In Florida, any violent acts between family members or people in a relationship can be considered domestic violence. Domestic violence is not confined to men abusing women; men can be victims and women can be perpetrators. As if to illustrate this, a recent news story out of Pensacola described how a woman allegedly beat her ex-boyfriend with his own artificial leg.

The violence arose out of a child custody dispute. The woman and the ex-boyfriend had joint custody of their two-year-old son. According to allegations in a news release by the sheriff’s office, the woman showed up at the man’s house to pick up the child, but the ex-boyfriend refused to give up the child. Earlier in the day the woman had threatened to put the man “six feet under.” The man called the police, but in the meantime the woman reached through a window and grabbed the child. When the man ran to the woman’s car to get the boy back, he was met by two men who beat him with a pipe and a wooden shaft. The woman then pulled off the man’s prosthetic leg and began beating him with it. The man was able to get away, but the woman then pulled out a shotgun and threatened him.

The woman, who has a prior criminal record, was placed under arrest and charged with battery, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and interference with child custody.

Domestic violence charges can carry serious consequences. In a melee like this, it can be hard for authorities to sort out what really happened. In a chaotic, violent scene, witnesses will often have very different recollections of who hit whom and when. Defense counsel can often use these inconsistencies to convince a jury that the prosecution has not met its burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: Huffington Post, “Jadian Faye-Marie Hatfield Beat Ex-Boyfriend Brandon Fleming With His Prosthetic Limb,” Sept. 13, 2012

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