Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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Ocala

Ocala woman jailed after man loses part of thumb in spat

Michelle DeLuca

A 54-year-old Ocala woman was charged with battery on a person 65 years of age or older after she slammed a door on a man’s hand, cutting off the tip of his thumb.

A domestic violence detective from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the incident location Tuesday and observed bodycam footage obtained by the first deputy who responded. The video showed the victim coming out of the residence holding his right hand, asking medics, “Can that be put back on?” The victim was holding a zip-loc bag that appeared to contain the tip of his thumb, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The video showed the deputy speak with the victim briefly while he was grabbing his belongings to go to the hospital. He said Michele DeLuca intentionally smashed his finger in the closet door during a domestic dispute, the report said.

Deputies went inside the house and spoke with Michelle DeLuca, who could be heard on the video saying, “He got his finger slammed in the closet door,” and “I would never mean to hurt him,” according to the report.

The detective went to the hospital and spoke with the victim while he was awaiting surgery on his thumb. The victim said he and DeLuca had gone out to dinner. He said DeLuca was in a foul mood and he told her he wanted to leave the restaurant. The victim said DeLuca was intoxicated and wanted a ride home, due to the fact they had arrived at the restaurant in separate vehicles, the report said.

The victim described a past incident where DeLuca grabbed the steering wheel and tried to cause an accident. He said that’s why he was afraid to allow DeLuca, in her intoxicated state, into his vehicle. The victim said he left DeLuca at the restaurant and went home, according to the report.

The victim said a short time later, DeLuca knocked on the front door and he let her in. He said they got into an argument and DeLuca was screaming in his face and using vulgar language. The victim said several times during the argument he had to step back to create distance between himself and DeLuca. He said she would get back into his face and refused to stay away. The victim said at one point, DeLuca ran towards her closet in the master bedroom and shut the door, the report said.

The victim said in the past, DeLuca has stolen is two firearms and hid them somewhere in the house, and he believed they were in the closet. He said she has also made comments in the past about it being justifiable to shoot in certain situations. The victim said he was afraid for his life that DeLuca was grabbing a firearm. He said that’s the way DeLuca gets when she is intoxicated, according to the report.

The victim said he opened the closet door to ensure DeLuca was not grabbing a firearm. He said DeLuca then ran towards the closet door and came, “flying so fast like a fullback on a football team.” The victim said his right hand was in the door jam when DeLuca forcefully shut the door, causing the top of his thumb to be severed and fall onto the ground, the report said.

The victim said DeLuca saw him and his hand placement and intentionally slammed the door on him. He said she didn’t show any remorse and acted “nonchalant” afterwards. The detective observed the victim’s right thumb was heavily bandaged while in the hospital. The victim showed the detective the severed thumb, which was in a zip-lock bag on ice. He said the thumb was not able to be reattached and he would have permanent disfigurement from the injury. The victim was getting ready for surgery as the detective left the hospital, according to the report.

The detective returned to the incident location and spoke with DeLuca, who said the entire incident was an accident. She corroborated the victim’s statement about the restaurant and her being left there and having to get a ride home from a friend. DeLuca said she could not have driven home due to her intoxication, the report said.

DeLuca said an argument started when she got home but there was no screaming going on. She said the victim told her to sleep in another room. DeLuca said she went to the closet in the bedroom to gather pajamas and she shut the door behind her, according to the report.

DeLuca said the victim came to the door and opened it less than halfway. She said she was mad and didn’t want him to see her naked, so she used just her right hand to shut the door. DeLuca said she was unaware the victim’s hand was in the door and didn’t mean to cause him harm, the report said.

DeLuca walked the detective through where the incident took place inside the residence. The detective observed the closet and where DeLuca said she was standing when the victim opened the door. The distance corroborated the victim’s statements of her running and slamming the door closed, according to the report.

The detective also observed a finger-sized dent and missing paint on the master closet door frame, as well as what appeared to be a blood stan on the carpet right under the frame. The frame was not unusually sharp and did not have rigid edges, meaning that just pushing the door closed would not cause the significant injury the victim received, the report said.

DeLuca then agree that she used all her force to shut the door and that she was angry when she did it. She was taken to the Marion County Jail, where she was released Wednesday on her own recognizance. DeLuca will appear in Marion County Court on Feb. 9.

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