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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Leesburg man charged with hate crime after allegedly tormenting gay neighbors

Frank Norviel
Frank Norviel

A Leesburg man has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly tormenting his gay neighbors.

The neighbors of 57-year-old Frank Norviel have been subjected to harassment due to their sexual orientation for several months, according to an arrest report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The ongoing dispute between the neighbors on Marlette Avenue came to a head Tuesday night when he ended up in a bloody attack on a deputy who had to use a taser to subdue him.

The neighbors said Norviel would ride his bicycle in front of their house and call them “queers” and “faggots” on a daily basis. He would stand at the fence line of their adjoining properties and scream foul language at them. Earlier this month, he told one of the men’s son that he was going to “kill his cat and eat it with teriyaki sauce.”

The neighbors obtained an injunction ordering Norviel to stay 10 feet away and refrain from any comments or actions aimed at them.

On Jan. 6 the neighbors contacted law enforcement to report a violation of the injunction. A deputy met with the men and was shown a security video of Norviel hanging a pair of soiled blue underwear on a pole over their car. They also had a security video showing a white cross which Norviel had placed on their fence. When the deputies attempted to speak to Norviel, he hid in his house to avoid arrest.

A deputy was canvassing the area for Norviel on Tuesday night when he heard a noise  coming from the backyard of Norviel’s residence. When Norviel saw the deputy, he screamed an obscenity and ordered the deputy to get off his property. Norviel ran to the front door of his house and fumbled with some keys while trying to unlock the door. Norviel ignored the deputy’s request that he come with him. The deputy grabbed Norviel to prevent him from barricading himself in the home. Norviel and the deputy ended up on the ground. Norviel was able to use the deputy’s handcuffs to open a wound on the deputy’s left forearm. The deputy, who had blood running down his arm, used his electronic control device to tase Norviel, who fell down. When more deputies arrived on the scene, Norviel continued to resist arrest and had to be tasered again.

Norviel was charged with the hate crime of aggravated stalking, violation of an injunction for protection, resisting a law enforcement officer with violence, battery to a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. Norviel was taken to the Lake County Jail where he was being held on $113,000 bond.

Norviel was convicted of a felony in 2021 for smashing a neighbor’s car windows. The victim in that case estimated her damages to be $2,500.

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