[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 12/14/19]
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LEESBURG, Florida — A man who poured red food coloring in his mouth and sliced his own arm in an effort to frame his neighbor was arrested Thursday for stalking and filing a false report.
According to an arrest affidavit, James Edward Conrad, 84, of Leesburg, called Lake County Sheriff’s deputies and reported his neighbor cut him with a knife and punched him in the mouth following a verbal altercation at the neighborhood dumpster.
The deputy observed a 3 to 4 inch laceration on Conrad’s arm and what appeared to be blood coming from the corners of his mouth, according to the affidavit. Conrad was turned over to Lake EMS for treatment.
The arresting deputy interviewed Conrad’s neighbor, who previously was arrested for battery against Conrad and is a respondent in an injunction. The neighbor told the deputy since he was arrested for punching Conrad in November, Conrad has repeatedly driven by his home, shouted profanities at him and parked at the nearby dumpsters and spied on him. The neighbor had an alibi for the time of the alleged attack — he was on the phone.
Two witnesses corroborated the neighbor’s alibi and said they were on the phone with him between 4:53 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.; the attack was reported at 5:15 p.m. One witness also backed the neighbor’s claim that Conrad was harassing and spying on him.
The deputy returned to Conrad’s home, where he was still being treated by EMS. In better lighting, the deputy could see the red liquid coming from Conrad’s mouth was not blood, it was food coloring. The deputy accused Conrad of lying and Conrad admitted he made the whole story up, so the neighbor would have to move.
Conrad was taken to AdventHealth Waterman to treat the self-inflicted cut on his arm and after being medically cleared, he was arrested and taken to the Lake County Jail and gained release Friday on $6,000 bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. In addition, she has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]