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Brooksville man charged in meat cleaver attack

Tony Holt Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:15 PM

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There were blood droplets on the ground and on the stairs leading up to the house.

More blood was smeared on the hand railing.

A meat cleaver was lying in the sink.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office responded shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday to 16122 Naples St. and deputies came upon the aftermath of a gruesome attack, according to an arrest report. The Brooksville Police Department was called to provide backup.

Harold Jeffery McLeroy, 62, had been smoking pot Wednesday morning at his home with Michael Vamos when McLeroy inexplicably grabbed the cleaver off the kitchen counter and slashed Vamos above his left eye, deputies said.

Vamos was slashed two more times – once across the cheek and once across the back of the head – and was hospitalized, according to the sheriff's office.

McLeroy, known by some people as "Peanut," was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was booked at the Hernando County Jail and held in lieu of $5,000 bail.

McLeroy has numerous battery arrests and convictions dating back to 1996. In 2004, he was convicted of battery against a law enforcement officer and served more than six months in jail, according to court records.

The suspect told the sheriff's office Vamos had threatened to rob him and he reacted by slashing him with the cleaver, deputies said.

McLeroy also denied smoking pot, according to reports.

The suspect's girlfriend, who witnessed the attack, gave the same story to deputies.

Another witness, Cory Mixon, said he tried to intervene. Mixon tried to separate McLeroy and Vamos after the first slash, according to reports.

Vamos yelled at McLeroy after the first attack and McLeroy slashed him again – all the while Mixon was trying to keep both men calm, deputies said.

Mixon grabbed McLeroy and was leading him out of the house when the suspect swung the cleaver one more time, striking Vamos across the back of his head, according to the sheriff's office.

Vamos was interviewed at the hospital. He said he told McLeroy he was so down he could rob someone, but he was not threatening to rob his friend, deputies said. (352) 544-5283

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