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Michael Reuschel Takes The Stand In Attempted Murder Case

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Michael Reuschel testified for six hours on Tuesday about the February 2018 stabbing of his wife for which he stands trial.

The testimony, though, did not get into much detail about the actual incident, so Judge William Davis ruled the trial will continue with closing arguments scheduled for Thursday instead of Wednesday.

The 63-year-old Gainesville man is accused of trying to murder his wife, Susan O’Brien Reuschel. He said their relationship started from “wonderful dates” and trips after meeting on match.com. He said on the stand it took a turn over her relationship with his two daughters.

Reuschel said he drafted a prenuptial agreement after being confronted with profanity by his wife about one daughter’s house party in Summer 2007. At the time, O’Brien Reuschel worked as a registered nurse in a hospice facility. During a vacation in New York, Reuschel said his spouse also admitted to having around $35,000 in credit card debt.

After their marriage, he said his wife stopped working, while he owned Ocala Dental Care. They bought a house in the wealthy Alachua County neighborhood of Haile Plantation, where authorities responded on Feb. 2, 2018, to a 911 call from Reuschel of injuries and a home invasion.

Officials also found a knife that was left bent and covered with blood on the bed. While the defense attempted to ask Reuschel about his wife’s habit of carrying a knife with her, including one at the 2016 Southeastern Conference championship game in Atlanta, state prosecutors objected to such comparisons because the couple had lost other knives, evidently shown in the kitchen drawer.

Sighing and choking up occasionally, Reuschel said his wife had limited guests and visitors to their house, including his friends from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business advisory board.

“Charitable contributions were also a bone of contention,” he added.

He said his wife often threatened him with divorce if he attended committee and country club meetings or made donations, while he said she loved to spend on jewelry and clothing.

As one daughter’s wedding approached, Reuschel said the discussion of how much he should pay for the wedding — budgeted at more than $60,000 —  became a constant source of tension between the couple.

The defense then presented to the jury a wine bottle, which Reuschel recognized to be related to an incident in July 2016. “She threw it down from the top of the stairs and hit my shoulders,” he said.

Reuschel’s Tuesday testimony ended with her frustration over the steak they were having on that Friday night in February 2018. Before dinner, Reuschel said he was “walking on eggshells” with his wife.

Judge Davis late Tuesday also began a charge conference with the defense and prosecutors.

About Quan McWil

Quan is a reporter at WUFT News who can be reached by emailing news@wuft.org or calling 352-392-6397.

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