T A M P A, Fla., May 13, 2003 -- When David Taylor's wife began spraying perfume and air fresheners around their house, he called 911.
"I need an officer at my house," Taylor told the 911 dispatcher on April 4. "It's a domestic problem. My wife is trying to hurt me. I'm chemically sensitive and she's spraying perfume around the house and whatnot and it's gonna hurt me," he said.
After Taylor's claim his wife Lynda had tried to kill him, she was later arrested on a felony charge of aggravated battery.
Taylor, 46, says he is disabled due to allergies that resulted from exposure to toxic mold and hazardous chemicals as a construction worker. That exposure netted him $150,000 in a recent workers compensation settlement.
Taylor says his wife started spraying perfume, Lysol and other chemicals during a heated conversation the couple were having about separating after three years of marriage. Taylor told investigators that his wife lost control when he refused to give her half of his settlement.
When authorities arrived at the scene, they were skeptical until Taylor produced medical documents backing up his unusual claims.
"The sheriff did feel Mr. Taylor's life was in danger," said Sergeant Janelle Atlas of the local sheriff's department.
"We needed more documentation than a man saying 'my wife's killing me with perfume,' which he supplied to us," Atlas said.
Accused of Wearing Perfume
Lynda Taylor, 36, is accused of wearing perfume, burning incense candles, and using numerous air fresheners.
She says her husband exaggerated his reaction to the perfume and other chemicals once police arrived at their home. She also claims her husband has been using bleach, bug spray and other chemicals on his own for years without any serious reaction.
"He did all the laundry. He used dryer sheets, he used bleach," she told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "As far as the pesticide, he had been spraying in the guest bathroom for these little black ants," she said.
In the nine-page complaint, Taylor wrote "… Lynda came in the kitchen wearing perfume … then she went around the house spraying Lysol and even sprayed some in my face … all day long she kept closing the windows in the house."
David Taylor says his wife knew her perfume and the air fresheners would make him sick.
"Exposed to such things, I have a very immediate reaction to it," Taylor said. "In fact, I wear a mask lots of times to protect me from such things," he said.
Dr. David Rosenstreich of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York says some people may be more sensitive to sprays and perfumes than others, but he's never heard of such exposure turning deadly.
"I'm not aware of anyone ever dying because of this kind of ... odor sensitivity type thing," Rosenstreich said.
But David Taylor's lawyer says the incident is a clear case of aggravated battery.
"Now, it's the same thing as if he were deathly allergic to peanuts and she had snuck peanuts into his cereal," argues attorney Cynthia Grooms Marvin. "I don't think it's a different type of attack from that."
Karen Steger, Lynda Taylor's attorney, expressed disbelief over her client's arrest, arguing David Taylor is looking to gain an advantage in the divorce case through the charges against his wife.