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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Peter Lizon: The Husband From Hell

     In 2012, Peter Lizon, a 37-year-old native of the Czech Republic, lived with his wife Stephanie and their one-year-old son along a rural road in Leroy, West Virginia not far from Charleston in the western part of the state. The front yard to the rundown house featured a pair of signs that read: "No Trespassing," and "Guard Dog on Duty." The couple raised chickens and goats.

     On June 18, 2012, 43-year-old Stephanie and her husband were in Parkersburg, West Virginia about 50 miles south of Leroy. Peter had come to town to return a rototiller he had rented from the Bosley Rental & Supply Company. After Peter returned the item, Stephanie came back to the store alone. Walking with a pronounced limp, she said she wanted to get away from her husband, and asked if she could hide in the building until he left town. She did not want anyone in the store to call the police.

     When she came out of hiding, an employee of the rental store gave Stephanie the address of a local domestic violence shelter, and money for cab fare. Again, the obviously battered woman asked that no one call the authorities.

        At the domestic violence shelter, Stephanie, using a false name, informed her hosts that her husband had kept her in chains for ten years during which time he tortured her with hot clothing irons and frying pans. He had hobbled her by smashing her feet with a hay bailer, and periodically stomped her feet to keep them mutilated and swollen. With her ankles in shackles, she had given birth to a fully developed stillborn child whose corpse had been buried on their property. Her one-year-old son had been born at home with her in shackles. The child had never been seen by a physician.

     An employee of the shelter took 45 photographs of Stephanie's scars and bruises that included burns on her back and breasts. After being examined in the emergency room at St. Joseph's Hospital, the women at the shelter purchased Stephanie a bus ticket to her parent's home in Alexandria, Virginia. She refused the ticket because she didn't want to abandon her son who was home with his father. Someone at the shelter called the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

     On July 5, 2012, after sheriff deputies searched the house in Leroy, and seized, among other things, a Sunbeam iron, they arrested Peter Lizon on the charge of malicious wounding. Incarcerated in the South Central Regional Jail under $300,000 bond, Lizon denied physically abusing his wife.

     Lizon's attorney, Shawn Bayliss, told local reporters that the allegations against his client were the "fabrications of a fertile imagination or a feeble mind, one of two." The attorney (I presume court appointed) didn't stop there. "My client's spouse," he said, "has never even filed a petition seeking a domestic violence protection order. She would say, and he [Peter Lizon] would agree, domestic violence has not been part of his history." Attorney Bayliss, advertising himself as the man to see if your wife accuses you of assault, in explaining away the evidence of abuse on Stephanie Lizon's body, said, "But in the most common terms, not every injury is intentional. Not every bruise is the result of some violent act. The point of all that is, don't rush to judgement until you know all the facts." The attorney's remarks infuriated domestic violence protection advocates who worried that such statements discouraged battered women from coming forward.

     On the morning of Friday, July 13, 2012, Peter Lizon appeared in the Jackson County Magistrate Court in Ripley, West Virginia for his preliminary hearing. He sat at the defense table with two attorneys. An obviously frightened Stephanie Lizon took the stand, and in response to prosecutor Katie Castro's questions, denied that her husband had physically abused her. She explained checking into the domestic violence center under a false name as simply a ploy to avoid arguing with her husband that day in front of their one-year-old son. When asked how she had acquired the burn scars on her back and breasts, the witness said they were the result of accidents. And what about her swollen and mutilated feet? And the shackle scars on her ankles? Were these from accidents as well? Yes, answered the witness.

     Following the testimony of witnesses from the rental store and the domestic violence shelter, and the introduction of the 45 photographs depicting Stephanie's scars and bruises, the magistrate bound the case over for trial. Jackson County prosecutor Katie Castro would have to make her case through third-party witnesses, and the physical evidence of abuse.

     Craig Tatterson, the special prosecutor in the case, in August 2012, moved to have the charges against Peter Lizon dropped. According to Tatterson, because the statements made to the women at the Family Crisis Center were hearsay and could not be used in court, there was not enough evidence for the state to go forward with the case. In October 2012, a grand jury sitting in Jackson County refused to indict Peter Lizon. The local prosecutor decided not to present the case again and dropped all charges.

     Eight years later, on March 5, 2020, Peter Lizon's wife Stephanie called 911 to report that while riding in the car with her husband they got into an argument. She opened the car door and tried to jump out. He punched her in the face and held onto her coat as he continued driving down the road. She finally fell out of the vehicle and ran to a house to call 911.

     Jackson County deputies took Peter Lizon into custody. A local prosecutor charged the now 45-year-old with kidnapping and malicious wounding. Stephanie Lizon was treated at a local hospital for severe bruising and abrasions. She told detectives that she had received those injuries a week earlier when her husband tied her with ropes, bound her to a chair, and beat her with a belt. The 51-year-old victim said she remained bound to that chair for two days without food or drink or access to the bathroom.

12 comments:

  1. did you see where the charges were dismissed?

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Not sure how that's the same behavior. You tell a tale of snarky jealousy. This was a full-blown prosecution in front of international media, no "other women" involved, at all. Oh, the gossip made evidence? I see, OK, fair enough.

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  3. Stephanie Hofeller is back in the news, y'all....

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    1. One of many:

      http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2019/12/20/the-gerrymanderers-daughter/

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  4. Jim, Parkersburg is north of Leroy, not south of Leroy as noted in the second paragraph.

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  5. This guy's arrested again for the same thing, with another wife.

    https://www.wsaz.com/content/news/Man-charged-with-hitting-wife-dragging-her-down-road-with-van-568558711.html

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  6. Jim Fisher's Not Really True Crime? I would suggest that you take down this article, and do some fact checking. Sooo many errors! Did you even read either of the criminal complaints? What was your source for your narratives?

    And wow, talk about victim blame! Last week's victim is wife number three! "Wife" is all you need, right? Why did you assume it was still the same woman? The news clearly states it isn't. The criminal complaint clearly states it isn't. You all were so convinced that this woman you know nothing about is a "stockholm syndrome moron" that you "knew" she would never leave.

    Well, I think she got and will continue to get the last laugh. Turns out Stephanie Lizon was born Stephanie Hofeller, daughter of recently deceased GOP redistricting expert, Thomas Hofeller. And when she divorced Lizon, years ago, she took back her maiden name. Link?!

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-father-a-daughter-and-the-attempt-to-change-the-census

    Moron?! She co-authored a victimology paper with Canadian Professor, Dr Dawn Moore, called,
    "45 Colour Photographs - Images, Emotions and the Victim of Domestic Violence"
    It's a chapter in an edited collection published in the UK. Check that out here:

    https://www.crcpress.com/Emotions-and-Crime-Towards-a-Criminology-of-Emotions/Jacobsen-Walklate/p/book/9781138497887

    A recent interview with NPR's Hansi Lo Wang:

    https://www.npr.org/2020/01/05/785672201/deceased-gop-strategists-daughter-makes-files-public-that-republicans-wanted-sea

    Links to countless other articles in her Twitter feed:

    https://twitter.com/SHofeller

    Over ten-thousand followers, including many prominent authors, filmmakers, whistleblowers (including Cambridge Analytica's Brittany Kaiser, subject of award-winning documentary, "The Great Hack") reporters and yeah, lawyers.

    Seriously, she has, like, a team of them. If I were you, Jim, I'd be a bit less dehumanizing and careless.

    Wife number one? She wasn't a moron either, and has stayed below the radar.

    And accuracy instead of sensational misogynist nonsense will really increase the chances that the prosecution won't screw this one royally, like they did the last one, and this piece of shit, Lizon, will stay behind bars for a good, long time. You want that, right?!

    - A Survivor Advocate

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  7. Careful who you call a moron, moron. If you were to read about the case, you would see that the prosecution made countless mistakes, including leveling charges without consulting the victim.

    If Stephanie had cooperated with the prosecution, the other technical errors, combined with Lizon's VERY EXPENSIVE second lawyers, Bailey and Glasser, would have, most likely, yielded a dismissal, and THAT would have yielded Stephanie quite a little security risk.
    He got himself out, although the bond was $300,000. Betcha didn't know THAT, huh?
    Prosecutors don't care at all about the victim, and do nothing meaningful to protect them.

    Apparently, Anonymous, you don't care at all about the victim(s) either.

    I know, I know, I know, "she was asking for it", right? "I mean, did you see what she was wearing?"

    SHAME.

    Jim, it would be really constructive if you deleted that comment, but if you don't, you should, at least, approve this one.

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  8. HELLO: the incident in March 2020 was not with Stephanie! The incident was against a NEW woman whom he also has abused horribly. (Stephanie herself finally left him and her name is Stephanie Hofeller now. She speaks publicly about how terrible life was with him, now, and how it was all true.)

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