Garner Police Charge Man Under Strangulation Law
Posted February 14, 2005 4:51 a.m. EST
GARNER, N.C. — A new domestic violence law is getting a test in Wake County.
In their first case since the law took effect, Garner police charged 33-year-old Vinson Garrison with felony strangulation.
"Anytime you touch someone around the neck, it's serious business," said Lt. Jon Blum of the Garner Police Department. "It's not an assault. I mean you're grabbing an individual around their neck. It's a part of the body that can cause death or serious injury, so I think it was needed."
Tanisha Bagley, who has been out of her abusive marriage for 15 years, said the new state law which makes strangulation a felony is a step in the right direction.
"Maybe if we start doing little things like that to let them know Big Brother's watching you," she said. "You need to leave this woman alone. We're serious about this. You will go back to prison."
House Bill 1354
, which was passed in July 2004, strengthens domestic violence laws in 20 separate areas, including making strangulation a felony. That law went into effect Dec. 1. In December alone, 34 people were charged with felony strangulation in North Carolina.
"By doing that, we hope to save lives and prevent the non-fatal strangulation from turning into a fatal case," said Beth Froehling, of the N.C. Coalition against Domestic Violence.
The N.C. Coalition against Domestic Violence has tracked deaths in the cases since 2002. Since that time, they report 18 women have died after being strangled in domestic violence situations.