Matthew Edward Marro, A 22-year-old homeless man in Bunnell, is at the Flagler County jail on five counts of felony child abuse and five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a confrontation with several children at a public park Sunday evening.
The incident took place at Edward Johnson Park at 401 East Court Street in Bunnell. Marro was at the park with Connie Whitaker, a 36-year-old homeless woman. According to his arrest report, Marro and Whitaker were arguing. When Marro allegedly pushed Whitaker, five young children came to her aid. Three of the children were 8, one was 11, one was 14, all of them boys.
When they tried to separate the two adults, Marro allegedly pushed some of the children, who then turned their attention to him. Marro allegedly pushed one of the children against a bench and began choking him. The other children picked up sticks and began hitting Marro, enabling the child he was choking to escape.
Marro then took out a pocket knife, opened it, allegedly approached the children calling them racist names (he’s white, the children are black) and said he would kill them all and their families. He then gave the knife to Whitaker, who gave it to one of the children and told him to hide it. The child hid it in a pile of debris. Marro chased some of the children through the park, pushing one of them to the ground, then pushing another to the ground when the second child tried to help the first.
“At some point after the altercation,” the arrest report states, Marro “grabbed [one of the children], picked him up over his head, and then dropped him to the ground,” though none of the children were injured. Marro sustained “scratches and red marks along his upper body from the children hitting him.” He’d sustained other injuries in a separate incident a week earlier, and those injuries were aggravated in the confrontation with the children, requiring a trip to the hospital before he was booked at the county jail.
Parents of the children arrived at the park as Bunnell Police Department officers were investigating. All wanted to pursue charges against Marro.
Last October Marro had moved in with his father in Palm Coast’s F Section, trying to recover from a drug problem, according to court papers. His father was helping him get back on his feet. But father and son got into an altercation when his father lost patience with his son not meeting the conditions of his living arrangement. Marro was charged with battery in that case and found guilty and placed on probation for 12 months. According to court documents, he remains on probation, though no probation violation charge accompanied those he faced Sunday.
The battery charge was a misdemeanor. All 10 charges he faces from Sunday’s incident are third-degree felonies. He remains at the county jail on $25,000 bond.
Good on those kids for seeing something and trying to help. Might have been the wrong kinda help ( would have been safer to call the police or get adults) but in a world were people see crimes and keep walking it’s nice to see the kids stand up to what’s wrong
howard tessler says
I’m expecting that these boys will all receive accommodations for their bravery . I’m not going to waste any time with the homeless man expect I home he gets a long sentence in a 6′ by 10′ prison cell he can refer to as his “New Home” …
Just when one thinks it can’t get any wierder …..Hope the kids are OK
Homeless problem behind library, Palm coast pkwy. . Back of E section , Grand Reserve. Ctrl Pkwy and the list goes on. What are you gonna do about it.
God bless those kids. They’ve got more heart than most adults when they see something wrong. Maybe we can “deport” this criminal and replace him with an immigrant family wanting a better life.
The Geode says
Only if they did it for the numerous fights that go on in THEIR neighborhood…
It is unfortunate the kids didn’t pick up bigger sticks. God job boys. From the looks of his eyes, someone got the best of him.
Obviously he wasn’t rehabilitated from his first incarceration AND it won’t happen from his next incarceration. Give him a new home with razor wire around it for a long time so he won’t be homeless any longer.
So…ten third-degree felony charges do not qualify as a violation of probation? Hmm…..
Fed up 386 says
Exactly! Something is very wrong there.
PC Citizen says
What’s next , racist homeless people ?
Homeless, some people blame it on being poor, others on being a Vet that lost everything, home family etc.. , others on some upbringing but homeless people do not have to be child or abusers of people, , that’s their will and choice. This sick nut needs jail time on a hard work assignment. Like the old Jail gangs.
Ok except this is Bunnell, where there is also a homeless problem. What exactly would you like anyone to do about it? Do you have a few extra bedrooms?
I am the father of Matthew Marro…He has suffered from mental illness since he was young….I hate that those brave young men were forced to stand up against my son,but i am glad they did….I praise God that none were injured…When my son was arrested for assaulting me(I am Disabled) I begged they state for help getting him in to treatment,but all they wanted was to toss him out on probation. He is supposed to be on meds but self medicates…Maybe this time the state will get it right…I am sad for my son yet at the same time i am happy he is off the streets where he can’t hurt anyone else.
Concerned Citizen says
Stop giving repeat offenders light sentences and probation. That’s half the problem right there. Also Probation needs to do their job and violate this guy so he can’t bond out.
If the SA and the Judge do their job they will sentence this guy as a career criminal and max it out. However they won’t and he will get a plea.
i’m glad someone dotted those eyes for him but next time he might hurt someone.
@ok yes I do and dont care enough aboutif its Bunnell problem
This guy is dangerous. he should not be on the loose ANYWHERE!