Man Faces Assault Charge For Trying To Strangle Boss

OCEAN CITY — A Seaford man was arrested on first-degree assault charges this week after allegedly strangling the man who hired him to help with a residential remodeling job.

Around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, OCPD officers responded to a residence at 82nd Street for a reported assault that had already occurred. The officer met with the victim who had several abrasions on his shoulders and neck and a bright red coloring around his entire neck. The victim told police he hired the suspect, identified as Matthew Cell, 35, of Seaford, to help him with a remodeling job at the unit on 82nd Street.

The victim told police Cell started drinking around 6 p.m. and became belligerent and too intoxicated to work. The victim reportedly told Cell to just sit there because he was too drunk to continue to work. According to police reports, Cell took that to mean the victim did not want to pay him and threatened to beat the victim up.

When the victim feigned a fake 911 call from his cell phone, Cell allegedly wrapped his right bicep under the victim’s chin and began squeezing as he pushed the victim’s head down. The victim characterized the strangle hold as a “neck breaker” and told police Cell squeezed harder and harder until he began seeing stars and could no longer breath and nearly passed out. The victim told police Cell had a wrestling and mixed martial arts background and he feared for his life as Cell continued to choke him.

As soon as Cell released his grip, the victim immediately called 911, but Cell allegedly grabbed the victim and threw him against the wall, which caused the abrasions to his neck and shoulders. The OCPD officer approached Cell, who was uncooperative, according to police reports. Cell told police, “I’m drunk, but I’m not drunk,” and “I didn’t touch that guy and you aren’t going to pin this on me, I know what you’re doing.”

The officer again examined the victim and observed the redness around his neck was consistent with the type of strangulation the victim described. The officer noted in his report the type of strangulation around the neck to the point the airway is restricted or completely cut off can cause death.

Cell was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. He was taken to the Worcester County Jail and held initially on a $15,000 bond. After a bail review hearing on Wednesday, he was committed to the jail on a $5,000 bond.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.