BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested after allegedly choking his girlfriend during an argument involving a kitten.
Terry Mills, 62, of Buckhannon was arrested Monday for strangulation, a felony; domestic battery, a misdemeanor; and domestic assault, also a misdemeanor.
According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Trooper Z.M. Lewis with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, at 1:17 p.m., Lewis received a call from the E911 Upshur County Communication Center in reference to a domestic altercation in progress at a residence on Burnt Bridge in Buckhannon.
The Comm Center advised Lewis that both parties involved in the domestic incident had reportedly called the 911 Center. Although Mills and the victim were separated when Lewis arrived on scene, Lewis ascertained that the two were a couple who lived together, the file states.
Upon speaking to the victim, Lewis observed clear red marks around her neck “consistent with physical contact and/or strangulation,” and the victim was visibly upset, according to the file. The victim told Lewis she brought a kitten home without Mills knowing about it prior to the kitten’s arrival. The victim told police that the two became involved in a verbal altercation about the kitten, and she claimed that during the course of the argument, Mills allegedly placed his hands around her neck and restricted her airflow.
The victim stated she started to faint due to a lack of oxygen. However, Mills let go before the victim lost consciousness, the police report states.
When Lewis spoke to Mills, Mills said the two “were in a disagreement about a kitten” the victim brought home. The two engaged in a verbal argument and Mills said they entered his vehicle together and began driving down the roadway to return the kitten, and the victim was driving.
Mills told police that the victim then “brought up a prior relationship Mills had,” which sparked another verbal disagreement. Mills allegedly told police he “reached over and hovered his hands over the neck of the victim and told her he was going to choke her,” the criminal complaint states.
Due to marks on the victim and the statements from both parties, Lewis charged Mills with domestic assault, domestic battery and strangulation, according to the file.
Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder set bail at $22,500 cash only, according to the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The penalty for a conviction of strangulation, the felony, is confinement in the state penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than five years, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.