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Aiding friend leads to charge

Two teenagers face burglary charges, and the 60-year-old who came to the aid of the victim is accused of hitting one of the teens in the head with a weapon.

By BILL VARIAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2001


HOMOSASSA -- Nelson Humphrey said he awoke early Sunday to find as many as five uninvited teenagers in his house. Using a shotgun he kept in his bedroom, he detained two of the boys.

Now, a 60-year-old friend and tenant who came to Humphrey's aid is facing a felony charge after he allegedly struck one of the boys in the head with a hammer. And Humphrey says he is angry at being twice a victim, once because of the alleged home invasion and then because of the investigation by the sheriff's deputy.

Humphrey, 51, who lives at 1205 S Palm Ave., told investigators that he turned off the lights about 10 p.m. Saturday. He woke up about three hours later to the sound of voices and banging.

He grabbed his shotgun and stepped outside the bedroom, wearing just a T-shirt, he told the Citrus Times Tuesday. Humphrey said at least two of the teens were within 10 feet of his bedroom. As many as three others ran out a back door.

Humphrey said he was screaming at the two closest teens to get down. They eventually did. Allen John Shields, who lives in an apartment on the property, heard the commotion and came to Humphrey's aid, Humphrey says.

Shields watched the teens as Humphrey called 911. After he called 911, Humphrey asked Shields to continue watching them.

"I said watch them and keep them there so I can get my drawers on at least," Humphrey said.

That's where things get fuzzy.

One of the burglary suspects, Christopher Videtto, 15, of 8547 W Highland St., Homosassa, said the homeowner had the two kneeling on the ground. Then, he said, another man walked in the room and struck him in the head with a black revolver.

When Citrus County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Ludlow arrived, he found Videtto, lying on the ground in the living room with a cut on his head and blood on the floor below him. His brother, Henry Clinton Videtto, 14, was standing.

Ludlow placed the younger Videtto in his patrol car and the older teen was taken to Seven Rivers Community Hospital, where he was treated.

Shields acknowledged hitting the teen, but said he used a hammer he later threw at his truck in anger. "It's a shame I didn't have my tomahawk," the deputy quoted him as saying in an arrest report.

Ludlow couldn't find the hammer after searching near the truck, but photographed a golf club and small metal pipe he found near the vehicle.

Shields faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was taken to the Citrus County Detention Facility, where he was released after posting $5,000 bail. He told the Citrus Times Tuesday that after being released, he found the hammer underneath his truck. And he said he struck the teen because the teen made several movements that looked like he was trying to get up after Shields had told him to stay down.

He said he didn't own a gun and wouldn't have struck the teen without provocation.

"I'm not that kind of person," he said. "I'm 60 years old and I've never been in trouble my entire life."

Both teens face charges of burglary. According to arrest reports, Christopher Videtto said he and his brother had gone to the residence at the urging of another teen, who said they could hang out there. He said they entered through an unlocked door.

Shields and Humphrey said they were the ones treated as though they had done something wrong. The deputy accused them of being drunk, they said. They both said they had not been drinking. Shields said that Ludlow tried to force Humphrey to sit down by grabbing his arm as he questioned him.

Since the incident, Shields and Humphrey say neighbors have told them of several break-ins and vandalism in the neighborhood. Shields said his own apartment was burglarized on New Year's Eve, and several knives were stolen after thieves broke in his door.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Ronda Hemminger Evan said Ludlow was not working Tuesday and could not be reached for questions about the case. She said sheriff's deputies try to treat all witnesses and defendants the same.

Evan was unable to confirm as of late Tuesday that other burglaries have been reported in Humphrey's neighborhood.

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