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90 days for man who tried strangling girlfriend

by EMRY DINMAN
Staff Writer | December 28, 2020 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — A 24-year-old Moses Lake man was sentenced to about three months in jail after pleading guilty to reportedly strangling his girlfriend and taking her phone as she tried to call 911, according to court documents.

Vincent Olveda Wheeler, 24, pleaded guilty Dec. 15 in an agreement with prosecutors to domestic violence-residential burglary, felony harassment with threats to kill, and fourth-degree assault, which come with a combined maximum term of nearly 16 years in prison.

Because Wheeler had no prior criminal history, he was considered a first-time offender and sentenced to 364 days in jail, with 274 days suspended for two years and upon successful completion of requirements. He also received credit for time served in jail.

Wheeler was originally charged in July with second-degree assault with strangulation and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, as well as felony harassment with threats to kill.

According to court documents, Wheeler entered the home he shared with the victim around 2 a.m. on July 9 and began yelling at her while she was sleeping, according to court documents. Wheeler was reportedly intoxicated and began to strike the victim in the face with an open hand, before beginning to choke her. Wheeler allegedly grabbed the victim’s phone, which was under the pillow of the bed, and threw it across the room.

The victim momentarily was able to break free and fell to the ground, according to court documents. At that point, Wheeler reportedly wrapped an arm around the victim’s throat and told her that he could kill her if he wanted to, a threat that the victim believed he was going to carry out, she later told police.

The victim told police that she was able to break free, grab her phone and run outside. The victim reportedly attempted to call 911 with her phone, but Wheeler allegedly grabbed her phone and took it from her. She ran to a neighbor’s house and began banging on the door, according to court documents. A neighbor let her in, but Wheeler was reportedly on top of her trying to “manhandle” her, the neighbor later told police. Wheeler reportedly ran away, and the victim called 911.

When police arrived, they noted a number of bruises and marks on the victim’s face, neck and arms. Wheeler was located later that day and arrested. A pistol belonging to Wheeler was also seized for safekeeping, according to court records.

On Halloween, while awaiting judgment in the ongoing domestic violence case, Wheeler was arrested after breaking into the victim’s home, according to a court clerk. Charges in that case were dismissed in the plea agreement with prosecutors.

In addition to jail time, Wheeler was sentenced to one year in community custody, during which he is not to possess or consume alcohol or marijuana, and has been ordered to undergo treatment for substance use disorder and anger management. He also must pay $600 in fines and fees.

Emry Dinman can be reached via email at edinman@columbiabasinherald.com.