March 8, 2011

Man arrested for sexual battery, false imprisonment

Stock Island – A Stock Island man is under arrest, charged with holding a woman against her will, choking her and raping her.

The incident took place at an apartment on Front Street, Stock island, on March 3rd. The 38 year old victim called her sister two days after she was attacked and told her what happened. The sister then called the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident.

Deputies first met with her Saturday and the case was assigned to Detective Manuel Cuervo. The victim told the detective she’d met the suspect, 38 year old John Merrone, at a bar on Front Street at about 11 p.m. the night of March 3rd. She said they talked for about an hour, and she mentioned she was looking for a place to rent. She said he offered his place, which was located nearby. He offered to show it to her and she agreed.

Once at the apartment, he showed her the bedroom. She said he began taking off his clothes and kissing her. She said she told him she wasn’t interested, but he grabbed her. She said he removed her clothing and, when she fought him, he choked her and raped her. During the attack, she tried to use her phone, but he took it from her. She finally broke free from him, grabbed her clothing and her purse and ran, naked, outside.

According to Detective Cuervo, the victim had injuries consistent with her account of what happened. Her eyes had hemorrhaging in their blood vessels from being choked; she had bruising to her arms, legs and neck from being held down and from fighting off the suspect. Her toe was broken because at one point during the attack she said he grabbed her foot as she tried to get away.

An employee at the bar recalled seeing the two of them talking, and remembered the suspect had put a business card into a bowl at the bar. The employee said he is a regular at the bar, and is known to everyone there as “Captain John” from his charter boat business.

Using that information, Detective Cuervo showed the victim a photo lineup which included a picture of Merrone. She identified him as her attacker.

On Monday, a warrant was issued for Merrone’s arrest. He was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center on charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment and aggravated battery.

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