LEROY -- The neighbors of a Jackson County man accused of shackling and abusing his wife for more than 10 years said they tried to help the woman many times but she always returned to him.
Police arrested Peter Lizon, 37, of Leroy, last week and charged him with malicious wounding in connection to the "brutal injuries" his wife Stephanie reported to a crisis center worker, according to a criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Magistrate Court.
He's accused of keeping his wife, Stephanie, 43, locked with metal padlocks and chains for about 10 years, which caused severe injuries to her wrists and ankles, according to the complaint.
He allegedly smashed her foot with a tractor bucket and repeatedly burned her back and chest with a hot clothing iron. Stephanie also allegedly delivered a stillborn child while in chains. Another infant survived.
Peter Lizon is currently being held in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $300,000 bail.
Lizon's lawyer said Wednesday that his client and Stephanie deny all of the allegations. The story has been misconstrued from a third party, he said, and in this case it's a crisis center worker who made up the allegations to gain attention.
Police said the allegations are some of the most heinous acts of domestic abuse they've investigated. Meanwhile, neighbors said they've heard about the alleged abuse for years and unsuccessfully tried to stop it.
'It's a fabrication of a feeble mind'
Shawn Bayliss, a Hurricane attorney, said the police investigation into his client hinges on the recollection of a crisis center worker.
According to the criminal complaint, Stephanie escaped from her husband while he was returning a rented garden tiller in Parkersburg on June 20. She hid away in a nearby business and then took a taxi to the Family Crisis Intervention Center nearby.
She befriended crisis worker Jacklyn Adkins and spent an entire night talking about the alleged abuse she suffered over the years, the criminal complaint said.
Adkins was so disturbed by Stephanie's story that she told Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney James McHugh after Stephanie left. McHugh reported what he heard to Jackson County Sheriff Capt. H.L. Faber, who launched an investigation.
"My client and his wife would say that criminal complaint in this matter does not reflect the incident as it occurred, nor does it reflect the information or anything that she ever said," Bayliss said Wednesday.
Bayliss said the allegations come from a third party story conveyed to law enforcement and not directly from Stephanie.
"This is a fabrication of a feeble mind," he said. "That woman [Adkins] created a fabrication to garner some kind of hero aspect for herself. I can assure you my client did not brand his wife with an iron nor did he keep her in chains."
Bayliss said Stephanie is sticking with her husband. No one answered the door at the Lizon home Wednesday. Thomas Brooks Hofeller, Stephanie's father, would not comment about his daughter's condition or about the case.
According to the criminal complaint, Capt. Faber confirmed that Stephanie was treated in the emergency room of St. Joseph's Hospital in June and that photographs were taken at the shelter to document her injuries. A Sunbeam iron was among the items seized during a July 5 search of the couple's home. Lizon was arrested that day. Faber seized 45 color photographs taken of Stephanie's injuries.
"I've reviewed the reported photos and they depict certain things," Bayliss said. "I can't tell you they're in line with what that woman [Adkins] says. They may show something but how something got there is an entirely different story."
Adkins told police she saw severe burns on Stephanie's breasts and back that appeared to have been caused by a clothing iron.
Stephanie also had a severely injured foot that Peter Lizon allegedly smashed with a tractor bucket, the criminal complaint said. Stephanie's fingers were also crooked after her husband allegedly broke them.