On the very day she was fatally struck by a punch to the face, Debbie Jost looked forward to welcoming her son and her youngest granddaughter to the apartment she recently had rented a block from the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“The beach, I think, was her escape, her safe place,” Jost’s son, Remy Kimes, tells PEOPLE in an email. “She always wanted to fish, sit at the beach and relax, just anything near the water.”
But instead of embracing her family on April 29, Jost pronounced Yost lay unconscious in a hospital bed. She died the next day.
Police say the 51-year-old grandmother of four was sitting on a stool at the Oyster Bay bar in Daytona Beach early that morning when Michael Lamothe, 35, allegedly approached and grabbed her from behind in a sexually aggressive manner.
Jost told him to back off. After another man intervened on her behalf, a scuffle erupted.
Lamothe left the bar, say police, but returned and tried to enter again while Jost attempted to close the front door and keep him out.
Lamothe allegedly reached in and struck Jost in the face with a closed fist, causing her to fall backwards and strike her head on the floor, according to witnesses and a criminal charging affidavit.
After Jost died, Lamothe, who was picked up by police nearby around 1:30 a.m., was charged with manslaughter. He is being held without bond in the Volusia County Branch Jail on that and an additional charge of aggravated battery, plus a charge of resisting an officer without violence.
He has not yet entered a plea, and an attorney for him was not immediately identified.
Lamothe previously served a day in jail and was ordered to undergo anger management and six months’ probation after a June 14, 2013, incident where he slugged a female employee of a bar in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
His prior criminal history also includes two convictions for battery, for which he was sentenced to a combined 18 months of probation.