BENNINGTON - A man is being held without bail after his wife accused him of strangling her while they drove home with a pizza.

Robert W. Wilkins, 46, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court to first degree aggravated domestic assault, misdemeanor domestic assault, and driving under the influence of alcohol. He will be held without bail until a hearing can determine what, if any, conditions he can be released on that ensure public safety and ensure that he attends future court appearances.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Thomas Bull, on Monday he was dispatched to a home on Middle Pownal Road where it was reported that a group of people had been fighting. When he arrived he found Wilkins and a woman sitting on the ground covered in mud. The woman was shouting for him to talk while he was moving away from her.

Neither Wilkins nor the woman wished to give statements, but eventually the woman said she and Wilkins had gone to get pizza in Bennington and while in the restaurant they began to argue. On the way back, she said Wilkins accelerated and asked her if she wanted to die. He grabbed her by the throat, cutting off her breathing, so she bit him on the arm.

Police said the woman had a wound on her lip, but she said that was from another day. They did not see any marks on her neck, but Wilkins had a bite mark on his arm.

Wilkins told police the woman was accusing him of cheating on her and he pushed her away in the car when she bit him.


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The woman had told police Wilkins pushed her when they got outside the truck, and a witness reported seeing them both pushing each other.

The woman's blood-alcohol content was .074 percent. According to a supplemental affidavit, Wilkins' blood-alcohol level was .092 percent and he had admitted to driving before the domestic situation was reported.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.co m or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.