Credit: Leiya R.

Punta Gorda Isles man faces charges after hurling racial slurs, spitting on woman

A Punta Gorda Isles man is facing charges after two women said he shouted racial slurs at them and spit in one’s face.

The encounter happened when the women were picking mangoes. They said Donald Mueller stopped his car, yelled a slew of obscenities, then let his spit fly.

“When he screamed at me ‘Black lives don’t matter,’ I was beyond myself,” said Leiya R., of Volusia County.

“And then physically spit in my face.”

Leiya said that while visiting her hometown and cousin Katrina in Punta Gorda Isles on Tuesday, they picked some mangoes up off the ground of a yard. The homeowner where the mango tree is planted gave the two women permission, but when Mueller, a neighbor, saw the pair, he thought they took the fruit from his tree two blocks away and got angry.

“I don’t know the man, I’ve never seen him before,” Katrina said.

Leiya captured the confrontation on video, which shows Mueller yelling obscenities, racial slurs and spitting in her face.

Mueller faces charges of burglary and battery as well as a hate crime charge. He has been released on a $2,000 bond.

Leiya hopes that sharing their story will promote unity.

“We’re the human race. We should all come together and work on this issue together.”

Mueller’s attorney John Lucas said the police report doesn’t represent the facts. He said his client was looking out for his neighbor, as they are both victims of mango theft.

Lucas said Mueller was “over-charged” and that he shouldn’t have been charged with burglary, as he was breaking up one.

Statement from attorney Jason Lucas, The Lucas Law Firm:

“I have read the police report and most of the facts represented in the police report are not actually what happened. It’s a one-sided statement given to the police by two women who are actually committing a burglary themselves. They were there without the permission of the homeowners who are friends with my client, and were stealing mangoes from their tree. I’ve confirmed with my client’s friends, who are snowbirds in Michigan, that the two women had no permission to be on their property and take their mangoes. My client and that neighbor have had mangoes stolen in the past so Mr. Mueller was simply looking out for his neighbor’s property when he confronted them. An alleged battery ensued but for him to be charged with burglary himself, when he was breaking up a burglary, is an extreme case of overcharging. I look forward to all of the facts coming out and assisting him in clearing his name.”

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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