Suspect in Keys bat attack has a violent past

A Big Pine Key man with a history of violence was at it again this week, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Craig Veitinger, 19, of Avenue F was charged early Monday morning with aggravated battery, a felony, for allegedly beating another man with a metal baseball bat. He is being held in the Stock Island jail with no bail allowed.

The Sheriff's Office say he beat Max Sanchez, 22, so badly that Sanchez had to be airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. He suffered a broken arm and had head injuries, according to Deputy Andrew Hudson.

When Hudson arrested him at his house, he "smelled strongly of alcohol" and said Sanchez had hit him in the head. He said he "saw a bat on the ground but did not remember using it on Sanchez," Hudson wrote in his arrest report.

A 911 call came in at 11:50 p.m. Sunday — from Veitinger's house — but the caller hung up. Hudson went to the house, and a woman who lives there "told the deputy she called because there was a group of people outside her house. She said she hung up because the group left the area," Deputy Becky Herrin said.

As Hudson was leaving, he saw some people in the area and "one of them said there had been a fight. He said Craig Veitinger had been in the street with a baseball bat. He said [Sanchez] fled into the woods when Deputy Hudson showed up."

A few hours later, Hudson came upon Sanchez at Big Pine's Tom Thumb store, when a red Dodge Durango pulled up. Sanchez was a passenger and another man in the truck told Hudson "Sanchez had been hit several times with a baseball bat and might have a broken arm," Herrin said.

The others in the Durango said they "found Sanchez in the bushes on Avenue F, unresponsive," and said a possible suspect was at the Seahorse RV Park on County Road.

Witnesses there told Hudson "they saw Veitinger hit Sanchez repeatedly with a metal baseball bat," Herrin said. Hudson went to Veitinger's house, where he took him into custody.

Veitinger is no stranger to trouble.

On July 11, 2012, he was charged with misdemeanor battery and theft, and felony burglary. On Sept. 13, Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones withheld adjudication.

On Jan. 28 this year, he was charged with felony battery and misdemeanor obstructing justice. On April 19, Jones sentenced him to probation.

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