HONESDALE -- Wayne County President Judge Janine Edwards found Michael Newfield, 32, of Honesdale guilty of one felony count of strangulation and a misdemeanor count of simple assault in a non-jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas Aug. 20.
First Assistant District Attorney Deborah Rothenberg said PA State Police responded to a domestic dispute in the Borough on April 5 and found the female victim had red marks on her neck and had sustained an injury to her lip. Investigators say an argument started in the couple's kitchen, where Newfield began choking the woman and tried to throw her down the basement steps.
ADA Rothenberg said the Wayne County District Attorney's office, and others around the Commonwealth have taken a zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence, and in 2017, the state legislature passed a law making strangulation against an intimate partner a felony offense. She noted that research in the field of domestic violence objectively shows that an abuser's attempt to strangle the victim is one of the biggest predictors of future lethality in intimate partner violence.
"Domestic violence is no longer a 'private matter' to be dealt with in the home, instead it is an issue our entire community must combat. I am thankful that Judge Edwards was able to separate the truth from the lies in the testimony and come to the correct determination that Mr. Newfield strangled and assaulted the victim, and I am hopeful that this conviction will dissuade the defendant from assaulting other victims in the future.
District Attorney Patrick Robinson said, "As usual, the PA State Police and First ADA Rothenberg did a very good job investigating and prosecuting this case."
Newfield is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 18 at 9:30 am.