BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – George Richardson, 63, was arrested yesterday and charged with felony battery (repeat offender), possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a college, trafficking in phenethylamines, carrying a concealed weapon during a felony, and possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon after allegedly pushing a woman after they had gotten off an RTS bus.
At about 9:15 p.m. last night, Richardson and a woman he had known for about 13 years were engaged in a verbal argument on the bus. When the woman got off at 1250 W. University Avenue and began walking away, Richardson reportedly started walking toward her and yelling at her. The woman told a Gainesville Police Department officer that when she turned around, Richardson hit her on the side of her face with an unknown object. She said she fell to the ground and didn’t remember anything else until bystanders came to her aid.
A man matching the description given by the victim approached the officer while he was speaking to the victim, and she identified him as the man who had hit her.
A witness reportedly said Richardson hit the woman with a closed fist and then hit her with his duffel bag; the witness said Richardson walked away and then returned with a knife tucked into his sleeve. The witness said that when he asked Richardson if he had a knife, Richardson said, “Damn right I do.”
Another witness said Richardson hit the woman with a duffel bag, and she fell to the ground. He said he saw Richardson holding a long knife as he walked away but that he did not threaten anybody with the knife.
A search incident to arrest reportedly produced 157.8 grams of synthetic cathinone, and Richardson was a little over 500 feet away from the Heavener School of Business at the University of Florida at the time. He also reportedly had a fixed blade knife, about 12 inches in length, in his pocket.
Post Miranda, Richardson reportedly denied hitting the victim but said it was possible that his bag came into contact with the victim. He said the victim had tripped and fallen and that he always carries a knife for protection. He reportedly said he found the synthetic cathinone in a trash can at a gas station on SW 16th Avenue and that an unidentified man had told him where to find it.
Richardson, whose address is listed as GRACE Marketplace, has nine felony convictions and has served two state prison sentences for selling cocaine. He is also facing a sworn complaint for shoplifting over $300 in merchandise from Walmart. Judge Thomas Jaworski set bail at $80,000.
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.