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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Ocala man accused of choking woman during argument over dirty dishes

A 34-year-old Ocala man was arrested over the weekend after a woman accused him of choking her during an argument over dirty dishes.

On Saturday, September 16, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a local residence in reference to a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival, the deputy made contact with the female victim who advised that John Christopher Laterza had “strangled her,” according to the MCSO report.

John Christopher Laterza
John Christopher Laterza

The victim advised that she had returned home when an argument ensued with Laterza over dishes that were unclean. She told the deputy that she decided to “just do them,” and she alleged that Laterza came up behind her and started to choke her while she was cleaning the dishes, according to the report.

The victim stated that Laterza ended up “picking her up from behind” by her throat, and she was unable to breathe while Laterza was allegedly grabbing her throat. She told the deputy that she screamed at Laterza to “let her go,” and the argument continued after he let go of her throat. The deputy noted in the report that the victim had an audio recording of the incident that began shortly after the alleged choke.

During this recording, the deputy noted that Laterza and the victim could be heard arguing. Laterza then told the victim, “You’re lucky I don’t punch you in your frail (expletive) chin and knock you the (expletive) out.” The victim then mentioned that Laterza had already put his hands around her throat, and he responded by stating, “Go ahead, I’ll do it harder next time (expletive), tempt me, tempt me, I’m done with you.”

In the report, the deputy noted that the victim had a red mark on the left side of her face and a small bruise under her chin.

The deputy next made contact with Laterza. He told the deputy that the victim “smacked him” on the right side of his face during the argument, which prompted him to push the victim away by her upper torso. The report stated that Laterza did not have any visible injuries on his face.

Laterza claimed that he never choked the victim during the incident, according to the report.

The report stated that a child in the residence overheard the incident and recalled hearing a scream from the victim that became faint, as if her airway was restricted. The child did not witness a physical confrontation between Laterza and the victim.

Laterza was placed under arrest, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was later released on $3,000 bond. He is facing a felony charge for domestic battery by strangulation.

A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 17, according to jail records.