Man gets probation for choking girlfriend

Aaron Pugh

FRONT ROYAL – A Warren County man received a suspended jail sentence Monday for strangling his girlfriend last June.

Aaron Dwayne Pugh, 41, of 751 Mountain Road, Front Royal, appeared in Warren County Circuit Court where he entered an Alford plea of guilt to one felony count of strangulation. A defendant who enters an Alford plea maintains his innocence but feels that pleading guilty is in his best interest.

Judge Ronald Napier accepted the defendant’s plea and sentenced Pugh to five years with all time suspended. Napier ordered Pugh to serve two years of supervised probation. The judge then granted a motion by the commonwealth to dismiss Pugh’s remaining charge of domestic assault. Sentencing guidelines prepared in the case recommended Pugh receive a punishment of seven months to one year and 11 months.

A criminal complaint filed in Pugh’s case states that Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Heath Almarode responded to the hospital on June 26 where he met a woman who said she had a domestic incident with her boyfriend who lived with her. The woman told the deputy that Pugh threw a suitcase at her and hit her in the legs, leaving a bruise.

“He strangled her to the point where she couldn’t (breathe) anymore,” the complaint states. “She punched him in the face. He drug her off the bed by her hair. He called her a bunch of names. Around 6:45 a.m. he came in the room yelling at her about her hitting him in the face.”

Front Royal attorney David Downes represented Pugh. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Hammond prosecuted the case.

A checklist used by the magistrate to determine whether or not to set bail shortly after Pugh’s arrest shows the defendant had several convictions of contempt of court but none involving violent crimes.