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Leon County Commissioner Chokes, Punches Wife During Fight, Court Records Say

Leon Co. Commissioner William Dean Stanford

A Leon County Commissioner pleaded guilty Tuesday to a domestic violence charge after choking and punching his wife in March, according to court records.

In an interview with a Leon County Sheriff?s Office lieutenant, Commissioner William Dean Stanford?s wife said that on March 25 around 9 p.m., she and Stanford got into an argument, according to court records. Court documents said she had Stanford?s cellphone and he tried to get it from her. The victim said Stanford ?flung her into a wall then threw her down onto the floor where she hit her head,? according to documents. The victim said while she was on the floor, Stanford got on top of her, choked her until she started passing out, and then punched her on the side of her left eye, documents said. According to court records, the victim said one of Stanford?s blows ?made things go black for a second.? She said Stanford punched her in the jaw and she believed it might have been broken or dislocated, court documents said.

The victim said that when Stanford was on top of her choking her, she was ?frantically trying to grab at him to stop and she grabbed his shirt and pulled it until the buttons popped off,? according to court records.

Court documents said Stanford chased the victim into a bathroom where she ?cowered down? into the bathtub. When the couple?s youngest son went into the bathroom, Stanford stopped and be told the boy to get out, court records said.

Stanford apologized to the victim and told their son what happened and that he ?should never hit a woman,? court documents said.

The victim said that when she went to bed, Stanford brought her an ice pack for her eye and continued to apologize, according to court records.

The victim told the lieutenant that she was afraid to leave the house due to ?his rage of anger,? documents said.

According to court documents, the victim said Stanford ?rushed her to put on makeup to cover her bruises? before she went to work the next day, but didn?t want her to go. She said before she left, Stanford was nice to her and asked her to pray with him as they did every morning. When she refused he cursed at her and told it was her fault, court documents said.

The lieutenant said that while photographing the victim?s injuries, she could see bruises on the victim?s left eye through the makeup. The lieutenant said she saw a bruise on the left side of the victim?s jaw near her chin and broken blood vessels in her left eye, documents said. She said she saw what looked like a thumbprint and bruises on the victim?s neck, puncture wounds behind her ear, possibly from an earring, and a bandage on one of the victim?s fingers where a nail was broken in the struggle, court records said.

Though the victim did not want to press charges, she said she wanted the incident to be documented ?in case anything happened to her,? court records said.

According to the documents, Stanford made reference to threatening to ?burn the house down with her in it to keep her from getting it in the divorce.?

The victim told the lieutenant that the two have been married for 21 years and in the past couple of year ?things have been escalating.?

Stanford was charged with assault causing bodily injury, family violence. Upon his release from jail Tuesday, a judge ordered that he remain at least 250 feet away from the victim.

Stanford was also ordered to complete a batterer?s intervention prevention program or anger management, serve 12 months probation, 180 hours of community service, pay $3,800 in fines and fees and attend a drug offender?s education, according to court documents.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there is help through The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.