By: Shereen Hashem
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — “Strangulation is such a prevalent problem,” said Brandon Pasley, who works with domestic violence victims at the YWCA in Oklahoma City.
He said it can take as little as 4.4 pounds of pressure per square inch around the throat to kill.
“It still baffles me that we don’t have more prosecution regarding strangulation as attempted homicide,” Pasley said.
That could soon change as Senate Bills 1103 and 1104 move through the Oklahoma Legislature. They would make strangulation a violent crime, and would stiffen penalties and fines.
“If you are in a bar fight and you inflict great bodily harm on the victim, yes, that is a violent crime,” said state Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman), who introduced the legislation. “But for some reason, in domestic violence, it’s not always the case.”
Standridge said studies show that victims of strangulation are 750 times more likely to then be a domestic homicide victim. His bills would raise the maximum sentence from three to 10 years for strangulation in a domestic violence situation.
“Why it wasn’t done before? Well, some people might not have looked at it so close, and it maybe wasn’t as big an issue as it is today,” the senator said.
The two bills passed the full Senate on Monday.
“Penalties that elevate strangulation events to violent crimes absolutely send the message across the state in term of sentencing that we take strangulation very seriously,” Pasley said.
Sen. Standridge said the stronger sentences not only act as a deterrent, but also serve to keep the criminal away from the victim for an extended period.
His bills will now likely be considered along with similar legislation that passed the House in a conference committee.
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