New law makes strangulation a felony in Virginia

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jul 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-19 00:25:35-04

Strangulation is now a felony in the state of Virginia.

“He looked me in the eyes and told me he was going to kill me.” That’s what Lindsay says her ex-boyfriend did during a fight.

“I was scared. I have a daughter to live for, and at that very moment, I didn’t think I was going to,” she says.

Police say Lindsay’s ex-boyfriend, Justin Jones, choked her in her apartment leaving bruises all over her neck.

He is now facing a felony charge in connection with choking her on July 2nd.

If it had happened two days earlier, he would have been charged with a misdemeanor.

That changed thanks to a group from the Samaritan House. Just last year alone, they helped nearly 40 women recover from a strangulation assault, making it one of the most common types of domestic abuse.

It is something Lindsay never expected would happen to her.

She says, “He took my phone and I yanked it back. And then he started to strangle me. He strangled me five times.”

Lindsay says she was trying to break up with Jones after eight months of dating. But it didn’t end well.

Court documents show Jones told investigators that was the only way to get Lindsay off of him, which she says was done out of self-defense.

She adds, “Emotions just get the best of everybody and it just got out of hand.”

As for Lindsay, she says she’s thankful the crime is now a felony after surviving what she calls a near-death experience.

She says, “People say it’s not that bad. They say you are dramatic. But you don’t know until you’re in that predicament, gasping for air because of someone putting their hands on you. It's not worth it.”