By Joe Johnson
An Athens man was arrested this week for allegedly beating, strangling and threatening his girlfriend with a gun during a domestic dispute, Athens-Clarke County police said.
Sean Carlton Smith, 28, of Ramona Road was charged with family violence battery and two counts of aggravated assault, according to a police incident report.
Officers responded to Smith’s home at about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday to investigate his 25-year-old girlfriend’s complaint that she and Smith had been drinking and got into an altercation in which he allegedly pulled her hair and hit and choked her while pointing a gun, according to the report.
The woman ran across the street to another home where she called 911.
When questioned, Smith reportedly told police that he and the victim, who had been living with him for a couple of days got into an argument over money and his ex-girlfriend.
He said he suspected one of the victim’s friends had stolen one of his guns to try and sell it back to him, and the victim “was trying to get him and his buddies to go retaliate for the matter, “but he insisted that they just let it go and ‘charge it to the game’” according to the report.
Smit related that they argued over the matter and the dispute escalated into a physical altercation in which the victim hit him in the face and they started to wrestle, according to the report.
Smith claimed that before the victim called 911, he had been packing up his car, “wanting to leave town in fear that she would get somebody she knew in town to ‘ride on him,’ meaning to rob or kill him, according to the report.
Smith told officers that he was recently arrested for possession of cocaine and that the victim had been using the drug prior to the altercation, according to the report.
The report noted that Smith’s car was filled with luggage while officers were on the scene.
When officers interviewed the victim, she said that the couple were arguing about money and Smith’s ex-girlfriend, and when things got physical Smith “while he was grabbing her by the throat several times, she was not able to breathe and felt as if she was going to lose consciousness at one point,” according to the report.
“She told me that he was on top of her and his hands(were) around her neck trying to choke her, when he reached into his waistline and grabbed something,” an officer wrote in the report. “He put a hard, metal object to the back of her head” which she believed to be the purple handgun Smith carries.
The gun was located in the living room, the report noted.
During his interview Smith admitted to tackling the victim and wrestling with her after she hit him in the face, and when asked if he ever put his hands around the victim’s neck, “he paused and replied, ‘yea maybe,’” according to the report.
The only injury to Smith that officers observed was a small scratch on his hand, according to the report, but there was discoloration around one of the victim’s eyes, her bottom lip was swollen, there were red marks on her throat, and had a bite mark on her arm, according to the police report.
The woman declined medical treatment, and police drove her to her mother’s home while Smith was taken to jail.
He was released the following day upon posting good security bonds totaling $2,000, according to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.
Anyone who is in an abusive relationship can seek advice and services by calling Project Safe’s 24-hour hotline at (706) 543-3331, or by visiting http://www.project-safe.org.