Juniata man pleads to strangulation

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Juniata man who entered a guilty plea on Friday morning to a felony charge of strangulation will serve 11.5 to 23 months in jail.

Michael A. Stine Jr., 34, was scheduled for a jury trial starting Wednesday in Blair County Court. But the trial will be canceled in light of the plea offered in exchange for the recommended sentence imposed by Blair County Judge Daniel Milliron.

Stine will be credited for the time he has already served, Assistant Public Defender Julia Burke said Friday.

Assistant District Attorney Bart Wischnowski presented the proposed plea that he said had the support of the woman Altoona police identified as a strangulation victim in a domestic dispute on North Eighth Street.

Altoona police, in charges filed against Stine, said the pair had gotten into a mid-afternoon argument April 21 over a telephone number that Stine had found in the house.

Altoona police said the 6-foot-3 Stine allegedly grabbed the 5-foot female by her throat and raised her until she was eye level with him, then threw her to the kitchen floor. While maintaining a hold on her throat, Stine allegedly picked her up from the floor and slammed her into a refrigerator door, the charges indicated.

Based on legislative action, Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code was expanded to include strangulation as of Dec. 26, defined as any pressure that keeps a person from breathing, except in consensual situations.

Representatives for the state Coalition Against Domestic Violence maintain that abuse involving nonfatal strangulation can escalate into more violent, and sometimes fatal, situations.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.