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Torture charges dropped against Jackson County man

The Associated Press
Peter and Stephanie Lizon stand with their newborn daughter, Bozena, outside the Jackson County Courthouse on Monday. A judge dismissed charges against Peter Lizon stemming from accusations that he had tortured his wife for years.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A judge dismissed charges Monday against a Jackson County man accused of torturing his wife for more than a decade.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Thomas Evans dropped three counts of wanton endangerment and three counts of domestic battery against Peter Lizon, 39.

Evans dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning a special prosecutor could reintroduce charges if new evidence is found.

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Craig Tatterson, who was appointed to the case as a special prosecutor last month, filed a motion to dismiss the case because of a lack of admissible evidence during trial. Tatterson said the case relied heavily on hearsay evidence.

The case was sparked by comments that Lizon's wife, Stephanie, allegedly made to another woman at an emergency shelter in Parkersburg. In June 2012, police accused Peter Lizon of chaining up his wife and abusing her for more than a decade at their farm in Leroy.

The couple is looking forward to moving on with their lives, said Michael Hissam, Lizon's attorney, after Monday's hearing.

Lizon previously told the Gazette that he is focused on regaining custody of his 2-year-old son, who is the care of Stephanie Lizon's parents in Virginia.

He and his wife would consider whether to stay in Jackson County or not, he said. They previously lived near Washington, D.C., and in Slovakia before that.

The couple celebrated the birth of their daughter last week. Peter Lizon had been under court order to stay away from his wife and son as a condition of his release on bond. Hissam said that order also was dropped Monday.

Stephanie Lizon, who had been living at a motel in Ripley, can now move into a double-wide trailer on their farm, he said.

On Monday, Evans agreed with Hissam's motion to dismiss and said Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Kennad Skeen should have recused himself because of a conflict of interest.

Skeen recused himself last month because he had represented the Lizons in unrelated matters as a private attorney. However, Skeen didn't recuse himself until after he had presented the case against Peter Lizon to a grand jury.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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