Casper Man Arrested for Strangling, Threatening Woman With Knife
A man arrested Thursday night faces three criminal charges after allegedly strangling a woman, smashing her head into a kitchen cabinet and previously threatening her with a knife.
Dustin Lee Burke, 38, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and battery and one count of domestic battery. He could face over 20 years in prison and over $20,000 in fines if convicted on all counts.
Court documents say Casper police officers responded to an apartment shortly after 6:30 p.m. Thursday for a report of a family fight.
Officers arrived to find the victim upset and crying, Burke on the couch and a witness in one of the bedrooms.
The victim initially denied that any physical abuse occurred. She reportedly told officers that Burke, who was drunk, had only yelled and slammed the dishwasher.
Burke also denied that anything violent had happened.
But the witness told officers the victim was putting away groceries in the kitchen when Burke, irate, emerged from a bedroom and started screaming about getting his money, according to the affidavit.
Burke allegedly told the victim, "I'm going to kill you... I'm going to choke you out."
Court documents say Burke then used both hands to choke the victim before smashing her head into a kitchen cabinet.
Throughout the assault, the witness said, Burke told the victim, "I'm going to kill you," and "I'm going to smash you..."
When officers told the victim what the witness had said, the victim agreed with that version of events. She also told officers Burke said he was going to choke the life out of her and her brother.
Burke also allegedly said he was going to kill everyone.
Officers saw a cut on the victim's ring finger, according to the affidavit. She reportedly said Burke had physically abused her multiple times in the past.
Burke allegedly told police that no violence had occurred, only saying that he was very drunk.
Officers arrested Burke and gave him a portable breath test, which reportedly indicated Burke's blood-alcohol content to be .28, or about four and a half times the legal limit to drive.
The victim later told police that Burke was using methamphetamine in the past week and drank a fifth of whiskey that day.
Burke had allegedly accused the victim of taking his money and began yelling at her to go get it before he reportedly assaulted her.
The victim told police that she was finished with Burke putting his hands on her, saying, "it's been going on too long."
She also said that Burke's violence had been escalating recently, and he had begun to pinch shut the victim's oxygen tube.
About a week before, the victim and witness said, Burke pulled a knife on the victim and said "I'll stick you with this," while holding the knife near the victim's stomach. She reportedly feared for her life.
Burke was arrested at the apartment Thursday night.
He heard the charges against him Friday afternoon during his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court.
The state noted in court that Burke has a lengthy criminal history including DUI, interference, battery, assault and drug possession.
Burke is being held on $75,000 cash or surety bond.