Pownal man pleads not guilty to assault charge

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POWNAL — A Pownal man pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated domestic assault with a weapon after police say he assaulted a woman and threatened to hit her in the face with a wooden board.

In an affidavit, Vermont State Police say that during a fight on Jan. 29, Matthew Wheeler, 35, grabbed the victim by her hair, pushed her, and threatened to hit her with a board after he struck it against several objects in the bedroom. The victim later told police in an interview that she is "terrified" of Wheeler and thought he was going to hit her with the board.

The victim gave police an audio recording of the incident, which she had taken on her phone. While listening to the recording, police could hear Wheeler threatening to punch the victim, states the affidavit.

At his court appearance on Friday, Wheeler was released on $5,000 bail on the condition that he not have contact with the victim and abide by a curfew. He also pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault.

If convicted of the felony, Wheeler faces no more than 15 years in prison or a fine of no more than $25,000, or both. The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of no more than 18 months in jail or a fine of no more than $5,000, or both.

Wheeler is to appear in court for a discovery conference on Feb. 20 at 11 a.m.

— Banner staff

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