Shawn Paul Ruthford, 31, Enterprise, will spend up to 57 months incarcerated in the Oregon Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty to three counts of an 11-count indictment of domestic assault, including strangulation. Ruthford also pleaded guilty to a separate case of witness tampering at the Wallowa County Circuit Court on Feb. 27. Rebecca Frolander prosecuted the case while attorney Jared Boyd represented the defendant. Judge Wes Williams presided.
The domestic charges stemmed from an incident on Dec. 23-24 of last year that involved a multi-hour fight between Ruthford and the victim that lasted into Christmas Eve day. Boyd said his client admitted that he hit and caused injury to the victim regarding the two domestic assault counts. Ruthford pleaded guilty to “impeding the normal breathing or blood circulation of the victim by applying pressure to the throat and neck” of the victim in the presence of a minor child, which elevated the crime to a felony.
Frolander said that the altercation started as an argument and later escalated into the assaults. She said the victim had significant bruising on her neck in two locations as well as bruising on her chin and cheek and a goose egg on the back of her head from having it slammed into the wall or floor. She also incurred injuries to her ribs, back and ankle. A neighbor heard the altercation and reported it to law enforcement.
Stipulations of the plea agreement include a 30-day jail sentence on the two counts of domestic assault and 14 months with the department of corrections for the felony strangulation charge. Ruthford also garnered two years of post-prison supervision and is compelled to enter domestic violence and drug and alcohol treatment with the the possibility of Alternative Incarceration Program, which would allow the defendant to reside in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for treatment. Completion of the programs will qualify Ruthford for early release.
Both the victim and defendant admitted to the habitual use of methamphetamine.
The witness tampering case included Ruthford pleading guilty to six counts of the crime, in which he attempted to induce the victim to give false testimony or to unlawfully withhold testimony.
Frolander said that while Ruthford was incarcerated at Umatilla County Jail he made numerous calls to the victim on a recorded line, even after being informed the line was subject to recording and monitoring. He agreed to an additional 24 months at the DOC for count two of the tampering and 19 months consecutively on the additional tampering charges, for a total of 57 months.