Cops: Man tried to drown Riverside woman in bathtub

Argument over prescription drugs


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By Bob Uphues


Riverside police charged Lyons resident Michael D. Bruner, 60, with attempted murder and aggravated domestic battery on Sunday, a day after he allegedly tried to drown his 53-year-old girlfriend in the bathtub of a Riverside coach house.

According to police, Bruner tried to drown the woman after the two quarreled over some missing Xanax pills, a controlled substance available through prescription, used commonly to treat anxiety disorders.

Police responded to a home in the 100 block of Lawton Road at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 7, after receiving a "frantic" call from a woman, who stated that her boyfriend had just tried to kill her.

When police arrived at the scene, they found the victim standing in front of the main house on the property. As police talked to the woman, they reported seeing a man, later identified as Bruner, exiting the coach house. Officers took Bruner into custody at the scene.

Police said the woman has rented space in the coach house for several years. She does not own the property, which also has a main house.

The victim told police that she and Bruner began arguing at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 6, first over the setting of the thermostat in the coach house and later about the prescription drugs. According to police, Bruner would frequently stay over at the coach house. The victim left the home after the initial argument, but returned at about 1 a.m.

According to police, when the victim returned home, she and Bruner again began to argue about missing Xanax pills. The victim said she walked away from the argument and went upstairs to take a bath.

As she was disrobing, Bruner reportedly burst through the door and pushed her into the tub. Police said Bruner then began choking the victim and pushed her face under the foot-deep water three times, saying, "I'm going to kill you."

The woman was able to break free and ran from the coach house to call police. Paramedics reportedly treated the woman for injuries consistent with choking and battery.

It's not the first time Riverside police have arrested Bruner in connection with a domestic battery incident. In November 2012, according to police, Bruner battered the same woman and locked her in a shed for a short period of time. Police charged Bruner at that time, but the charges were dropped in court when the victim refused to cooperate, police said.

Bruner's criminal record is extensive and wide-ranging. In the past he often hopped from place to place as an itinerant iron worker, said police. Since the mid-1970s, he has several felony convictions for burglary, theft, drunk driving, forgery and drug offenses in states ranging from Illinois to California, Colorado and Utah.

At a bond hearing in Chicago on Sunday, a judge set Bruner's bond at $250,000. He remains at Cook County Jail awaiting trial at the Maybrook courthouse.

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