City man arrested for assault, strangulation, terroristic threats

A city man faces felony and misdemeanor charges after he allegedly choked his fiancee and held his hand over her mouth and nose so she couldn’t breathe or call out for help.

According to charges filed by Altoona police, Robert C. Harris, 47, 305 Sixth Ave., rear, is accused of assaulting his fiancee Monday night after the two got into an argument because he wanted to go to sleep after he got home from work about 3 p.m. and she wanted him to stay up and talk.

Harris allegedly grabbed the woman by the neck with both hands and squeezed for about a minute while she struggled to breathe.

“Is this what you want?” Harris allegedly asked as he choked his fiancee. “Do you want to die?”

When he released her, she started to scream, but he held his hand over her mouth and nose for a couple minutes, making it difficult for her to breathe, police said.

Police said Harris then started drinking and about 4 p.m., he allegedly punched the sides of her head and mouth after throwing her to the floor. Harris is accused of breaking the woman’s iPhone 8 when she tried to call her mother, and through­out the incident, he kept her from leaving.

Harris asked her to go to bed and promised he would let her leave in the morning, but when he got up to use the bathroom at 10 p.m., she tried running from the house. Police said Harris caught her in the backyard and tackled her before holding his hand over her face so she couldn’t scream.

When a neighbor turned on an outside light, Harris ran off.

Harris was taken into custody and booked on a felony count of strangulation and misdemeanor counts of simple assault, terroristic threats and criminal mischief.

He remains in Blair County Prison in lieu of $30,000 cash bail and is scheduled to appear Wednesday at Central Court for a preliminary hearing.

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