BENNINGTON -- A McCall Street man is being held without bail after he was accused of strangling a woman and her dog during an argument.
Scott C. Chellis, 25, pleaded not guilty May 14 to first degree aggravated domestic assault, aggravated cruelty to an animal, and misdemeanor domestic assault. He was ordered held without bail at the hearing pending a further "weight of the evidence" hearing to determine what, if any, conditions the court felt comfortable releasing him on. On Monday Judge Nancy Corsones issued a written decision holding him until his case resolves.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Robert Murawski, on May 14 at 4:33 a.m. he was dispatched to McCall Street for a domestic issue. There he spoke to a woman who said that she and Chellis had been out with some friends, drinking, and that he became upset on the way back. He started to pack up her things as well as separate some children’s toys. She said she tried speaking to him, but he was not turning, so she grabbed him to get his attention. He then pushed her the ground and covered her mouth with his hand. She bit him and called her dog, which came and barked at Chellis.
Chellis picked the dog up by the collar, and according to the woman strangled it. She grabbed him to make him stop, scratching his neck in the process.
When she left the room, Chellis put her in a "choke hold" from behind, cutting off her ability to breathe.
Police said she had bruises on her arm.
According to police, Chellis left the apartment twice, once to get cigarettes, the second after he heard from the woman police were coming. Police indicated they found him on foot away from the home. He told them he was on his way to a relative’s house because he does not like conflict.
Chellis gave police a different account of the argument with the woman and the return trip home, but did say he was packing the woman’s things up so she could leave. She grabbed him by the neck from behind, and he pushed her away before leaving the apartment. Being grabbed caused him no pain, he said.
Police observed a scratch mark on his neck about three inches long. They observed no dog bites on him and he denied being bitten, or assaulting the woman at all. He gave a breath sample showing his blood-alcohol level to be .156 percent. He declined to give a sworn written statement.
The dog appeared to be uninjured, said police.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.