Casper Man Pleads Not Guilty to Strangulation, Felony Domestic Battery
A Casper man pleaded not guilty to strangulation of a household member and a felony count of domestic battery during his arraignment in Natrona County District Court on Friday.
Matthew Richard Williams, 33, entered the pleas before District Court Judge Kerri Johnson.
Williams originally was charged with one count of strangulation of a household member, a felony punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.
He also was charged with one misdemeanor count of domestic battery.
But Johnson said prosecutors amended the criminal information document, and now the domestic battery count is a felony because of previous domestic violence convictions. Conviction of felony domestic battery is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer objected to Williams' attorney request to lower his bond from $15,000.
Williams has a long criminal history with alcohol and substance abuse issues, driving under the influence, and other domestic violence offenses, Schafer said.
When officers responded to the call in this case, Schafer said Williams carried a machete and repeatedly yelled at them to shoot him in the head.
Johnson denied the request and Williams remains in custody.
The case started the night of Nov. 16, when three officers responded to a residence in the 1300 Block of South Fenway for a reported overdose.
The woman was evaluated, and the overdose claims were determined to be false. The woman was outside of the residence during her contact with officers, and most of her belongings had been thrown outside. She told police she had been living there with Williams for about a week.
He had locked the door and refused to let her back inside. The woman refused officers' offer for a ride to another location.
Officers left, but returned about 90 minutes later after receiving a report that the woman had been assaulted by Williams.
She said she went to a neighbor's house then returned to her residence where she went to sleep on a mattress.
The woman said Williams woke her up, screaming about a missing dog. He then allegedly grabbed her by the neck and squeezed, pulling her around the room. She said Williams shoved her and she fell backwards and hit her head on a refrigerator.
Police noted redness and early bruising on the woman's neck. Her shirt was reportedly torn and her face was flushed.
Officers then went to Williams's front door to speak with him about the incident. As they approached, they could hear Williams screaming nonsensically from within. One officer asked Williams to speak with them, and Williams reportedly started screaming about "getting shot," quickly advancing down the front hall toward the open front door.
Williams was allegedly carrying a large machete knife in one hand, repeatedly yelling at police and asking to be "shot in the head." One officer pulled the front door closed and held the handle, creating a barrier between Williams and the officers.
Another officer pointed his pistol at Williams and ordered him to drop the knife. Williams ultimately complied and gave himself up.
The alleged victim was treated by EMS and completed a domestic violence packet. Williams was arrested, and police helped the woman move out of the residence.