General Crime

Michael Fortner Gets Nine Years For Strangling His Wife Twice, Rendering Her Unconscious

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A Marina man was sentenced last Thursday in Monterey County Superior Court to nine years in prison for strangling his wife and enhancements based on other acts of violence, a prosecutor said Monday. Judge Larry Hayes gave Michael Fortner, 44, four years in state prison for strangling his wife twice on Nov. 4, 2011 and another five years for rendering her unconscious, according to Deputy District Attorney Elaine McCleaf.

A jury had convicted Fortner of twice choking his wife, which two experts testified at his trial had denied her brain oxygen, making her unconscious and possibly injuring her brain for life, according to McCleaf. Hayes decided to impose the highest penalty on Fortner for assault by means likely to produce great bodily harm on the woman and for two other violent episodes, McCleaf said.

On one case, Fortner beat his wife while the two were on vacation in Hawaii in 2010, which resulted in the woman losing sight in her left eye, prosecutors reported. The judge also stated that Fortner took advantage of the public’s trust when he promised not to hurt the victim again following the attack in Hawaii, according to McCleaf. The judge further claimed the Fortner should receive the high sentence based a felony assault on a police officer committed in 1999, McCleaf said.

Hayes ordered Fortner serve a concurrent sentence of three years for an injury the defendant inflicted on his wife’s chest and additional concurrent time for three counts of violating a restraining order, when he called her from the county jail in Salinas after he was arrested. In a prepared statement, McCleaf commended Detective Oliver Minnig of the Marina Police Department “for his thorough investigation and compassionate support of the victim throughout this case.”

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