Ebensburg man faces strangulation charge

Keith allegedly assaulted, threatened woman

A Cambria County man faces a felony charge of strangulation after allegedly choking a woman Friday evening before reportedly threatening her with a knife.

John E. Keith Jr., 59, of 272 Lakeview Road, Apt. 5, Ebensburg, is accused of assaulting the woman, who later called police.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Cambria Township police, an officer arrived at the apartment about 7:52 p.m. Both the woman and Keith were inside.

The officer said Keith was “immediately irate,” yelling that the apartment was his home.

Keith’s continued yelling eventually led the officer to “detain” him, according to the complaint.

“Keith did later calm down for a short time and did not seem sure why I was called,” the officer wrote in the complaint.

Keith also said that the woman was angry that he was drinking and had called him lazy, the officer said.

He did not admit to hitting the woman but said he had pushed her, according to the complaint.

The woman had a different story, telling the officer “this is an ongoing issue.”

The woman reported that Keith was drinking both at home and at a local bar.

When Keith returned to the apartment, he was covered in mud and insulted the woman, she told police.

The woman then asked Keith to change his clothes, which prompted him to push her, according to the complaint.

Then he put his hands around the woman’s throat and began to choke her, the officer said, reporting the woman’s statement.

“Keith also threatened to grab a knife and ‘take care of her,'” the officer said. “He also began opening a drawer where the knives are located.”

The woman then left the room and called police.

Keith was transported to the local police office, and, while in custody, he again made threats against the woman, according to the complaint.

“Keith did threaten that if he gets out, he will kill (the woman),” the officer wrote.

In addition to the felony strangulation charge, Keith faces misdemeanor charges of simple assault and making terroristic threats.

He was arraigned Saturday morning before Magisterial District Judge Mary Ann Zanghi.

As of Monday afternoon, Keith remained in Cambria County Prison unable to post 10 percent of $15,000 bail.

He is to appear for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. April 10 before Magisterial District Judge Frederick Creany.

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