A 19-year-old Perry man pleaded no contest Wednesday to two misdemeanor charges after he was accused of choking his former girlfriend dozens of times last year.
Trevor J. Benedict entered the pleas to child endangerment, after prosecutors reduced two original counts of felony aggravated child endangerment.
The 17-year-old girl testified earlier this month at a preliminary hearing she consented to having Benedict choke her during the several months they dated beginning in December 2010 and that she lost consciousness during one of the incidents at her Douglas County residence. A Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy also testified investigators believed she became unconscious one other time last August outside her job at a Lawrence restaurant.
After that hearing defense attorney Timothy Riling had asked for the charges to be dismissed and argued the choking acts were consensual and she reported she was not injured. But District Judge Sally Pokorny had said there was evidence Benedict still put the girl’s life in danger and the girl was harmed because prosecutors had evidence he also cut her with a razor blade.
Benedict, who was a Kansas University student at the time of his arrest last August, also faces an aggravated child endangerment case as a juvenile because prosecutors allege some of the incidents occurred before he turned 18. Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney, said prosecutors would agree to dismiss the juvenile case after his sentencing. He also must obtain a mental health evaluation.
He faces a maximum two years in jail in the adult case, but attorneys are expected to argue at sentencing over whether he will serve one or two years on probation.
Riling and McGowan said Benedict had agreed to submit to GPS monitoring while he’s awaiting sentencing. He had been held on $65,000 bond because he was accused of seeing the girl while the charges were pending. But Pokorny agreed to release Benedict on his own recognizance if he uses the monitoring device and stays more than a half-mile from the girl’s residence in Douglas County.
Pokorny is scheduled to sentence Benedict March 30.