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Ocala

Pepper-sprayed man charged with strangling girlfriend

Thomas Antonio Smith

An Ocala man was pepper sprayed in the face by his girlfriend while he allegedly battered and strangled her during a violent domestic quarrel.

Thomas Antonio Smith, 41, was charged with domestic battery by strangulation after the incident, which happened around 5 a.m.  Monday. An Ocala Police officer first talked to Smith, who said he was having an argument with his girlfriend of five months. Smith said the victim hit him in the right cheek and things escalated from there, according to the OPD report.

Smith said the victim told him, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to pepper spray you.” He said the victim pushed him and he pushed her back, and then she pepper sprayed him in the face. Smith emphasized that the victim hit him first, the report said.

The victim told the officer that Smith came into the room and started a verbal dispute with her. She said Smith grabbed her and threw her on the bed, smacked her in the face, and then threw her on the bed a second time. The victim said she told Smith to get out of her room and he smacked her in the face again, then picked up a cup of hot water and threw it on her, according to the report.

The victim said she told Smith, “get the hell off me,” and he responded by grabbing her by the throat and choking her. The victim said the pressure put on her throat impeded her normal breathing pattern for a few seconds. She said she was finally able to get Smith off her by spraying him with pepper spray, the report said.

The officer observed a red circular welt on the victim’s right eyebrow. She also had abrasions on her top and bottom lip and bruising on the left side and back of her neck, as well as her left upper back, according to the report.

The victim’s brother said he was sleeping and was awakened by Smith and the victim arguing loudly. He said he saw Smith grab the victim by her wrist and ankle and throw her on the bed. The victim’s brother said he saw Smith start to choke her, then throw her on the bed again, the report said.

The victim’s brother said he tried to tell Smith to leave the victim alone. He said Smith had the victim pinned to the wall during the altercation. He said he saw the victim pepper spray in the face to get him away. The victim’s brother said he witnessed Smith punching the victim in the back and kicking her in the back, according to the report.

Based on everybody’s statements and the victim’s injuries, the officer determined there was probable cause for Smith’s arrest. He was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was being Tuesday. No bond or court information was available.

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