Couple charged in 'rare' mutual domestic battery case - FOX 13 News

Couple charged in 'rare' mutual domestic battery case

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

In June, 45-year old Ralph Monus's own security camera recorded 39-year old Melissa Egbert throwing acid in his face.

This week, a neighbor's security cameras recorded Monus grabbing Egbert by the throat, carrying her into the street and throwing her to the ground.

As Monus walks away, Egbert bounces up and hits him from behind. The next three minutes of video is filled with many angry words and a few physical exchanges.

Largo police eventually charged Monus with felony domestic battery by strangulation, and Egbert with misdemeanor domestic battery.

Largo Police Department's Frieda Widera called the situation a rarity.

"Probably about five to ten percent of domestic cases are ‘mutuals,' which means people are giving it as they're getting it," Widera said.

She added that such conflicts are very dangerous.

"Because they don't stop...And those are the cases that scare people in the community, scare family and friends because you can see it's like a time bomb," she said.

The victim's advocate did not offer much hope for the counseling that sometimes works in one-sided cases of domestic violence.

"When you have the two folks that are in that mutual situation, they don't believe they have a problem, they don't believe they need your help. They're argumentative with you so, it's difficult to engage them in change," Widera said.

She had not seen the video when she was interviewed by FOX 13 News, but suspected it would be useful for training police officers.

It could visually explain the difference between self-defense and battery.

"If you've got me in a corner and you're hitting me and I hit you to get out, that's self-defense" Widera said. "If, however, after I get out I follow you and I keep hitting you on the head as you walk away? No longer self-defense. It's easy to say that to someone, but when an officer can look at it in a video, it helps them to understand the nuances and the dynamics that are going on there."

Monus was charged with felony battery by strangulation and is free on $10,000 bond. Egbert was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.

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