Leesburg police officers scrambled to a local hotel last week after a witness reported seeing a man strangling a woman outside one of the guest rooms.
When officers arrived at the Rodeway Inn, located at 1115 W North Bvld., they made contact with 57-year-old James Lowery Arthur, who was standing outside of Room 217. Officers noted that Arthur had “small amounts of blood” on both of his hands so he was detained in handcuffs, a Leesburg police report states.
Officers then spoke with a woman inside Room 217 who was “visibly distraught.” She declined EMS treatment and said she would not provide a sworn, written statement. But she told officers that Arthur started arguing with her and accusing her of calling 911 for an incident between the two earlier in the evening, the report says.
The woman also told officers that Arthur “punched her in the face and choked her until she could no longer breathe.” She said her nose started bleeding and she “coughed up blood,” the report says.
Officers noted that the woman appeared to have swelling under her left eye and a small amount of blood inside both nostrils. No marks were found on her neck but blood was spotted on the bed in the room, the report says, adding the woman said she and Arthur have been in a “romantic relationship” for about a year.
The witness told officers that he confronted Arthur after seeing him put the woman in a chokehold. He said that prompted Arthur to take “a fighting stance” and attempt to hit him in the face. The witness said the punch “didn’t fully connect” and just “grazed his chin.” The witness also declined to provide a sworn statement and wouldn’t seek prosecution against Arthur, the report says.
Video surveillance provided by the hotel showed Arthur “throwing a punch” at the woman, grabbing her around the neck and pulling her into Room 217, then attempting to strike the witness before going back inside the room, the report says.
Arthur, who lives at 1306 S 14th St. in Leesburg, was taken into custody and charged with domestic battery by strangulation, battery (second or subsequent offense) and assault on a police officer. He is being held on $51,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in a Lake County courtroom on Feb. 19 at 8:30 a.m. to answer to the charges.