Police: Florida man gropes, punches woman at bar; dies in fall

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Man Gropes, Punches Woman; Dies In Fall

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Florida man faces manslaughter charges after a confrontation with a woman in a Daytona Beach bar that stemmed from allegations that he groped her.

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Police say Michael Lamothe, 35, punched the 54-year-old victim, causing her to hit her head, USA Today reports.

Debra Jost died in a hospital one day after the Saturday incident at the Oyster Bay bar. Lamothe was arrested Wednesday and held in the Volusia County Jail without bail.

A 911 call was released by police and posted by USA Today. "We need an ambulance and we need a first responder here," a caller says. "Some guy just walked into the bar and punched one of the girls in the face and knocked her right down. She hit her head pretty bad, she's bleeding really good."

When police arrived, they found Jost on the ground with "a laceration on the back of her head" and "blood coming from her nose and mouth," a charging affidavit says. An autopsy was planned to determine exactly how she died.

The problems started, witnesses told police, when Lamothe arrived and hugged Jost from behind, grabbing her breasts. She told him to "get off of her," according to the affidavit, and Lamothe was told to leave. Lamothe started a brawl, police said, then left the bar.

He later returned and threw the fatal punch, police said. Lamothe hit Jost in the face with a closed fist, knocking her down, according to witnesses.

A police spokesman said he wasn't charged with murder because "we can't prove anybody knew the punch would cause her to fall and hit her head."

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