[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 08/07/20]
MINNEOLA, Florida — A Minneola man threatened a female relative with a knife July 24, after accusing her of trying to give him COVID-19.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a home on Pearl Street in Minneola shortly after 7 p.m. July 24 on a report of a disturbance involving a knife, according to an arrest affidavit.
The victim, who was crying and visibly upset, told deputies Joseph Randolph Branum, 25, had just woken up from a nap when he walked into the kitchen and began to yell at her about COVID-19 and accused her of trying to get him sick. A second female relative in the home does have COVID-19, but is self-isolating in her bedroom, the deputy noted in the affidavit.
Branum continued to scream at the victim and allegedly grabbed a steak knife from a kitchen drawer. The victim said Branum swung the knife towards her face like he was swinging a baseball bat, coming within 6 inches of her face, yelling, “I will take care of you,” according to the affidavit. The victim then ran into a bedroom, locked the door, and called for help.
The second female relative told the arresting deputy she heard Branum threaten the victim and he has threatened both with a knife in the past, though they did not call law enforcement, according to the affidavit.
Branum was charged with aggravated domestic assault with a deadly weapon and continues to be held at the Lake County Jail on $25,000 bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. 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]