Man charged with strangulation

An Altoona man is behind bars after he allegedly assaulted and choked a woman Wednesday night.

Christopher A. Leach, 34, of 529 E. Walton Ave., Apt. 3F, was arrested just before 10 p.m. after Altoona police responded to a 911 call by neighbors who heard a commotion in the upstairs apartment that Leach shares with the woman.

Neighbors allegedly heard the woman crying and begging, “Please, no,” and “Please, stop,” before calling 911.

Police said Leach and the woman were arguing when he grabbed her cellphone as she tried to call 911.

Leach broke the phone and in the process, cut his right hand. He then put the woman in a chokehold. Police said he pushed his knee into her back, pulling on her back and neck while holding her in a chokehold from behind.

When police arrived, Leach claimed the woman cut his hand with a paring knife, police noted.

The woman told police she couldn’t breathe when Leach was choking her and afterward complained of dizziness and trouble swallowing.

When Leach was taken into custody, officers allegedly found five clonazepam pills in his pocket.

Leach is charged with felony strangulation and aggravated assault as well as misdemeanor counts of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief and drug possession.

Bail was set at $25,000 cash by Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Auker. Leach remains in Blair County Prison with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday at Central Court.


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