W.Va. woman denies abuse charges against husband

The wife of a West Virginia man accused of torturing and abusing her for years denied the allegations Friday, testifying that all of her burns and bruises were accidents.

This photo provided by the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston W.Va., shows Peter Lizon from Leroy W. Va. Authorities say Lizon tortured and enslaved his wife for much of the past decade, forcing her to endure two pregnancies and deliveries in shackles. Lizon was in jail Wednesday, July 11, 2012, on $300,000 bond. He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on a malicious wounding charge Friday morning in Jackson County Magistrate Court. (AP Photo/South Central Regional Jail)

RIPLEY, W.Va. (AP) — The wife of a West Virginia man accused of torturing and abusing her for years denied the allegations Friday, testifying that all of her burns and bruises were accidents.

Stephanie Lizon denied that her husband, Peter Lizon, bound her with chains, and when she was shown photos of her injuries, she gave short explanations and said her husband did not intentionally hurt her.

"It was an accident. My husband and I were arguing. We collided with each other," she testified when shown pictures of back wounds allegedly from a frying pan.

Prosecutor Katie Casto said the bruises were obvious.

"It is plain to a reasonable person that this was intentional," Casto said. "It's not an accident."

Peter Lizon has been charged with malicious wounding and is being held in jail on bond. He sat next to his attorneys at the preliminary hearing in Jackson County Magistrate Court.

His attorney, Shawn Bayliss, said the allegations were not true and asked Magistrate Jackie Casto to dismiss the charge, but the judge refused and found probable cause to send the case to circuit court.

"What we have established is that this is a mess," Bayliss said.

Stephanie Lizon testified she fled June 18 while the couple was at a heavy equipment rental store about 50 miles north of their home in Leroy near Ohio border, according to a criminal complaint. She went to a domestic violence shelter for two days.

She told another woman at the shelter of the abuse, the complaint said.

Stephanie Lizon testified that she went to the shelter after an argument with her husband outside the store. She said she did not want to argue in front of their 13-month-child.

An employee of the Bosley Rental & Supply store previously told The Associated Press Stephanie Lizon entered told the staff she was trying to hide from her husband when she entered a different part of the store.

The employee declined to give her name, citing concern for her safety and that of her co-workers at the rental shop.

Stephanie Lizon said then she didn't want to involve police but accepted the number for the shelter and called it, the store employee said. She also called family to ask for money, and the employees gave her cash and called her a cab.

She was limping and had appeared to have some sort of injury, the store employee said.

Investigators said they had 45 photographs showing burns on the wife's back and breasts from irons and frying pans, and scars on her wrists and ankles. When she was shown a picture of her foot injury, she said farming was dangerous and her husband did not know the tractor was close to her feet.

She said she did not seek medical treatment. "I didn't think it warranted it," she testified.

The couple has raised goats and chickens on their property since 2005.

Stephanie Lizon declined comment after hearing. Her attorney, Chris Pritt, said she would issue a statement later.

Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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