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Ocala

Accused Ocala strangler violates pretrial conditions

Jason Emerson Rich

An Ocala man charged last month with domestic battery by strangulation was arrested for violating his pre-trial release conditions when he was caught in a hotel room with the victim and her children, marijuana, a bottle of liquor and a loaded gun.

Jason Emerson Rich, 36, of 12827 SW 67th Ave., was also charged with trafficking THC derivatives, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a controlled substance (Alprazolam), possession of a controlled substance (Lortab), possession of a controlled substance (Buprenorphine Hydrochloride), possession of a controlled substance (Suboxone), possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The bond from his Sept. 14 arrest was also revoked.

When he was released from the Marion County Jail on $1,000 bond Sept. 23, Rich was ordered to participate in Marion County’s Surviving Harmful Interactions Through Electronic Location Devices (SHIELD) program, which requires, in part, for him to not have contact with the victim and to not use or possess any weapons, alcoholic beverages, and illegal narcotics or drugs.

At around 6 a.m. Wednesday, a pair of Marion County sheriff’s deputies went to the Howard Johnson’s motel at 3951 NW Blichton Road to conduct a SHIELD compliance check on Rich. While approaching the door to room 153, they could smell a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the room, according to the sheriff’s office report.

A deputy knocked on the door and could hear movement inside the room but no answer. After a few minutes, the deputy called Rich and could hear his phone ringing inside the room. Rich answered and sounded groggy. He said he was waking up and would open the door, the report said.

Rich opened the door a few minutes later and deputies immediately recognized a strong odor of marijuana. They noticed an infant car seat on the bed. Asked who was in the room with him, Rich said, “(name deleted) is with me man,” according to the report.

Rich allowed the deputies to enter the room and one of them found the victim in the bathroom, breastfeeding an infant. Her older child was asleep on the floor in the hall adjacent to the bedroom, the report said.

Asked about the smell of marijuana, Rich pointed to an ashtray on the dresser containing several smoked marijuana joints. In plain sight was a bottle of “Twenty Grand” gold vodka next to the ashtray. Rich confirmed the marijuana and alcohol belonged to him, according to the report.

A Rohm .38-caliber revolver was found inside the toilet seat in the motel room’s bathroom. Several items were also found indicating Rich may be manufacturing illegal narcotics. The sheriff’s office’s drug unit took over the investigation, the report said.

The victim told the deputies she has been staying with Rich at the motel since Monday.

Rich is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail and will appear in Marion County Court on Nov. 17.

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