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June 18, 2013

Man could face 7th domestic violence conviction

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man with six prior domestic violence convictions is due back in court on the same charge.

David Jeffrey Ronthi, 54, was arrested June 9 after authorities say he shoved his wife in the driveway of their Potter Road residence. He is scheduled to appear for an arraignment today at 9:45 a.m. in 86th District Court on felony domestic violence and resisting arrest charges.

Court documents state Ronthi's wife found a rum bottle in their garage and confronted her husband, who had promised to remain sober in order to keep her from filing for divorce. She told authorities he became angry and shoved her in the shoulder and also threatened to "beat" their neighbor who drove him to the liquor store.

"(She) indicated she immediately ran inside the house, because she has been through this with David becoming more physical when he has been drinking," the document states.

Authorities say the victim showed no physical injuries, but a door knob was broken off when Ronthi tried to break into the locked house by banging on the doors and windows.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney would not comment specifically on a pending case, but said a long list of prior domestic violence convictions was noteworthy. Ronthi has six prior domestic violence convictions from 1997, 1998 and 2000 incidents.

"I would say it's unusual to see this many domestic violence convictions," Cooney said.

Ronthi's current domestic violence charge carries a third-offense notice, changing a misdemeanor with a maximum 93-day penalty to a potential five-year felony. Court records show his 2000 conviction originally had a third-offense notice, but was changed to a lesser charge.

Authorities found Ronthi sitting in a backyard chair and noted signs of intoxication, the documents state. He refused to stand up and put his arms behind his back when being placed under arrest. The deputies reported they had to pull Ronthi from his chair but the suspect continued to pull his arms closer to his body while they attempted to handcuff him.

"Deputies were able to get the handcuff on one wrist, but had to place him on the (ground) to get the other handcuff on," the document states.

Ronthi could not be reached for comment. He was released from Grand Traverse County Jail on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

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