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Man accused of trying to smother woman with blanket

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — Deputies arrested a local man after a woman said he allegedly choked her before grabbing a blanket in an attempt to smother her.

On Sunday, just before 5 a.m., the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office rushed to a home on Crimson Drive after a woman called screaming that she had been smothered, according to a probable cause affidavit. When deputies arrived, investigators found 38-year-old Jason Lee Bell. He was arrested and charged with felony attempted strangulation and felony domestic battery inflicting traumatic injury.

Court documents show as deputies entered the home, they found a visibly upset victim. According to court documents, the victim said she and Bell were drinking whiskey. At some point, the victim went to another room and sat in front of a door to keep Bell from opening it. The victim struggled to describe what happened as she was intoxicated and slurred as she spoke, deputies write in court documents.

The victim said that Bell pushed the door open and Bell allegedly put both his hands around her neck, choking her. After almost losing consciousness, the victim claimed Bell grabbed a blanket and placed it over her mouth and nose before eventually letting her up.

Deputies noted in a report the victim had dried blood on her hand and around her lips. Investigators also said she had red marks on her neck and broken blood vessels in her eyes. Broken blood vessels inside the eyes can result when a person is strangled.

The victim declined any medical care from the Idaho Falls Fire Department, who arrived at the house.

Deputies spoke with Bell, who said he did not like the victim being drunk and hid the whisky bottle from her. Bell said once taking the bottle, the victim went “crazy” and began hitting herself. Bell denied ever strangling the victim or putting a blanket over her and called all the injuries “self-inflicted,” including the broken blood vessels.

Bell was taken to the Bonneville County Jail, where he remains held on $70,000 bail.

While Bell is charged with crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If convicted of both charges, Bell could be ordered to spend up to 25-years in prison.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23.

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