KIM SMITH DEDAM
ELIZABETHTOWN — A 17-month domestic violence case ended Thursday with John King shackled and ordered to state prison.
The former Westport resident, husband and father of two small children, had admitted guilt to felony strangulation, side-stepping an attempted murder charge on the day of jury selection.
John admitted to strangling his wife, Meredith King, on Sept. 25, 2011, even as their young daughter was in the home and witnessed the attack.
Meredith was injured, rendered unconscious and incontinent in the attack.
John then dragged his wife into a corner, according to court records, and left her.
In court Thursday, Essex County Judge Richard B. Meyer halted sentencing to be sure Meredith did not want to bring the matter to trial.
Plea bargains, he said, spare victims and their families the distress of a trial.
Meyer expressed doubt, due to the severity of the domestic violence attack, that 10 years is an appropriate sentence in this case.
“I wonder whether or not this case might be better going to trial.” the judge said aloud.
Meyer’s comments came as he prepared to issue the sentence that had been agreed to in the plea deal.
Meredith had just shared a powerful victim’s impact statement that, for the first time, she said, allowed her voice to be heard.
She and Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague took a brief recess to discuss whether or not to call the case back to trial.
They opted out, seeking an end to the 17-month ordeal with the abuser, John, out on bail for much of that time.
Meyer handed down a 10-year sentence in state prison with an additional five years of supervision.
There is also an eight-year order of protection, barring John from contacting Meredith after he is released from prison.
The judge also suspended visitation rights of the couple’s two children to see their father in jail, pending evaluation of what harm, if any, his visits with them have had in the past 17 months.
More details will be added to this report later today.
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