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St. Pete Man Facing Federal Charges After Allegedly Claiming To Attempt Spreading COVID-19 To Police


A St. Petersburg man already facing charges of domestic battery from Pinellas County authorities is now charged with a Federal count of perpetrating a biological hoax after police say he coughed and spit on them while claiming to be infected with COVID-19.

The 31-year-old man first came to the attention of police when his girlfriend said he violently battered her late last month. Police say he responded negatively to them as well, allegedly coughing on an officer and claiming to be infected with coronavirus. The arresting officer warned him that another such comment would lead to additional charges, and he was transported to the Pinellas County Jail to be charged.

The defendant was released the next day upon posting bail, and the court ordered him to steer clear of his girlfriend. However, officers say they saw him at the woman's apartment again, prompting his second arrest in as many days.

The defendant did not go quietly per officers, allegedly violently resisting arrest and attempting to flee even in handcuffs. He was eventually shackled after police say he tried to break out a window in the police cruiser, and they say he continued to bang his head against the door after being restrained further and pepper sprayed.

According to the arresting officer, the defendant spit upon her, with saliva particles striking her face and entering her mouth. Upon noticing the presence of blood in the spit, the defendant allegedly again admitted to being infected with coronavirus and intentionally attempting to spread it. A subsequent test for COVID-19 came back negative, say police.

The Florida native was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on state charges of false imprisonment - domestic, felony domestic battery, threat to a law enforcement officer, criminal mischief, violation of isolation or quarantine, resisting an officer with violence, and violation of pre-trial release, and a Federal charge of biological hoax. He continues to be held without bond.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.

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