Man gets 10 years for battery of girlfriend
Thursday, September 04, 2014 11:00 AM
A Madison man was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to beating and strangling his then-pregnant girlfriend and violating his probation earlier this year.
Superior Court Judge Alison Frazier sentenced Dominic Beaven, 25, on Wednesday to seven years in prison for battery, three years in prison for strangulation, 60 days in jail for domestic battery and 60 days in jail for invasion of privacy.
The sentences will be served consecutively with no time suspended.
Beaven had signed a plea agreement with prosecutors admitting guilt to the amended charges of battery, strangulation, domestic battery and invasion of privacy. He also admitted to a probation violation.
As part of the plea agreement, four counts of invasion of privacy and one count each of battery, strangulation and domestic battery were dropped.
The charges stem from an argument between Beaven and his then-girlfriend in January that turned into domestic violence.
Police were called to the couple's apartment after Beaven choked his victim, picked her up by the neck, slammed her against a door and threatened to kill her and her unborn baby.
The victim testified during the sentencing hearing Wednesday that the January altercation wasn't the first time Beaven had choked and beat her during their relationship.
Petty arguments, she said, escalated to battery several times while she was pregnant with his child.
The January altercation escalated after Beaven hit the victim's son in the neck with a fruit snack and took her cell phone, the victim said during the hearing. Beaven jabbed the victim in the stomach several times before she hit him in the face.
Beaven then picked her up by the neck, she said, strangling her while her son witnessed the abuse from the apartment hallway. After the altercation, the victim told her son to get a relative who lived nearby to help.
Dr. Dean Hawley, a forensic pathologist with the Indiana University School of Medicine, testified during the sentencing that photographs taken by hospital officials of fingertip-sized bruises on the victim's neck aren't usually that visible after strangulation. A police video recording of the victim from the night of the altercation also showed the victim speaking with a raspy voice, something Hawley attributed to the victim's vocal cords being crushed.
The victim also recounted the 22 phone calls she received from Beaven while he was incarcerated in the Jefferson County Jail and a letter she received from him after a no-contact order was issued.
The victim said she was also contacted by Beaven's father, who tried to convince her to drop the charges against his son.
Domestic violence expert witness Dottie Davis testified that the calls, letters and contact by Beaven's father ranged from coercion to manipulation - something often seen in domestic violence cases.
Beaven told the court before the judge's sentencing that he wasn't a bad person, but he had made some bad decisions.
Beaven's attorney, David Sutter, said Beaven had a limited criminal history and had been providing for his family by working full time before his arrest in January.
Prosecutor Katie Mote disagreed, asking for Beaven to be sentenced to the maximum 13 years in jail for his crimes. Mote said there was more damage done to the victim than just being strangled. There was also the threat to her unborn child.
Mote said a father is supposed to be someone who protects his children, not be the first person to hurt them.
Frazier considered Beaven's plea of guilt, his employment prior to his arrest and his criminal history in her sentencing, she said, but the violation of probation, coercion of the witness and extreme emotional distress also played a role in her decision.
Beaven received a 96-day credit for being in jail since his January arrest, which will be applied to his sentence on misdemeanor charges.
He will remain in the Jefferson County Jail to serve the remainder of his sentence for the misdemeanor charges, Frazier said during the hearing.
Beaven will serve the rest of his 10-year sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction.