A woman who hosted a French foreign exchange student ten years ago was attacked and almost murdered by said student because, he says, she needed to be protected by the demons that were coming after her.
The Frenchman, Pierre Franchi, 29, allegedly attacked 66-year-old Sue Ann Montfort and tried to strangle her with cords from the blinds, smother her with a pillow, and hit her with a handheld mirror, all while shouting, "Demons are coming after you!"
The attack lasted for about 10 hours, according to police.
This is the second time within a week than an elderly woman was allegedly beaten by a man who wanted to exorcise demons from her. Late last week, a man was arrested for allegedly physically abusing his 80-year-old girlfriend to get the devil out of her.
According to a Boynton Beach police report, Montfort claimed to have had a "motherly affection" for Franchi since taking him in a decade ago. The two remained in contact throughout the years, even after he left Montfort's home after his foreign exchange stay ended.
But in January, Pierre Franchi (which, incidentally, has to be the most French name ever) reemerged, and Montfort allowed him to stay with her again at her home in Boynton Beach.
But in recent days, Franchi began to act strangely, and the two got into an argument. Montfort says the Frenchman slapped her face and grabbed her wrists. She also says he tried to break a glass coffee table.
Then, on Friday night, things came to a head when she confronted Franchi about leaving a wet towel on the floor. Later that evening, around 2 a.m., Franchi allegedly attacked Montfort while she was sleeping. He pinned her to the bed and told her he would have to kill her to save her from demons.
He strangled her with a cord and beat her with a handheld mirror.
Franchi also allegedly made Montfort "kneel" and "bow" in submission, according to the arrest report.
Montfort managed to escape, but Franchi had destroyed her cell phone. When she tried calling out for help, Franchi blasted the stereo to drown out her screams.
She finally managed to escape after several hours and was able to call 911 from a neighbor's home.
Franchi was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on charges of aggravated battery on a person over 65, false imprisonment, and depriving use of 911. He was also charged with grand theft when it was learned he may have stolen Montfort's purse and a necklace.
Franchi remains in jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.