Gainesville man charged with punching nurse, then spitting on detention officer


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Robert Lee Stephens, 50, was arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of battery on an emergency medical care provider; he was later charged with battery on a detention officer after allegedly spitting on an officer at the jail.

Stephens was a patient at Shands Vista when he reportedly became combative while nurses and other medical staff tried to give him a medication around 3:00 p.m. yesterday. They reportedly tried multiple de-escalation attempts but eventually had to restrain him. After the medication was administered, Stephens allegedly jumped up and punched a nurse in the head and then again on his shoulder.

Later in the day, a detention officer at the Alachua County Jail reported that after he denied a request from Stephens to read some paperwork to him, Stephens spit on him.

Stephens was previously acquitted in 2002 in a different case by reason of insanity. He was referred on June 16, 2022, for a mental evaluation in another battery case in which he allegedly attacked an employee at a blood plasma donation center when he was told he could not donate.

He is being held on $30,000 bail.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.