A 49-year-old Thornton Avenue man has been sentenced to four years in prison for felonious assault on his former live-in girlfriend.
Owen Gunther drew the sentence from Judge Lou A. D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court earlier this week after pleading guilty to assaulting his girlfriend in their residence between Jan. 11 and 17.
Gunther’s decision to plead guilty came as a detective was on the witness stand for the prosecution during Gunther’s jury trial, and the prosecution was preparing to play Gunther’s video confession to the crime, said Shawn Burns, an assistant county prosecutor.
At that point, Gunther also became aware that the victim had arrived in the courthouse, Burns added.
Burns said he had sufficient evidence to prove the felonious-assault charge based on photos, medical records and the victim’s testimony.
He said, however, the prosecution was forced to dismiss two counts of kidnapping before the trial because prosecutors were unable to find the victim before the trial.
“Without her, we didn’t have enough evidence to go forward on those charges,” Burns explained.
The 35-year-old victim was agreeable to the four-year sentence, which the prosecution and defense agreed upon and the judge imposed, Burns said.
The victim told police she and Gunther argued, and he punched and kicked her until she passed out.
When she woke up, he tied a rope around her neck until she passed out again, the police report said.
The woman told police Gunther detained her against her will in the house for six days before she freed herself and called police from a Fifth Avenue church.
Police saw that she had several cuts and bruises and broken blood vessels in her eyes, and she was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center.
Gunther, who will get credit for the 127 jail days he has already served, will be on parole for three years after his prison term.