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Criminal Corner 20

‘He deserved it.’ Bradenton man beats neighbor

(Editor’s note: The following weekly roundup of criminal activity in Manatee County contains reports of domestic violence, which are at times dropped or dismissed by the victims before the first court date.)

Manatee Herald Staff Report

A 63-year-old man claiming to be an employee of the Salvation Army pepper sprayed and beat a neighbor, telling police that the victim “deserved it,” according to the Bradenton Police Department.

Police say the attack on the victim occurred on the afternoon of Sept. 18 just after 5 p.m. in the 1500 block of 19th Avenue West.

According to the arrest report, Eugene Widner confronted the victim on his property for unknown reasons, at which time he pepper sprayed him, punched him multiple times and kicked him while he was on the ground.

Police say Widner additionally tried to gouge the victim’s eyes out.

Widner was charged with causing bodily harm and remains in custody without bond for having his bond revoked on an unrelated charge.

Concern over his drug use leads to violence

A dispute over Calvin Merisier’s drug use led him to savagely attack a female, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say the 45-year-old Mersier was confronted by the victim over his drug use just before 11 p.m. on the night of Sept. 15 in the 5900 block of Third Avenue Northwest in Bradenton.

According to the arrest report, Merisier pushed the victim and she slapped him back in self defense. Deputies say Merisier launched into a rage punching the victim several times in the face and pushed her violently to the ground.

The violence caused a large gash on the back of the victim’s head and she suffered a busted lip and swollen eye.

Deputies say Merisier also got on top of the victim, forcing his arm into her throat to the point where she could not breathe.

According to the report, Merisier then tried to apologize and clean the victim up, but when she grabbed her phone to call 911, he began punching her in the face again.

The victim managed to flee into the kitchen where she armed herself with two kitchen knives. Deputies say Merisier continued to approach her and was subsequently stabbed in the abdomen for his efforts.

The stabbing resulted in the need for surgery and both required medical treatment.

Merisier was arrested and charged with felony battery and domestic battery by strangulation.

Pushing a pregnant woman is not OK

A 28-year-old Bradenton man is facing a battery on a pregnant woman charge after an argument broke out just before 11 p.m. on Sept. 20, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say the victim told law enforcement that Christian Arocho had come home drunk, entered their bedroom and shoved her to the floor against a wall.

Deputies say the incident occurred in the 5900 block of 30th Avenue West and that the violence had been sparked by an earlier argument regarding her misplacing his car keys.

According to the arrest report, Arocho was well aware the victim was pregnant.

Murder at local apartment complex

A 48-year-old Bradenton man was arrested on Sept. 22 for a fatal shooting that occurred on Sept. 20, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to a shooting at the Venue of Lockwood Apartments, 3214 54th Drive E. on Sept. 20 where they met with the victim’s girlfriend, who is also the daughter Charles Heaven Jr., who has been charged with second degree murder.

According to the arrest warrant and witness statements, Heaven arrived unannounced after an apparent physical confrontation between his daughter and Keith Smith.

Deputies say Heaven argued with Smith before pulling a firearm and shooting twice, hitting Smith on the left side of his body.

Smith was transported to Blake Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.

Heaven was booked into the Manatee County jail on the murder charge and remains in custody without bond.

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