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Polson man pleads guilty to strangulation, protective order violation

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POLSON — A Polson man has admitted to his part in strangling a woman through the rear window of a pick-up last June as well as other charges involving her.

Morgan Aniba Quinones Velazquez, 48, entered a guilty plea at District Court in Polson on Sept. 22 to misdemeanor violation of a protection order, felony violation of a protection order and felony strangulation of a partner or family member. The guilty pleas came as part of an agreement that will dismiss at sentencing felony counts of violation of a protection order, felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor criminal destruction of or tampering with a communications device. The agreement does not include a sentence recommendation, meaning the judge can hand down the maximum sentence. In this case the maximum amounts to seven and a half years incarceration, according to prosecutor Molly Owen with the Lake County Attorney’s office.

According to court records, on June 14, 2020, a woman called 911 to report Velazquez had run her off the road and into a ditch. The woman told a responding Lake County Sheriff’s deputy that she was on her way to work when Velazquez approached her from the opposite direction in another vehicle and tried to run her off the road. After some more evasive action was taken by the victim, she was eventually forced to stop her vehicle. Velazquez was able to access the bed of her truck by stepping onto the running boards. He got into the cab of the truck through a sliding rear window. The woman states that’s when Velazquez wrapped his arms around her neck and began choking her causing her to drive into the ditch. She says she tried to call 911 from her mobile phone but Velazquez grabbed it out of her hands and threw it down. She was able to get out of the truck and run to a witness for help and make the 911 call.

Quinones Velazquez was already facing the three counts of violation of an order of protection prior to the June 14, 2020 incident.

Judge James Manley set sentencing for Nov. 11.

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