A Douglas County judge is deciding whether a 19-year-old Perry man accused of choking his 17-year-old former girlfriend dozens of times should face a trial on an aggravated child endangerment charge.
“This is to me a classic case,” District Judge Sally Pokorny said Wednesday while hearing arguments from attorneys, “but for the grace of God, I mean, she could have died. That’s reckless, and that’s dangerous.”
But Pokorny said she would review past cases and rule later on whether prosecutors proved there was probable cause that Trevor J. Benedict should face a trial in the case. Benedict was a Kansas University student when he was arrested last August.
The girl testified during Wednesday’s preliminary hearing that she consented to having Benedict choke her during the several months they dated beginning in December 2010. She also said she believes he should not face criminal charges in the case. Benedict faces charges as both an adult and a juvenile because Douglas County prosecutors allege the dozens of choking incidents occurred before and after Benedict turned 18.
The girl's parents reported the incidents to police, according to testimony. Pokorny is expected to make her ruling Friday.
The girl said she lost consciousness only once — in 2010 at her Douglas County residence — and Jay Armbrister, a Douglas County Sheriff’s detective who interviewed Benedict and the girl, said officers believed she also lost consciousness during another incident last August outside the girl’s job at a Lawrence restaurant. Armbrister also said Benedict told him the first time she lost consciousness in December 2010 he bent down next to her so she could mimic his breathing pattern to help her calm down.
The girl also testified she gave Benedict permission once to cut her with a razor blade.
Benedict’s defense attorney Timothy Riling argued Wednesday the felony charge should be dismissed because she consented to the acts and because she was not injured.
Benedict remains in the Douglas County Jail on $65,000 bond in the juvenile case because prosecutors accused him of repeatedly seeing the girl last fall, which was a violation of his bond conditions.