Wednesday evening was busy for a St Augustine man and his wife; the husband had just been released from the St Johns County Detention Facility at 4:15 p.m. and returned to his home on Bernard Street to fix dinner for himself. Twice the police would be called to the residence that night; and, by 11:00 p.m., they would take a trip back to jail, this time with the wife.
About 9:47 p.m., Officer Chris Raley responded to a call that a female could be heard screaming and crying inside the residence. Upon arrival, officers met with 49-year-old Lin Li, who invited them inside. Li told police that her husband had been arrested on the 17th and released earlier that day. Li said that she came home to find her husband was in the kitchen cooking; which she said upset her and they began to argue.
Raley asked Li if any physical altercation occurred. She responded “no”, and told the officer that her husband left the residence. According to the incident report, Officer Raley did not observe any physical marks on Li that would indicate a physical altercation between her and her husband, so the officers left the area.
Minutes later, at about 10:08, the husband appeared at the police station located at 151 King Street in St Augustine. He was described as “sweating” and Officer Raley says he observed “several red abrasions” along the husband’s neck — running along the left side down through the middle of his neck. Raley also observed and photographed several red abrasions on the husband’s chest.
His explanation of the events since his release from jail that evening told a somewhat different story.
The victim said that his wife and he began to argue about money while he was cooking dinner. The argument escalated to screaming, which likely resulted in the calls to police.
The husband said that he felt “it would be best” if he left the residence, and he did.
As he was leaving, the victim reported that Li scratched and clawed at his neck choking him to the extent that he had trouble breathing. The victim described how Li got her fingernails under his windpipe making it difficult to breathe. He reportedly grabbed his food and tried to get around his wife, but she scratched, punched, and jabbed him in the chest with a small wooden object. Eventually, the victim escaped the residence and while he was attempting to get into his truck, he told police that Li attempted to rip the rear view mirror off the outside of the vehicle. The husband said that he could not call 9-1-1 because his wife had taken his mobile phone and thrown it to an unknown location. He said he drove the truck to his aunt’s home and walked to the police station.
Raley returned to the Bernard Street residence and once again made contact with the Li, but this time, he placed her under arrest. Li is charged felony battery by strangulation and simple battery against her husband. She remains in custody today in lieu of $2,000 bond.