KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- An Orchard Road man was ordered held without bail Monday after he was charged with allegedly strangling his girlfriend over three separate occasions.
William Cruzado, 31, pleaded not guilty to four counts of aggravated domestic assault, and two kidnapping charges. He was charged as a habitual offender, meaning that if convicted of a new felony the state can argue for him to serve up to life in prison. Cruzado is being held in the Rutland jail until a bail review hearing set for Wednesday.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Andy Hunt, on Sunday at 7:11 p.m. he was sent to Orchard Road for a 911 hang-up call. There he met Cruzado and a woman who was crying. The woman said she and Cruzado were arguing and she shoved him fearing he was going to attack her. He dialed 911 but hung up without speaking to the operator. She said she was washing dishes and Cruzado strangled her. He tried to force her into a bedroom so she called for her 6-year-old son to contact police.
Hunt noted finger marks and scratches on the woman's neck.
She said she has been dating Cruzado for nine months and after the first three he became abusive. She said they were in a vehicle on Northside Drive in January or February and Cruzado strangled her during an argument. She said he bit her thumb when she pushed him away. She said police did respond but she was afraid to report the incident.
She said she was strangled and assaulted on two other occasions, one in February when Cruzado grabbed her by the throat and hit her head against a car windshield. The other time was in March when he grabbed her throat and prevented her from leaving a home. The woman's mother told police she photographed some of her daughter's injuries and noted the times, which correspond to the dates the woman gave police.
The affidavit did not contain a statement from Cruzado or indicate whether or not he had given one.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr