French Creek man arrested for strangulation

ADRIAN – A French Creek man was arrested Monday after he allegedly strangled his wife until she couldn’t breathe and became light-headed and dizzy.

Justin Phipps, 33, of French Creek, was arrested Monday for strangulation, a felony, and domestic battery, a misdemeanor, according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Trooper John Tonkin with the Buckhannon Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.

The report said at 8:55 a.m., Tonkin was contacted by the victim, who said at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Monday, she and her husband, Phipps, became involved in a verbal argument.

The victim said the altercation allegedly became physical when Phipps threw her phone from the bedroom into the living room. When the victim attempted to retrieve her phone, she said Phipps began to shove her, according to the file. When she was bending over to retrieve her phone, Phipps allegedly wrapped his right arm around her neck and used his left arm to tighten the chokehold, the victim told police.

The victim told police she couldn’t breathe while was Phipps was squeezing her neck with his arm. According to the file, Phipps released the chokehold when the victim’s juvenile son walked into the room. The victim stated she was light-headed and dizzy after being released.

The victim said Phipps then began to drag her around the living room by her arm while breaking a slew of items that were in his path. After dragging her through the living room, the victim told police Phipps opened the front door and allegedly threw her down the porch steps and yelled “get out you fat [expletive],” the file states.

The victim said she was able to get up and retrieve her children prior to leaving the residence. At the state police office, Tonkin observed scuff marks on both of the victims’ knees and marks on her left arm/armpit area.

Magistrate Mike Coffman set bail at $40,000, and Phipps remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of Tuesday afternoon.

If convicted on the strangulation charge, Phipps faces a fine of up to $2,500, confinement in the state penitentiary for one to five years, or both. He also faces imprisonment of not more than 12 months and a fine of up to $500 if convicted on the domestic battery charge.

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