2004-12-10 / Front Page

Probie Charged With Beating, Choking His Ex

A probationary NYC Firefighter turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday – days after he allegedly beat and choked his ex-girlfriend on the bed of her Belle Harbor apartment following a night of boozing.

William C. Smith, 27, went to the Beach 129 Street apartment of his ex-girlfriend, Karen Ritter, at about 5:30 a.m. last Saturday and allegedly “began striking and choking [her],” according to court records.

Smith is a probationary New York City Firefighter assigned since March to Ladder 134/Engine 328, on Central Avenue in Far Rockaway, according to a FDNY spokesperson. A source close to Ritter said Smith went to the apartment after a night of drinking and gained entry after he assaulted his ex at the door.

The alleged violence continued into Ritter’s bedroom, where she was beaten and choked again by Smith, according to court records. She fled into her bathroom, but when she came out Smith allegedly “threw her on the bed and once again began choking her.” Police were called at about 7 a.m. – about an hour and a half after the episode began.

Ritter was taken to a local hospital where she was treated for a shoulder injury and bruises to her face, forearms, and ankles. Sources said Smith turned himself in three days after the alleged incident.

He is charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment. Queens Criminal Court Judge Suzanne Melendez set his bail at $1,000 at his arraignment on December 7, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. Smith is due back in court on January 19. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

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