(WKBN) – A Trumbull County grand jury has indicted two men on felony strangulation charges. It’s a first for the county since a new state law took effect almost two months ago.
Daren Wilson and Anthony Oliver are each facing a third-degree felony strangulation charge. The two were indicted on Thursday in separate, unrelated cases.
It’s the first time anyone in the county has been charged with strangulation under a new state law.
“They’re serious cases and this is serious conduct with real injuries. So we’re gonna take them seriously and treat them seriously,” said Assistant Prosecutor Gabe Wildman.
Ohio’s anti-strangulation law makes it illegal to prevent normal breathing or blood circulation by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by covering the nose and mouth.
“I’ve been prosecuting domestic violence cases for almost 20 years now and this is extremely common in domestic violence situations where a man or the abuser, it could be a female, puts their hands around the neck or chokes their partner,” Wildman said.
Under the law, a strangulation charge could range from a fifth-degree felony to a second-degree felony, depending on how badly a victim was hurt. It was included in Senate Bill 288, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed in early January.
“We were actually the only state in the country that didn’t have this law,” Wildman said.
Wildman says this new strangulation law, which took effect back in April, helps fill gaps in the law that were there previously.
“Previously, this type of conduct, unless someone was choked to the point of death or unconsciousness, it would have only been a misdemeanor. So now this makes it much more serious. It makes it a felony,” Wildman said.