Son Intervenes in Violence Against Mother; Attacker Was on Bond
Despite being out on bond for similar felony, man charged free on low cash bond
By Jacob Mathias
A Stevens Point man faces multiple felonies after allegedly striking a woman and choking her son during a domestic disturbance on Michigan Avenue.
Ryan Wojtalewicz, 34, made his initial appearance before Judge Thomas Eagon in Portage Co. Circuit Court on Aug. 15 with his attorney, Karl Schmidt.
According to the criminal complaint, Stevens Point police responded to a residence on the 1800 block of Michigan Ave. on the evening of July 30 after a caller reported domestic abuse. A woman at the home reported earlier in the day she and the Wojtalewicz had learned a mutual friend battling heroin addiction had suffered a relapse.
According to the complaint, Wojtalewicz wanted to have the friend stay at their home; the woman disagreed. The argument escalated, and soon the couple’s yelling had woke the woman’s son, who came downstairs to investigate the noise.
In an interview with police, the woman’s son told officers he saw Wojtalewicz hit the woman on the back and head, then slap her face.
The son, whose age was not listed in the complaint, said he intervened to protect his mother, at which point he said Wojtalewicz grabbed him by the throat and began pushing him, making it difficult to breathe. In defense the son grabbed the defendant’s throat, and the two began pushing each other back and forth.
The woman had since gone into the bathroom because, according to the complaint, she felt nauseous. She said sometime later Wojtalewicz forced his way into the bathroom and pushed her into the bathtub.
The woman’s son was finally able to control Wojtalewicz by placing him into a headlock, but he told police he was “very careful” to not interfere with Wojtalewicz’s ability to breathe. The son said he released Wojtalewicz when he appeared to calm down.
Wojtalewicz is currently free on a $500 cash bond and is allowed to have contact with the woman and her son at their request.
Wojtalewicz faces charges of felony strangulation and suffocation, which carries a maximum sentence of up to a $10,000 fine, six years imprisonment or both if convicted. Since Wojtalewicz is a repeat felony offender, his prison sentence can be increased by up to four years for each charge.
The defendant is also charged with misdemeanor battery, which has a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine, nine months imprisonment or both if convicted.
He also faces two counts of bail-jumping, as Wojtalewicz was under bond for felony domestic battery and disorderly conduct charges at the time of the incident. Each count carries a maximum sentence of a $10,000 fine, six years imprisonment or both per charge if convicted. In that case, which stems from a Dec., 2015 incident, Wojtalewicz is charged with felony battery and was released by Judge Robert Shannon on a $2,000 signature bond. The jury trial for that case is scheduled for November.
For the July incident, Wojtalewicz returns to court on Aug. 29 at 3:00 PM for a preliminary hearing.