DOCUMENT: Florida, Crime

More Trouble For "Florida Man" Poster Boy

Tattooed suspect, 23, busted for choking mother

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Man, Florida Man

NOVEMBER 3--The Florida Man who has a silhouette of the Sunshine State tattooed on his forehead is facing a felony charge for allegedly throttling his mother inside the travel trailer where he resides, according to court records.

Investigators allege that Matthew Leatham, 23, wrapped his arm around his mother’s neck, “constricting her airflow to the point she ‘faded out.’”

Pictured above, Leatham, who is free on $10,000 bond, is scheduled for a November 17 pretrial hearing in connection with a criminal information charging him with domestic battery by strangulation, a felony carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence.

As detailed in a complaint affidavit, the 39-year-old victim was recently attacked inside Leatham’s residence at the Lakewood Travel Park in Hudson, a city about 45 miles north of Tampa. The woman told police she had gone to her son’s home to pick him up and drive him to work.

Upon arriving at the trailer around 2:40 PM, the victim said, her son was “intoxicated and lying down on his bed.” When she woke him, Leatham stated, “I can’t do this anymore, I’m just going to kill you,” cops charge. Leatham allegedly then threw a large television at his mother, who “attempted to flee from the small quarters of the travel trailer.”

Leatham, the affidavit states, “grabbed [his mother] around the neck” in a headlock and began to choke her. The victim told police she “felt like that was it” and she “faded out.” The woman added that she made it to the trailer’s doorway and kicked the door open and called for neighbors to dial 911.

Police who interviewed the woman spotted “noticeable redness to her neck and throat area” and several scratches around her neck and face.

When cops arrived at the scene, Leatham initially barricaded himself inside the trailer. After exiting the residence, he claimed his mother had “started the altercation” by “putting her hands on him” when she woke him. Leatham, cops added, also said that he would fight law enforcement officers and referred to himself as a “serial killer.”

Leatham, who works as a cook, first appeared in these pages in February following his arrest for misuse of the 911 system and marijuana possession (charges for which he later pleaded no contest and was ordered to pay about $500 in fines and court costs).  (2 pages)