturday at 6 p.m.

Six years prior to Daniel’s death, Khaleel was acquitted of killing her adoptive 5-year-old nephew, Gary Blanton III, in 2015. The boy died of a fractured skull that Khaleel blamed on the boy falling from a piece of furniture. She had gained custody of her nephew after her brother, Gary Blanton Jr., was slain in 2012 by a killer stalking registered sex offenders in Clallam County.

Court records said Daniel’s daughter was home at the time of his death and heard yelling, glass breaking, her father screaming and “loud bangs” coming from upstairs. She fled to a neighbor’s home, hid in the bushes called her mother, and her mother called police, court records say. There is no indication his other children were home at the time.

Khaleel appeared at her stepfather’s home in Chattaroy early that morning covered in blood, indicating she had been stabbed. She took a shower, put on new clothes and her bloody clothes were thrown in the trash, court records say. As her stepfather attempted to take her to a local hospital, she told him she had taped other license plates over the plates registered to her sister. He removed the license plates and threw them in the backseat.

When he dropped Khaleel off at the hospital, he called his attorney and police, court records say. A detective responded to his home, recovered the bloody clothes from the trash and seized the car the two drove to the hospital. Detectives photographed two injuries on Khaleel, court records said, with one laceration on her thumb and another on her rib. They advised her of her rights, and she declined to answer questions without an attorney present.

Khaleel’s current husband told police when he went to bed that night, his wife was home. When he woke up around 4 a.m., she wasn’t there, court records say. Her two teenage sons also told police when they woke up the next morning they did not see their mother, either.

Deputies wrote in a news release Wednesday that Khaleel is receiving treatment “at an undisclosed location.”

A GoFundMe was posted online Wednesday to raise money for Daniel’s daughters. It states he was “a wonderful father who loved his girls more than anything” and fought to keep them safe.

“(His life) was ultimately cut short,” it says. “Justin was robbed… due to a heartless crime.”