Jim Beam-drinking man charged with battering two women

Tony Melford Bennett

An Ocala man was arrested for allegedly battering a pair of sisters during a recent drunken rampage.

Tony Melford Bennett, 50, of SE 22nd Avenue was charged with domestic battery by strangulation, battery (second of subsequent offense), and violating his probation on a previous conviction of driving with a suspended license.

The first victim told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy that Bennett came home Nov. 23 at around 10 p.m. with a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey. She said Bennett was already intoxicated and started yelling and being aggressive towards her, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The victim said she tried to go to bed and Bennett got into the bed next to her and put his feet on her back and pillow. She said she got out of bed and Bennett started beating on his chest while yelling at her. The victim said she called her sister to come over and help calm Bennett down, the report said.

The victim said she and her sister couldn’t calm Bennett. She said her sister walked outside the residence and Bennett followed her, but he came back inside a short time later. The victim said Bennett punched a dog and then grabbed her by the throat, according to the report.

The victim said her sister came back inside the residence and tried to stop Bennett from choking her. She said Bennett punched her sister in the face and pushed both women to the ground. The victim said she dialed 911 and Bennett went into the bedroom and laid down, the report said.

The deputy observed a dark red mark in the middle and right side of the victim’s neck, corroborating her claim that she was choked. She also had a red mark on the right side of her torso from being pushed down, according to the report.

The victim’s sister said she could hear the altercation from outside the residence when Bennett was choking the victim. She said when she tried to help the victim, Bennett struck her on the right side of her face, near her right eye, with either a closed fist or open hand. She said Bennett then pushed both women to the ground, where she hit her elbow, the report said.

The deputy observed a red and purple mark on the right side of the second victim’s face, as well as similar marks on her upper left triceps and left elbow, according to the report.

Bennett refused to speak to the deputy about the incident. A computer check of his criminal history revealed he was convicted of battery on a law-enforcement officer in January 2007 in Marion County.

Bennett was taken to the Marion County Jail early on the morning of Nov. 24, where he remains held on $2,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Marion County Court on Dec. 23.