A Summerfield man found himself behind bars Sunday after a nasty spat with his lady friend near an Ocala motel.
Marion County sheriff’s deputies responded to the RaceTrac gas station at 3040 S. Pine Ave. in Ocala and made contact with 37-year-old Peter John Medico Jr. and the victim, who were sitting at the outside tables. Medico told deputies that there was no issue and the couple had just been arguing, a sheriff’s office report states.
Medico said he and the victim had walked to the RaceTrac from the nearby Queen’s Gardens Resort motel to get breakfast and got into a verbal altercation because they are homeless and struggling financially, the report says.
A witness told deputies that he was sitting at the traffic light at S. Pine Avenue and S.E. 32nd Street when he saw Medico and the victim arguing. The witness said Medico dropped his backpack, took off his shirt and started choking the victim with both hands. The witness said he and another motorist stopped and started yelling at the two to stop fighting.
The witness said Medico let go of the victim and she started walking toward the RaceTrac. He said Medico put his shirt back on and started following her so he called law enforcement for help and then went to the RaceTrac to keep an eye on Medico until deputies arrived.
The victim told deputies there were “no problems” and she was only involved in a verbal altercation with Medico. Paramedics from Marion County Fire Rescue responded to check out the victim due to the allegation of strangulation but she declined medical assistance.
After being read his rights, Medico admitted that he and the victim were arguing while walking toward the RaceTrac and “he did throw his bags down and remove his shirt.” But he denied putting his hands on the victim.
After a computer check revealed that Medico has multiple prior battery convictions, he was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was charged with battery (second or subsequent offense). He was released Monday on his own recognizance and is due in court March 30 at 9 a.m. to answer to the charge, jail records show.