Accused of grabbing wife by her face, then beating deputies while 'not of rational mind'

Accused of grabbing wife by her face, then beating deputies while ‘not of rational mind’

(As originally published, Mon, February 5th 2024)

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (TND) — A man was booked into jail wearing a hospital gown after being accused of battery on his wife and then two sheriff’s deputies who arrived to arrest him.

The trouble started with an argument in the couple’s driveway, last Sunday, Jan. 28.

The victim told Hernando County deputies in Florida that Morris Eugene Clayton, who goes by Eugene, was “claiming she was cheating on him constantly.

“[The victim] advised, ‘I’m 61 years old. I’m too old to cheat on anybody.’”

According to the deputies’ report, she walked across the street to her neighbor’s driveway, “to diffuse the situation,” but her husband followed and the argument continued.

“[The victim] explained Eugene then physically grabbed her by the face with both hands,” the report said. “[The victim] advised when Eugene did this, she then pushed him away to defend herself.”

Eventually, he walked away but the neighbor heard the commotion and witnessed the violence.

The report said Clayton told the deputies, “He got into a verbal argument with [the victim] earlier today, due to her cheating on him on a regular basis.”

Then, she went to the neighbor’s.

“I then asked Eugene if he actually physically touched [the victim].

“Eugene stated, ‘She’s just trying to get me arrested.’

“Eugene would not admit to physically battering [the victim].

“I then informed Eugene that a witness observed him physically battering [the victim].

“At this point, while attempting to place Eugene under arrest, he physically resisted and battered deputies,” and there’s a whole separate report on that incident.

The second report was written by the other deputy since the first got the brunt of the injuries and was taken to a hospital.

It picked up a few hours later, after Clayton “had already fled the scene prior to our arrival,” and it said he agreed to meet back home about an hour later, since “he claimed to have driven all the way to the south Tampa area.”

Clayton returned and the deputy writing met up with them after the first “asked for routine backup because he was likely going to make the arrest on Gene for domestic battery.”

The deputy wrote about arriving to find them speaking in the driveway.

“I noticed Gene was acting and speaking irrationally, primarily due to his quick, twitchy movements and overly animated hand gestures, and loud tone of voice,” the report said.

“Gene was stating that the last time deputies responded to his residence was because he was being taken into custody under an ex parte [protective] order, and that he was seeing unknown subjects inside his residence at night, standing over him, watching him as he slept.

“Gene was attempting to show [the deputy] pornographic videos on the internet (from his phone) that he believed depicted his wife [name] the victim in the original case.”

They gave him a sworn statement form and he filled it out inside, then returned a few minutes later and “the plan was to place Gene into custody.”

Accused of grabbing wife by her face, then beating deputies while 'not of rational mind'
Morris Eugene Clayton was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting with violence, Jan. 29, 2024. (Lake Co. Sheriff’s Office)

The report said the deputy told Gene “he was under arrest for the battery against [the victim].

“Simultaneously, while standing on either side of Gene, I attempted to grab Gene’s right arm while [the other deputy] grabbed his left arm, to ultimately place him into handcuffs.

“Gene was clearly not of rational mind and appeared to me to be under heavy narcotics use.”

Clayton was described as 6’01” tall and weighing 220 lbs. when he was arrested that night, and this report said he “pulled from our grip, pushed me backward, and began running toward his vehicle, which was only about 10 feet from where we were standing.

“I deployed my agency-issued taser, gave a loud verbal warning, and deployed it into Gene’s rear side.

“I noticed the bottom prong did not connect and quickly deployed the second cartridge.

“Gene screamed for a second, turned around to pull the connected prong from his back, and continued running to the driver seat of the truck.

“Gene slammed the truck door, which was parked only a couple feet from a large wooden privacy fence, leaving next to no room for me to maneuver in between.

“Simultaneously, [the other deputy] ran to the passenger side of the vehicle, opened the front passenger door, and from what he later advised me, was attempting to pull the vehicle’s keys from the ignition.

“Before I could get in the driver door of the truck, I heard the engine turn over.

“Fearing Gene would attempt to kill either myself or [the other deputy] utilizing the truck to run us over, I drew my agency-issued Glock 45.

“However, because the rear windows of the truck were extremely tinted, in that moment, I could not clearly determine if [the other deputy] was still at all inside the cab of the truck, on that passenger side, opposite of me.

“All within a few seconds, the truck was put in reverse, and the truck began quickly moving backwards, nearly striking me.

“As it backed out of the way of the truck, it sped in reverse, backwards out of the driveway, nearly also striking my agency patrol vehicle.”

They got into their cars and tried to chase Clayton, but he lost them.

They returned to the house where the deputy told his partner “that Gene punched him in the face when he first attempted to take the keys from the ignition.

“Gene also struck [the other deputy] with the vehicle in question when backing up in the driveway, injuring his right hip and lower back areas.”

That 54-year-old deputy was taken to the hospital.

Clayton was arrested after a traffic stop in Lake County that night.

Records show Clermont police gave him tickets for not staying in his lane and for having a problem with a taillight.

Both citations were given at 9:25 p.m.

Jail records show he was arrested at 2:53 a.m. and booked at 3:42 a.m. No details were given about what he was wearing.

Clayton, 45, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting with violence.

He’s still in jail in Lake County, not having been returned to Hernando County, where he’s also expected to face a domestic battery charge.

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