Ex-Allman Brothers Guitarist Dickey Betts Charged With Domestic Battery

Axeman allegedly punched his wife while she was driving.

Former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts was arrested Saturday and charged with domestic battery after allegedly punching his wife while she was driving, according to a sheriff's report.

Betts was released from Sarasota County Jail Sunday after posting $2,000 bail following the Saturday incident, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff's department. The 57-year-old Betts told authorities he "did not know how the victim [Donna Betts] received her injury," according to the report.

Donna Betts claims that her husband struck her while the two argued after she picked him up from the airport, and that she locked herself in the couple's master bedroom and called 911 upon arriving at their home, the report says.

Betts is set to be arraigned August 31 in Sarasota County Court, according to a court spokesperson. His attorney, Mike Mosca, said he plans to enter a not-guilty plea for Betts at that time. "Mr. Betts steadfastly denies that he struck his wife, and as our investigation continues, it appears Mr. Betts' version of events is correct," Mosca said.

The media spokesperson for the Sarasota sheriff was unavailable for comment on Mosca's claims.

As Florida law does not require a defendant to be present at the initial arraignment, Mosca said that none of Betts' public appearances — including a show scheduled for August 31 in Anaheim, California — will be affected.

The guitarist and songwriter, who wrote and sang the group's biggest hit, "Ramblin' Man" (1973), as well as other Allman Brothers favorites such as "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Blue Sky," was fired from the band last year for what other group members called "creative differences." Keyboardist and singer Gregg Allman said in interviews, however, that Betts' drinking and drug use were interfering with rehearsals and shows.

Betts, who contested Allman's claims, was convicted of domestic battery in January, according to the newspaper. He released his first solo album since leaving the group, Let's Get Together, in July (see "Dickey Betts To Release First Post-Allmans Album").