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Attempted strangling now a felony charge

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)  - Strangling has been the cause of death in several central Virginia cases, from a Chesterfield mom accused of strangling her son to a Hanover woman found strangled to death in her Beaverdam Road home.  Now, lawmakers are looking to punish the perpetrators before it even gets that far, by making a simple attempt to suffocate someone, a felony.

“When things have reached that point, it’s very dangerous,” says Kristi Vanaudenhouve with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance tells CBS 6, the law may seem harsh, but, she calls it a necessity. Vanaudenhouve says they see a number of cases in which strangulation is used repeatedly as a threat before it becomes a method to kill someone.  “That’s a very high level of violence,” says Vanaudenhouve.

CBS 6 legal analyst, Todd Stone says, he is concerned about the idea because unlike other felony cases, not much evidence is needed here. The victim must simply show they were injured in some capacity, whether it is a small bruise or internal injury. “If someone doesn’t have a record and one spouse comes into court and says, hey, I was strangled and passed out. Well, that can put a felony conviction on the other spouse without any real, credible, physical evidence,“ says Stone.