Port Richey couple arrested in attack on homeless man

HUDSON — Two people offered $100 to a homeless man soliciting work on the roadside one afternoon. They asked him to help them move.

But when the man got in the car with Theresa Sylvester and Ronald Johal, an arrest report says, they drove him to a house and beat him, knocking out one of his teeth.

Sylvester, 35, and Johal, 25, who both live at 6735 El Camino Paloma Ave. in Port Richey, were arrested Thursday in the Nov. 19 attack. They face charges of aggravated battery and false imprisonment and were being held Friday in the Land O'Lakes jail. Sylvester, who was last arrested Dec. 14 on a simple battery charge, is also accused of violating her probation.

The victim, who was not named in the report, told a sheriff's deputy that he was standing at the intersection of Regency Park Boulevard and Embassy Drive when Sylvester and Johal drove up. He agreed to help them move for $100 and rode with them to a house on Frierson Lake Drive in Hudson. He said they told him to walk around the house and when he did, the couple began punching and kicking him. He tried to run, but they stopped him, the report says.

On Dec. 15, the deputy interviewed a witness at the Frierson Lake Drive house, who said that Johal and Sylvester told him that a homeless person had swung at their son and they planned to beat him up. The witness said when Johal and Sylvester arrived with the man, he told them to leave. But when the witness went out behind the house, the victim was lying on the ground with Sylvester holding his head down with her foot and Johal with his foot on the man's back.

The victim suffered several cuts and bruises to his face as well as the lost tooth, the report says.

Johal and Sylvester were questioned about the incident on Thursday, the report says, and admitted to the crimes.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Port Richey couple arrested in attack on homeless man 12/24/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 24, 2010 7:54pm]

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