Horrific details are emerging in the case of a former University of Florida freshman football player.
Court records show that Justin Watkins, a top recruit who was kicked off the team as a result of his arrest, is being charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery causing bodily harm and two third-degree felonies — false imprisonment of an adult and domestic battery by strangulation.
First Coast News in Florida was the first to obtain the incident report, which says the former Gator punched an 18-year-old woman several times in the face, choked her and held her against her will.
The report says Watkins was upset when he saw one of his teammates “liking” the woman’s photos on Instagram.
The woman reportedly said she had never met the other player, but Watkins became enraged and didn’t believe her.
Watkins insisted the woman call the other player via Facetime, and he asked if they knew each other; the player responded they did not. At that point, according to the report, Watkins yelled, “If you don’t tell the truth, I’ll kill her.”
This was when the ugliness turned violent.
“Watkins threw the phone down, and pinned [redacted] to the bed again,” the incident report said. “He began to choke [redacted] with both hands from a mounted position with his legs on either side of her waist. Watkins was on top, [redacted] laying on her back. According to [redacted] Watkins was aware [redacted] had asthma. He strangled her with two clasped hands around her throat cutting off her airway for about 15 seconds. He then paused, and continued strangling her for about 8 seconds, paused again, and then about 8 more seconds. Watkins got off of her and said ‘get out.’ [redacted] wanted to leave, but Watkins was blocking the doorway preventing her exit.”
The victim was briefly able to escape by spraying her attacker with mace, but he chased her down the stairs, throwing objects — including a wooden hair brush — at her, causing bleeding in her left hand.
Watkins was arrested in May for allegedly kicking a woman’s car and breaking her cellphone in an argument. (Details are unclear if it’s the same woman). He also was charged with trespassing at a high school that same month.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Watkins has been released on $40,000 bond in the latest incident and is prohibited from having contact with the victim.
Watkins was one of new head coach Dan Mullen’s top recruits in the Class of 2018 out of Clermont East Ridge High School in Florida. He was ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 89 player in the nation and No. 20 in Florida.
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) February 7, 2018
After being thrown off the football team, he said he has left the school to “better my opportunities.”
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