[PHOTO CREDIT: iStock / Ocskaymark]
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[Original Publish Date: 10/13/19]
LADY LAKE, Florida – Henry James Smith, 70, landed in jail Thursday after his wife landed in the hospital. He was charged with battery by strangulation and battery on a person 65 years of age or older after his wife’s injuries came to light – “severe bruising all over her face, arms, and neck area”, according to a police report. Smith’s arrest affidavit states that during a post-Miranda interview at his home he “stated that it is very stressful and aggravating always having to take care of his wife due to her dementia. He stated that he tries to keep his cool but sometimes he cannot control himself.”
Sharon Smith accused her husband of battering her several times in recent weeks, according to police. “The victim stated that [the first time] the defendant punched her in the face just above the bridge of the nose. The victim stated the second time happened in the kitchen when she got into an argument with the defendant at which time, the defendant grabbed her by the arms and started to shake her violently. The defendant then placed his hands around the victims[‘] throat and began to choke her”, the arrest affidavit states.
Ironically, Smith was the one who took his wife to Villages Regional Hospital – citing “constipation issues” – but doctors and nurses quickly saw the extent of the victim’s injuries “and asked her husband to leave the hospital for the victim[‘]s safety”, police noted. (The victim’s CAT scan “showed she suffered from soft tissue hematoma, internal cranial hemorrhaging, an intensive swelling to the scalp and forehead area.”)
At first, Smith gave police an account of his wife’s injuries that ranged from ‘accidental’ to ‘self inflicted.’ According to the affidavit, “The defendant stated that the bruising on the victim[‘]s face is from his elbow. He stated that he was in the yard raking leaves and she walked up behind him without him knowing and he accidentally elbowed her in the face. The defendant also stated the bruises on the victim[‘]s arms are self inflicted due to her always pinching herself. I then asked the defendant about the bruising on the victim[‘]s throat at which time he told me that he had no clue where that came from.”
When Smith was initially booked into the Lake County Jail, bond was set at “None” – however he was subsequently released on a $12,000 bond.
James Hope is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer who has been practicing criminal law in Tavares, Florida, since 1987. He has also been the Publisher and Executive Editor of Lake Legal News since 2009. He may be contacted at LakeLegalNews@gmail.com, or through his website at www.AttorneyJamesHope.com. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]