Kate Chastain’s Domestic Battery By Strangulation Case Crawls Forward


Below Deck Captain Lee and Kate


On last week’s episode of Below Deck, Head Stew Kate Chastain invited her girlfriend at the time, Ro Hernandez,  to visit her on her day off at a Caribbean resort.  We got to see a whole lot of PDA between the two and assess their interactions. Ro seemed quite into Kate and perhaps a bit possessive. Maybe it was just early in their relationship. These scenes were filmed months before the night in June that there was a violent altercation between the two.   The police were called and Kate was arrested and booked into the local jail.

In August Kate was officially charged with domestic violence by strangulation, a felony, and another misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. According to the police report obtained by FloridaToday, Kate ” bit her girlfriend on the forearm, inner bicep and leg; held her down and “strangled” her; put her knee on her head and pulled her hair; and covered her mouth and pinched her nose so she couldn’t breathe.”

This week FloridaToday announced that a docket sounding is set for November 7th  at the Moore Justice Center in Viera. In a criminal case, a docket sounding is the last pretrial step before the trial date  where the prosecutor and the defense meet with the judge to see if the case is ready to go forward on the assigned date or to reschedule the date. It is also the last chance for the defendant to take a plea deal.  It’s likely the prosecutor has offered a plea at this point. If the felony charge is dropped, it’s likely that Kate will take the deal. If it is not she may want to continue to trial in order to keep the felony off her record.



Ro Hernandez, Instagram

Ro Hernandez, Instagram

As I said previously, Kate had a real estate attorney, likely a friend of hers or her family, representing her. This was unwise. That attorney, Gary Frese said on behalf of Kate, “Ms. Kate Chastain regrets the incident that occurred between her and Ms. (Rocio) Hernandez. The version of the incident told to the police by Ms. Hernandez is completely fictitious. Ms. Hernandez, a former professional fitness trainer over six feet tall, physically attacked Ms. Chastain who tried her best to defend herself during the attack. Ms. Chastain is of very slight build and is 5 foot 7 inches tall. At no time was Ms. Chastain the aggressor in the altercation. When all the actual facts are determined in the legal process Ms. Chastain will be completely vindicated and Ms. Hernandez will be shown to have a history of violent behavior and to have completely misrepresented the facts to the police about Ms. Chastain’s actions.” Basically, he says Ro is lying and Kate was the aggressor.

I presume that the police documented some injuries and found that Ro took the brunt of the injuries in the altercation. The police did not witness the actual altercation .

It seems that Kate has now managed to secure a criminal defense attorney, Kepler Funk, who released his own statement to FloridaToday on Friday. “Many times over the years, my office has stated that just because the government says it’s so doesn’t make it so, ” Funk stated. “This case is no different.  We have begun our investigation into the allegation and will come to conclusions when our process is complete.  If the government got it right all the time, we wouldn’t have Brian Heizman, James Jackson, Billy Thornton, Selma Sodre, Brian Crowder, William Dillon … and the list goes on.”

So, who's turn is It to screw Ben tonight?

So, who’s turn is It to screw Ben tonight?

I don’t have a good feeling about this attorney either.  The people he lists are apparently people arrested in Florida who were not convicted. Selma Sodre is a Brazilian woman accused of drowning her wealthy husband before he could divorce her in 1997.  Brian Crowder, according to Google, is “a vagrant” accused of arson who was suspected of setting a huge wildfire with a Molotov cocktail. Some reports indicate he admitted to setting some fires. He also had a criminal record involving drugs and violence.  He appears to have been arrested but never charged. William Dillon is a guy who was arrested and convicted of murder. He was exonerated after serving 27 years in jail based on DNA evidence.

Look, I am only an imaginary Internet lawyer with no law degree and no license to practice, but I would not want to compare a slight, white, blond lady accused of domestic violence with those falsely accused of murder and arson.  Mr. Funk also appears to be the trial expert for the FloridaToday publication.

I think the real estate attorney’s presentation of the cute, thin blond defending herself from the scary, muscular, former fitness trainer would be a much better defense.

But this is Florida, and the attorneys there are a whole different breed.

Ro will be on part of the next episode, and actually seeing her interactions with Kate gave me a whole new look at this case. I’d be doing a whole lot of talk about defense wounds on my client and self-defense.  Kate has stated that she is the victim in the case. 

But what do I know?  I wonder if Funk is the one who told FloridaToday that defendants don’t usually go to docket soundings…


Filed under Below Deck, Entertainment News, lawsuit

49 responses to “Kate Chastain’s Domestic Battery By Strangulation Case Crawls Forward

  1. Wonky Tonk

    I obviously know neither Ro, or Kate personally, but it’s difficult for me to believe Kate as the aggressor, but I can see her having to defend herself from Ro. After last week’s episode I thought there was something off about Ro, and I still do. I don’t know it just seems crazy to me because I just don’t see her capable of being that different from her persona on the show.

    I hope she has good representation, and as you say they pay attention to the difference between defensive, and offensive wounds.

    • Dee

      As I read, “pressed her head down with her knee, covered her mouth and pinched her nose so she couldn’t breathe, I was horrified!

    • Lolita

      Yes, odd at best. I thought it was bizzare that they never really showed her face, and she always has glasses on, or a hat pulled down, or hair in the face. I got a very bad vibe. And like Chef said about her choice of clothes…not appropriate for the Caribbean. I am guessing steroids. What the hell was Kate thinking. Ro reeked of TROUBLE

      • Lolita

        Hmmm…I just read Kate has been arrested multiple times????.. don’t think I would hire her as a team leader on a private boat. Risky.

  2. Allison

    I can’t really see Kate going batshit aggressive either, Ro seemed to definitely be marking her territory but not sure if that was for Ben’s benefit or if that was the standard draping that was the norm. Also, bring that Ro is an athlete I find it a little hard to believe that Kate, who looks to be a buck 15, attacked and won. But what do I know. Maybe she’s crazed with strength and jealousy.

  3. Diane

    I have always felt something was off. Kate doesn’t seem the type to be aggressive to that degree. She has a most excellent resting bitch face that can cut you in half!! I have a hard time believing that a very small Kate could do all of those alleged things to a 6 ft Ro.

    I was very creeped out by the overly possessive and in my mind a bit aggressive behavior of Ro on the show on Tuesday. It was a bit much to me. She was practically obsessed and too touchy feely grabbing Kate so much. Some of that may have been to piss of Ben I suppose. It just gave me a bad vibe. It felt weird and awkward. Who paws someone like that ? Especially in front of people you do not know and on camera? Just too much.

    I am pulling for Kate. I have always liked her and this is a very unfortunate happening. I think she will get a plea deal. Drop the felony. Pay a fine. Maybe attend therapy and or do a PSA.

  4. Happy gal

    Last weeks episode watching Ro interact w Kate made me very uncomfortable and it was not because they are a same sex couple as I have zero issue with that. It was that I got a feeling that Ro had to show dominance over Kate in her constant for lack of s better term I am going to go w pawing of her. I have seen men do the same thing to women and it is a way to not only let everyone else know this is mine stay away but it is to let the female know their place in the relationship. At first it can seem flattering to have all that attention focused on you but quickly one learns that attention is more like obsession and the need to control and possess.

    • Kimoe

      My exact thoughts. Ro was wrangled with women her size on the field. Kate doesn’t seem the agreesive type either. But I DO think she’s the type that if you get her dander up she just might kick your ass in self defense. I’m not very big, shorter than Kate but I’m told I can be scary. Kate seems like she wouldn’t start it but she just might finished it.

      Also did anyone notice that when Ro was saying (to surprise Kate) she couldn’t come visit because she didn’t get ‘approved’ sounds like she’s on probation cause that’s a term Teresa used too. So if Ro has been arrested for domestic abuse the shed know the ropes to get Kate in trouble though it was self defense.

      • Jen

        I thought it sounded more like her vacation request from her job (for some reason I thought she worked at a gym) was not approved.

      • tamaratattles

        First of all, EVERYONE with a job has to get off days approved. You are jumping to a strange conclusion.

        Secondly, the police saw the bites all over Ro and her injuries.

  5. Char

    I got a creepy vibe from Ro.. stalker like. She seemed very eerie to me.

    • SLM

      I got the same vibe from her, Char. Before the episode I was expecting to like her and thought in advance she would be this super nice, mild-mannered person (thinking that she must have refused to fight back IF Kate attacked her, since she’s so much physically larger than Kate). However, she seemed aggressive and possessive and plain odd. Maybe it’s just me, but if my significant other kept sticking their tongue down my throat in front of my co-workers…over and over and over…I would start to get annoyed. I know they were apart for a stretch and I totally get how you’d want to reconnect (ahem), but I’d want to save that level Ro was going to repeatedly for private time. Also, just my opinion, but Ro seemed, at times, to almost come off as high on something. Allegedly. Just a completely personal observation.

  6. Joy

    The show reveals a lot. I do believe the defense will be how could someone so slight be the agressor. Ro is a former professional athlete. The fact that she went to the police afterwards and that Kate was trying to throw her out speaks of revenge. I understand Kate has been arrested multiple times but not for battery. If Ro does have a history of abuse this case is over.

    • tamaratattles

      “the fact she went to police after” is not a fact I am aware of. The police took in Kate on the scene. My sources say Ro did DID NOT want to press charges.

      edited to change mistype from DID to DID NOT.

  7. tamaratattles

    Oh a TOTALLY think Kate is the wildcat fighter type. Every season before this one she’s been a manipulative bitch. I can totally see her scratching Ro’s eyes out and biting her in a drunken rage.

    But I think a decent lawyer could get her off.

    • SLM

      I should have added that when I commented above, that I do INDEED think Kate could go hopping mad and throw down under the right circumstances, TT. I just also did find Ro kind of odd and also a bit aggressive, though I know it’s really hard to judge a person’s nature from a couple of segments filmed on just one day. Maybe there’s a lot more to the whole incident we’re not getting. Plus, if Ro had the serious injuries on her, that’s hard to dispute.

    • Wonky Tonk

      About the bites, I know it’s a little different, but speaking first hand having had this requested/implored/begged of me, but some people like to be bitten, and bitten hard during sex. I’m not saying that’s what happened here, but if there are a lot of bite marks that could be one reason for them.

      I’m trying not to defend Kate at this point because it’s clear there’s really no clarity here, but man it’s hard for me to imagine Kate multiple biting and strangling someone even in a drunken rage, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened.

      • tamaratattles

        They weren’t having sex. I’m pretty high on the freak number chart and I’ve never called the cops in the middle of sex.

      • Wonky Tonk

        I wasn’t sure, but I was suggesting that bite marks last quite a while, especially those delivered during climax; allegedly. Not that I would know about such things. ;0)

      • SLM

        Oh…wow. I thought I had a high freak number, but I must be in the minors because I’d not even heard of this. No judgment, though, I mean that. To each their own.

    • I think so too. Powdered between the two. Some people mixed together are just dynamite. Passionately good and bad.

  8. LisaPat

    Size has nothing to do with whether or not a person can be the aggressor. Look at Jodi Arias who stabbed her boyfriend to death in the shower. He was two times her size, but she is a lunatic and has lunatic strength.

    • TBD

      Thank you. I’m always amazed people conclude a lack of guilt, or intent, or inability based on small size. It’s faulty generalizing….. a hot topic lately. Bravo loves faulty generalizing.

      • tamaratattles

        I’m always amazed how I can tweak a story just a tiny bit…. leave out the crazed drugged up looking much shot and replace it with something more glamorous, suggest a self-defense line of representation for the attorney, mention that Ro is a lot taller and more muscular than Kate, and yet still include the extent of Ro’s injuries, the police report, the fact that Kate was given felony charges… and get a totally different sort of comment section that I got previously.


        If I were the prosecutor, I’d put the mug shot up on a big screen during my opening. It seems to really change perception.

        Without it, y’all are coming up with wild conspirarcies, sex stories, all sorts of excuses for Kate. That didn’t happen before.

        Felony Domestic Violence and Strangulation. So easy to nudge you guys to play the victim.

      • TBD

        Yes it’s true TT, I’ve noticed! People too easily agree with a suggested narrative. The presented facts gets tossed for the sake of current consensus. Maybe there’s a survival instinct happeneing and diverging stirs up a feeling of threat? (These are precarious times.)

      • Wonky Tonk

        I merely brought up the sex biting as a possibility, but it’s true, I found myself tending to want to defend Kate, but I did acknowledge that tendency, and on balance I think I nipped that thinking in the bud, if not in writing here, though I think I did, certainly in my thinking.

  9. Toni

    I thought the approved comment was related to production approving her appearance on the show. I don’t recall any other significant others being allowed to visit on Below Deck

    I am a Kate fan and would like to think she’s innocent but you never know. Everyone jumped to johnny depps defense, calling his wife a liar and a gold digger and then the videos came out.

  10. Pitypat

    On the show, Kate was sitting in her own deck chair and Ro was on Kate’s chair almost pinning her down. During the fight, did Ro break away and call 911? How could Kate’s bony fingers strangle her? I can see the biting as a defensive move to fight back. There were no bruises on Kate? Inquiring minds

  11. tamaratattles

    You don’t even have to read two paragraphs to get that information. The links also provide more information. It appears that all the injuries in the police report were on RO. Although the Florida paper could have just told one side of the story. There was a lot of information about this in the previous reports from local sources .

  12. Lisa

    Kate looked like a crystal meth head in that mug shot. I wouldn’t be surprised if a vast quantity of drugs were involved that night.

  13. Fizz

    I could be wrong but, I think people usually bite defensively. Like when their arms are pinned. But, who knows what happened there. It sounds like a drunken messy fight to me.

  14. If Kate has a good lawyer, Ro will be investigated to see if she has ever claimed this type of incident before. Kate may have been set up by Ro, with Ro deliberately not fighting back (to get back at Kate) knowing the police would probably be involved at some point. If Ro knows Florida law, she knows that this type of case will be out of her hands and goes directly to the DA’s office. Kate has said the truth will come out. I agree with everyone that something is off with Ro.

  15. belladonna

    I have no doubt that smaller people can abuse larger people, as I’ve seen it. What I saw on the last episode of Below Deck is Ro being very aggressive, and Kate backing away at times. What actually happened, we don’t know.

  16. TAT

    Yeah. I feel like Kate can instigate and see it through. Size is irrelevant when you’re angry/drunk/high. I have no idea what Ro is like beyond what we saw and if she agreed to be on camera then she’s clearly not trying to stay in the background so she apparently wanted some camera time in my opinion. Ben’s pouting probably gave her further impetus to needle him. And let’s face it, Kate has shown that she can be a vindictive bitch so she probably played right along. She liked it or you can bet it wasn’t gonna happen. As for the fight? pretty sure both their dirty laundry will/is flapping in the breeze so it will come out in the press if either one has been aggressive in the past, regardless of whether or not charges were filed. I like the person Kate is playing this season better then in the past ones but she also is smart enough to realize she need some redemption from her antics. I think the real Kate is more like in previous seasons and that Kate looks like she would cut a bitch. In my opinion.

  17. CoBe

    I have a feeling the change in attitude has to do with seeing this Ro character’s actions.

    It made people uncomfortable because it was not a natural interaction between two people. It seemed to be more of a dominance and ownership stance than a scene of two equals interacting.

    People can love or hate Kate, but at least her positions can be understood. Ro is a difference character and that uncomfortable feeling people feel in the pit of their stomachs about her is something most will listen to.

  18. My guess is they were both high on something. That mugshot of Kate was scary, plus love her or hate her she can be a bit cray cray at times.

    As for Ro, I got weird vibe from what little air time she was given. I have no doubt editing played a big part in those scenes.

    I look forward to next episode to see more of Ro. I find it strange that she is wearing sunglasses in every photo I’ve seen of her. You can tell a lot about someone from their eyes. Is she shy or hiding something? IDK!

  19. Sliceo'pie

    TT if I ever need an imaginary internet lawyer, you’re the first person I’m going to! :)

  20. I’d never in my life heard of sexual biting. That is until I saw the little tweeb from VPR, James Kennedy, reveling in revealing his sexual bite marks to La La and revealed that another SUR waitress had given him the bite marks.

  21. OmgOmg

    Objectively this is a big anti-Bravo turnoff. Every show turns into the hot mess express. I thought immediately that she was guilty and the fame and blonde hair doesn’t sway me. A person has seriously flipped the script to suddenly become gay at 34. She is nuts and on drugs is what I thought. The size difference and going against a professional fighter — objectively speaking — gives me pause. However, I thought before and think now that she is guilty as hell. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  22. Sam

    People are amazingly suggestible, and seem to be getting ever more so with “social media.” Christ, I hate that phrase. The swing in the comments about this case is an excellent example. Wow.

    I think they’re both nuts, and likely both guilty of something here. Angry drunk fights and revenge, ah, love is beautiful. /s

  23. tamaratattles

    And just like that, everyone is back to stoning Kate.

    This is why people become lawyers. It’s fun.

    • belladonna

      The tail wagging the dog? Easy to sway opinions, isn’t it?

    • T D

      As easily as flipping an egg over, you easily change the direction of the wind and turn the tide. Dancing to the Sailor’s Hornpipe with delight? You must eat a lot of spinach to have such power of persuasion.

  24. Just Saying

    Kate bit her on the forearm and inner biceps which seems like ro may have been behind Kate with her arm across Kate’s front which is why the bites are on the inside, if she pulled her down there’s the leg bite and then Kate was able to get up and knee to the head, I could be wrong but sounds like self defense in a fight

  25. Lolita

    The tele is an interesting animal. I would have NEVER guessed Kate to be 5’7″..
    .she looks very short and petite on the boat.

  26. I feel that if Kate had been a man with these charges, no way would she have been back on the show.

  27. Kat Atomic Girl

    I could see Kate being half out-of-her-mind drunk, something (jealousy maybe) setting her off and going after Ro. After watching their interaction on the show, there’s no doubt in my mind things get very aggressively physical between them a lot. Just that vibe Ro puts out.

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