An Orcas Island man accused of choking a live-in girlfriend and throwing her to the floor several times, as a late-night argument at their Deer Harbor home escalated into an altercation, is slated to stand trial in mid-May on charges of felony assault and restraining the woman against her will.
On March 1, Michael Jason Turner, 35, pleaded not guilty in San Juan County Superior Court to one count of second-degree assault, a Class B felony, and to one count of unlawful imprisonment, a Class C felony. He was released under court orders, and without bail, pending a May 20 trial date.
According to court documents, the woman had bruise marks on her neck and spots of blood around her mouth, and was frightened and in tears, when deputies arrived at the home at about midnight, and she rushed outside to meet them. She reportedly told officers that Turner became enraged as the two argued over her having dinner with a friend and that he had been unable to contact her by cell-phone while she was away from the home.
The woman, according to charging documents, claims Turner grabbed her by the throat and threw her first against a kitchen stove and then onto the floor during the altercation.
At the scene, Turner, who was taken into custody at the home shortly after midnight, also had marks of blood around his mouth. He reportedly told officers that the woman became the aggressor as the argument spun out of control and that she struck him in the face several times. He claims that the two struggled as they rolled around on the floor, but that he did not hit her during the altercation.
According to court records, Turner has faced felony assault charged before, and was convicted in San Juan County of second-degree assault in 2002.
A Class B felony, second-degree assault carries maximum penalties of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both; however, the standard range of sentencing set by the state is 6-12 months in jail. Unlawful imprisonment, a Class C felony, carries maximum penalties of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
— Scott Rasmussen