Thursday, April 26, 2018
Public safety

Deputies: After taking synthetic pot, Safety Harbor man attacked his mother

SAFETY HARBOR — A man attacked his mother inside their home Monday afternoon. Authorities say he may have been under the influence of synthetic drugs.

Victoria Payne, 65, of Safety Harbor, was washing dishes around 2:30 p.m. when her 22-year-old son, Robert, who lives with her, walked in the kitchen. He put his hands around her neck and choked her, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say Victoria Payne smashed a plate against her son's head. He picked up a piece of the broken plate and slashed his mother's throat, the Sheriff's Office said.

The two, both with minor injuries, ran outside. Roofers working on a neighbor's house called authorities. Mother and son were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

It's unclear why the attack started, but deputies say Robert Payne told them he had taken synthetic drugs and mentioned K2 and Spice — brand names for synthetic marijuana.

The investigation continues, and deputies say they plan to charge Robert Payne in the attack. Jail records show Clearwater police arrested him in August on a misdemeanor charge of carrying an open container of alcohol.

This year, state lawmakers banned many of the chemicals found in synthetic pot, and Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri pledged in July to aggressively enforce the ban. The drug flared in popularity when it was sold in many convenience stores.

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