CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Stephanie Lizon is eight months pregnant and living out of her car in Ripley.
It's been almost a year since police accused her husband, Peter Lizon, of keeping her locked with metal padlocks and chains for about a decade, smashing her foot with a tractor bucket and forcing her to give birth in captivity on their farm in Leroy.
Stephanie Lizon, 43, denies all those allegations and said they were fueled by made-up, sensational stories told by people who don't know her or her husband. The allegations have torn apart her family, she said.
"If this is going to be a battle of public opinion," Stephanie Lizon told the Gazette on Thursday, "then I think both sides should have a say."
The abuse accusations started after Stephanie Lizon checked into a women's shelter in Parkersburg in July 2012. Her roommate there allegedly told a health-care provider that Lizon had confided about how her husband severely abused her for many years. Prosecutors and police later pointed to several photos of alleged injuries on her body as probable cause to charge Peter Lizon with malicious wounding.
He has not been indicted.
"[Police] didn't think to talk to the postmaster who saw me every day at Leroy when he came to pick up our mail?" she questioned. "This girl at the shelter, she didn't even know me."
Stephanie Lizon said she's caught in a system designed to protect victims but instead is making her feel like she's lying. Prosecutors are pushing a case against Peter Lizon without her cooperation or testimony.
"These kind of victimless prosecutions weren't designed for situations in which the victim said it never happened or the victim never reported the crime," she said.
After testifying in favor of her husband during a preliminary hearing, Stephanie Lizon said her legal troubles began.