Florida Keys

Keys man arrested after deputies say he attacked a woman in her home

A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy cuffs Giovanni Alberto Fernandez after his arrest on battery, kidnapping and armed burglary charges Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.
A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy cuffs Giovanni Alberto Fernandez after his arrest on battery, kidnapping and armed burglary charges Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives caught a man suspected in a violent home invasion in Marathon last weekend.

Giovanni Alberto Fernandez, 25, was arrested Thursday on a warrant on battery, false imprisonment and armed burglary charges, five days after a woman said she was attacked in her home as she lay in bed. Monroe County Judge Ruth Becker set his bond at $510,000.

The attack happened some time after the victim’s husband left the house on St. James Road around 5:20 a.m., according to Detective Leon Bourcier’s report. She heard the front door open and then looked to the bedroom doorway and saw the silhouette of a man standing there wearing a rag over his face, shorts and a baseball hat.

He was also wearing rubber gloves. He jumped on her in bed, turned her over and put a cloth over her face, telling her to “shut up,” and demanding “the money.” The two struggled and ended up on the floor and eventually the living room, all while the attacker had the woman in a choke hold, according to Bourcier’s report.

When she was able to turn around, the woman kicked the man in the groin area. He then pulled her by the hair toward the front door and tried to bolt it locked, the victim told detectives. She was able to reach up, grab him by the groin and pull. In response, the man grabbed a seashell from a small table and was about to strike her with it, but instead, he ran out the front door.

Giovanni Fernandez.jpg
Giovanni Fernandez MCSO

The attacker left behind a blue Pelagic brand fishing hat.

Detectives reviewed body camera footage from a traffic stop earlier that morning. A deputy pulled over a red Ford pickup with three men inside. The truck had a loud exhaust and “after-market rims.” The driver of the truck, Fernandez, was wearing a Pelagic hat of the same color described by the woman, as well as the same color shirt and shorts as she described.

Fernandez told the deputy he and his friends were coming home from the Brass Monkey bar.

Detectives also reviewed security camera footage from the Sister’s Creek Town Homes, near St. James Road. The footage shows a red Ford truck leaving 25th Street around 6:20 a.m. on the same day. It then shows a man riding a bicycle wearing the same color baseball hat, shorts and shirt Fernandez was wearing during the traffic stop. The man is riding down 25th Street, indicating he either parked the truck and rode his bicycle to the victim’s home, or was dropped off.

“The motive in the attack remains under investigation,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt said. “More charges may be filed.”

Fernandez, a charter fishing boat mate, pleaded no contest to felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in December 2015. Police say he attacked his mother with a metal pipe, according to court records. He was sentenced to a year in county jail.

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