Former Agriculture Commissioner candidate Baxter Troutman faces new accusations by wife Rebecca of aggravated assault and domestic battery.
Arrest records with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office detail a tumultuous and sometimes violent home life for the Troutmans over 10 years of marriage, despite the couple during his campaign insisting their home life remained idyllic.
Rebecca told law enforcement an argument initially broke out with Baxter on Wednesday night over the fact she’s purchased a Lakeland home in her own name. At 4:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, he barged into her bedroom, tore the comforter off and yelled: “Get up, it’s a new day, it’s time to get a job the fuckin’ gravy train is over.”
The Polk County Jail booked Baxter Troutman on Friday. The Ledger first reported the arrest.
She also told investigators she and her husband had slept in separate bedrooms for years.
After that episode, Baxter Troutman started blaring television sets and played heavy metal music at high volume, according to Rebecca.
The matter turned violent when Rebecca bundled herself in her comforter, and Baxter pulled it off the bed hard enough it threw her to the floor, she said. She then demanded he leave the room.
But Baxter returned, she said, and while she hid under the bed, grabbed her chin and jaw, then pulled her head up and screamed: “Bitch get up.” After he left again, Rebecca said she made an audio recording on her cellphone to show how he’d filled the house with loud music.
She then hid in her room with a chair propped against the door.
But Rebecca also detailed past incidents of violence against her by Baxter that she never reported.
She said he gave her a bloody nose in September by striking her after she refused to unlock her cellphone so he could inspect the contents.
More significantly, she said Baxter broke the pinkie finger on her right hand while he twisted her arm behind her back during an argument. A neighbor took her to Winter Haven Hospital for treatment, and she produced time-stamped images of the injury for investigators.
The Troutmans live together and have one child together.
Baxter Troutman now faces one charge of aggravated battery and two counts of domestic battery related to Rebecca’s accusations.
It’s not Baxter Troutman’s first run-in with the law. He also spent a night in jail over a 2012 battery charge when he allegedly threw a blanket at his wife during an argument. The altercation happened on Baxter Troutman’s 46th birthday. The charge was later dismissed.
Despite the apparent tumult in the relationship, the Troutmans released family photos during Baxter Troutman’s run for Agriculture Commissioner earlier this year and Rebecca Troutman spoke out regularly on behalf of her husband’s campaign. That included representing the campaign at the Sunshine Summit.
Moreover, when political opponents for Baxter sent out electronic communications a week before the Republican primary publicizing his 2012 arrest, the couple pushed back at a narrative he might be abusive.
“It’s embarrassing, what happened that night,” Rebecca told Sunshine State News in August. “If my husband hadn’t been serving in the state House as he was at the time, or if he wasn’t from such a prominent family, the story wouldn’t have made the news, and I wouldn’t feel the need to talk about it now.”
She maintained the incident had been isolated and the couple’s communication had improved since the night she impulsively called the police over an argument.
“Baxter Troutman is a good man,” she told the website. “If he were anything less than an admirable man, it wouldn’t have worked out as it did and I wouldn’t be able to sit here and tell you; he’ll make a fantastic commissioner of agriculture.”
But he did not. Baxter Troutman came in third in the Republican primary, losing the nomination to Matt Caldwell. Caldwell went on to lose to Democrat Nikki Fried by a razor-thin margin in a tight general election.
Baxter Troutman, a Winter Haven citrus grower and grandson of Florida agriculture icon Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., previously served in the Florida House from 2002 through 2010.
He proposed to Rebecca on the House floor in 2008.