A 20-year-old Ocala man spent a night in the Marion County Jail for allegedly strangling a lady friend during a fight over $20.
Robert G. Johnson was charged with dating violence/domestic battery by strangulation after the incident, which happened March 4 at Scott Springs Park, 2825 SW 24th Ave.
An Ocala Police officer responded to the report of a disturbance at the park, where the victim was visibly upset but hesitant to provide any information about what happened. She said she and the victim have been involved in an on-again, off-again relationship for about a year and were intimate within the last week, according to the OPD report.
While the officer was trying to speak to the victim, a silver vehicle drove by and an unknown person yelled it was being driven by the other person in the disturbance. Johnson drove by again and rolled down his front driver’s side window, and the officer asked him to turn off the vehicle and step out. Asked what happened, Johnson said he and the victim were only having an argument and nothing physical had happened, the report said.
The victim told the officer the incident originally occurred at the BP gas station, 3128 SW 27th Ave. She said Johnson had asked her for $20 so he could purchase marijuana while they were at class at the College of Central Florida. The victim said she finally agreed to give him the money but only if he gave her a ride home from school in return, according to the report.
The victim said she walked to the gas station, where she met with Johnson and gave him the money. She said once she was inside Johnson’s vehicle, Johnson said he wasn’t taking her all the way home. The victim said she demanded that Johnson take her home or give her money back so she could call a taxi or Uber. She said when Johnson refused to do either, she tried to grab the $20 that was positioned between his legs, the report said.
The victim said Johnson started to push and hit her with his elbows to keep her from getting the money. She said this continued even while Johnson was driving his vehicle and after he placed the money in his pants pocket. The victim said she tried to reach behind Johnson and get the money when he leaned forward but was unsuccessful, according to the report.
The victim said during the altercation, Johnson used his right hand to grab her throat, pushing her head against the vehicle door and making it difficult for her to breathe. She said the choking lasted about 10 seconds. The officer observed red marks on both sides of the victim’s neck and red marks on both of her arms, the report said.
The victim said she didn’t hit Johnson but was only trying to grab the money. She said Johnson pulled into the park, got out of the vehicle and started running through the wooded area with the money and trying to light it on fire with her in pursuit, according to the report.
The victim said while she was chasing Johnson through the woods, he shoved her to the ground, causing her to slip and fall down a small slope. The officer observed the victim’s feet were covered with dirt, the report said.
Johnson told the officer that he requested money from the victim and the two were engaged in a “tussle” while he was driving. He said the victim “attacked him” and that he tried to burn the money to mess with her, according to the report.
Johnson was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released March 5 on his own recognizance. He’s due to appear in Marion County Court on April 7.