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Alleged choking incidents lead to domestic assault charges for 2 West Plains men


Two West Plains men, Paul A. Vincent and Kyle G. Wilbanks, have been charged with domestic assault after allegedly choking their girlfriends in incidents that occurred 12 days apart.

A $5,000-bond warrant was issued Monday for Vincent, charged with a count of felony second-degree assault, according to public court records, which show the warrant as outstanding.

At about 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 19, Vincent, 35, was reportedly involved in a fight near the intersection of Second Street and Lincoln Avenue, according to a probable cause statement submitted to prosecutors by West Plains Police Department Officer Robert Shell.

Shell noted it was the second time that day officers had responded to an altercation between Vincent and the other party, and the alleged victim told the officer Vincent had punched her in the face two or three times, then knocked her to the ground, got on top of her and began to choke her until she almost lost consciousness.

She added the only thing that kept her from passing out was kicking him away, and said she was in fear for her life.

Shell said he saw blood coming from around her mouth and red marks on her neck where the suspect had strangled her, and he took a photo of her neck for evidence. Vincent was not at the scene, he said, and the victim was released at the scene after being checked and cleared by medical personnel.

The case is being prosecuted by Howell County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Hutchings and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Heath Hardman.

On Nov. 29, according to a statement submitted to prosecutors by Officer Brent Keepes, he responded to a home and took a report from a woman who said she and her boyfriend, Wilbanks, 33, had been arguing when he grabbed her by the neck and forced her to the ground, then placed one hand around her neck and applied significant pressure for about a minute.

The alleged assault reportedly caused her to struggle to breathe and made her fear for her life. She said Wilbanks then poured bleach on her and, without her permission, took a cell phone that had fallen out of her pocket.

She told the officer she slapped him in response to the altercation and Wilbanks grabbed her by the neck again with one hand and held her against a wall, again choking her for about a minute and hindering her ability to breathe and making her fear for her life.

Keepes reportedly seized a shirt with bleach stains and said the victim had an abrasion on her right elbow and small red marks on her neck consistent with finger marks. A child who was present during the incident told the officer Wilbanks had pushed the victim against the wall and grabbed her by the neck.

In a law enforcement interview regarding the incident, Wilbanks reportedly admitted pouring bleach on the victim and taking her phone, though he alleged she had sprayed bleach on his belongings first. He also admitted he held the victim against the wall by her neck only once, after she had slapped him, Keepes stated.

Her phone was returned to her.

Wilbanks is charged with second-degree domestic assault and felony stealing by physically taking, according to court records. A warrant with a $5,000 bond was issued Nov. 30 for his arrest and served the same day, and bond was also posted that day, court records show. The case is being prosecuted by Hutchings and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jodi Wake.

Wilbanks is scheduled to make an initial appearance in court Monday before Associate 37th Circuit Judge R. David Ray.