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New Market man accepts plea deal in assault case

Eric Thomas Nelson

WOODSTOCK – A New Market man accepted a plea deal Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court of one year in jail – already served – for two counts of assault and battery on a family member and one count of strangulation.

Shenandoah County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola dropped a charge of malicious wounding against Eric Thomas Nelson, 28, as part of the deal. Nelson will also serve three years on probation.

In a statement of the evidence that would have been used against Nelson had the case gone to trial, Campola told Judge Dennis L. Hupp that Nelson had abused his soon-to-be ex-wife for several weeks, but the incidents grew worse toward late December of 2015.

He said the victim reported the abuse to authorities after Nelson punched her several times and hit her with an open hand on Dec. 29. He then choked her to the point she almost lost consciousness. The victim was taken to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital for treatment of her injuries – bruising to her eyes, neck and jaw. Authorities also noted a liquid discharge from her ears, Campola said.

Campola also said Nelson admitted to spanking one of the victim’s sons, who was 10 at the time. Authorities found bruises on the right side of the victim’s son’s body and on his left leg.

The victim, who identified herself at the hearing, said she agreed to the terms of the deal, and her divorce from Nelson will be finalized within the next month.

Hupp said the maximum sentence for each count of assault and battery of a family member is 12 months, and the maximum sentence for strangulation, a felony, is five years.

However, he said Nelson’s sentence of one year exceeds his state sentencing guidelines for the case.

When asked by Hupp, Nelson said he would live with his sister in Timberville upon release.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com.