Man indicted for murder after strangling girlfriend

Man indicted for murder after strangling girlfriend

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A Savannah man was indicted on Wednesday for strangling his girlfriend, the mother of his children, to death in November.

The attorney prosecuting the case spoke with WTOC exclusively.

This is one of two troubling domestic violence cases indicted on Wednesday, and the terrible commonality between them is strangulation. It's a method of domestic violence prosecutors said can often hide in plain sight.

One way, a very easy way, for an attacker to say I control you, I literally control whether you can breathe,” said domestic violence prosecutor Frank Pennington.

Beverly Jones had five children ranging in age from three to 16. When police found her dead on the morning of Nov. 1, her boyfriend, Roman Hills, said she'd fallen down the stairs and hit her head.

Prosecutors said Hills strangled her to death.

“We're talking about power and control, right,” Pennington said. “That's our issue with domestic violence.”

That's why the District Attorney's Office is working with police officers to educate them on the signs of strangulation, which aren't always as obvious as a black eye.

“I have frequently seen affidavits presented to me where the victim basically outlines that whay she said was not true, that maybe it was an exaggeration or an overreaction,” said domestic violence prosecutor Maggie DeLeon.

DeLeon prosecutes cases in which the victim survives.

“Usually you have to assume that they are still in the relationship, whether it's for financial reasons or they're scared or there are children involved,” she said.

DeLeon is prosecuting another case indicted on Wednesday. Timothy Taylor is accused of placing his girlfriend in a chokehold and pointing a gun at her chest. He's charged with aggravated assault.

“It is a problem, and we need to raise awareness and let the abusers know that we will prosecute because that's the only way to stop it,” said DeLeon.

Copyright 2015 WTOC. All rights reserved.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.