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Man pleads guilty to assault

Prosecutors and the lawyer for a 33-year-old Oak Harbor man accused of choking his wife reached a plea agreement just before the trial was set to begin.

Neil Schoenberger pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Friday to third-degree assault, domestic violence. Under the plea bargain, both the prosecution and Schoenberger’s lawyer, Richard Hansen of Seattle, will recommend to the judge that he spend seven months in jail, obtain a domestic violence evaluation and comply with any treatment recommendations.

Schoenberger, a Navy man, was originally charged with two counts of second-degree assault and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence. A charge of unlawful imprisonment was later added. If convicted of those charges, Schoenberger was facing up to a year and five months in state praison.

Officer Tony Slowik with the Oak Harbor Police Dept. wrote that Schoenberger and the 29-year-old victim got into a fight Jan. 7, 2004, over her continued drinking.

The woman claimed tahat Schoenberger threw her on the bed, face down, got on top of her and choked her until she couldn’t breathe and spit up blood. He stopped when their 2-year-old daughter came into the room.

According to court documents, Schoenberger threw the phone downstairs when the victim said she would call police.

Sgt. John Dyer with Oak Harbor Police wrote that Schoenberger then choked his wife a second time, causing her to spit blood again, but stopped when the little girl screamed for him to stop hurting “mommy.” The woman was able to escape; she ran from the house and went next door for help.

The charging information states that the assault caused “subsequent petechia in both eyes and trachea.”

Dyer wrote that Schoenberger told him he never hit his wife before, but “things got a little out of hand.”

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