Monday, September 17, 2012
KINGSTON, N.Y. — A predominately male jury on Thursday found a 59-year-old Kingston man guilty of felony strangulation and other domestic violence charges stemming from a Nov. 29 incident in which he punched, kicked and choked a woman to the point of unconsciousness, Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright said.
Terrance Peterson was found guilty of obstruction of breathing, two counts of criminal contempt and burglary, all felonies, and misdemeanor assault, by an Ulster County jury of 11 men and one woman, Carnright said.
Carnright said the victim had been previously abused by Peterson, culminating on Nov. 29, 2011, when he went to her apartment building, grabbed her by the throat in the hallway and forced her back inside her apartment, and tried to drag her into a bedroom.
Peterson placed his hands around the victim’s neck with such force that she passed out, Carnright said.
Peterson violated an order of protection that was in place as a result of domestic violence involving the same victim in 2010, the district attorney said.
Elizabeth Culmone, the county’s lead prosecutor in the case, called Dr. Michael Sikirica to explain to the jury what happens physiologically during a strangulation.
Sikirica testified that when blood flow to the brain is cut off, a person becomes “completely helpless,” sees “blue light” and loses consciousness. He told the jury at that point, the person is just 90 seconds away from death unless the pressure to the neck is released.
Peterson, who was represented by Edward Bruno, testified on his own behalf, admitting that he punched the victim five times, but denying that he choked her, Carnright said,
Carnright said the victim, after regaining consciousness, she ran out of her apartment into traffic, crying for help. He said one motorist, John Bills, stopped and came to her aid. He said Bills helped her call 911 and drove her to the hospital.
Bills testified at the trial, describing the victim’s emotional and physical condition and her injuries, Carnright said.
There was insufficient evidence to convict Peterson of stalking charges, the district attorney’s office said.
Peterson is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 6.
Editor's note: This story was modified 09-17-12 to correct the name of John Bills and the date of conviction, and add the failure to convict on stalking.