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Idaho Falls man placed on probation after pleading guilty to domestic battery

Crime Watch

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Gary Baxter | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man will spend a year on probation after he admitted to domestic battery.

Gary Baxter, 51, appeared in court Thursday where he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery. He had previously been charged with felony attempted strangulation from an incident in March but it was reduced to the misdemeanor as part of a plea agreement. Magistrate Judge Steven W. Boyce then sentenced Baxter to probation with an underlying sentence of 180 days in jail with credit for the two days Baxter spent in custody. If Baxter violates his probation he would have to serve the jail term.

Police reports show Baxter and the victim had been in a dating relationship for several years. During interviews with police, the victim said Baxter had a drinking problem, often leading him to violence, according to court documents. The victim said Baxter abused her several times during their relationship but she couldn’t leave because she was financially dependent on him.

RELATED: Idaho Falls man arrested for allegedly choking woman

The victim told police that during the incident, she and Baxter got into a heated argument which turned violent. She said Baxter got on top of her chest, pinned her down with his knees and choked her. When she screamed for help, Baxter covered her mouth, according to court documents.

Officers noted in their report of the visible bruising on her neck and the victim claimed to be bruised on the chest as well according to court documents.

Baxter admitted to police he did get on top of the victim; however, he said he did not recall trying to choke her. He said he only held the victim down to prevent her from striking him. The investigating officer observed Baxter had scratch marks on his forehead and arms, but he said those were from a dog and not the fight with the victim. Baxter told police he couldn’t explain the bruising on the victim.

Baxter will also be required to pay $337.50 in fees and fines.