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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Man suspected of choking mother of his children released without a no contact order

A man suspected of choking the mother of his children multiple times and threatening to kill her was released on his own recognizance and without a no-contact order Saturday, according to court documents.

The woman told police she believed the suspect would try to kill her, according to court documents.

The man, who lives in the same apartment building as the victim, was “told to stay away from the victim but no formal order was issued,” according to a Spokane Police Department press release.

Judge Raymond Clary signed off on the man’s release on his own recognizance Saturday, “given the risk of COVID-19, Mr. Stephens’ minimal criminal history, the necessity of supporting a family and the totality of the circumstances.”

Reasoning for his release included that he was employed, shared children with the victim and had no prior violent crimes on his record, and, “while he lives in the same complex as the victim, he is on the basement level and she is on the main level,” according to court documents.

The conditions of his release included that he should distance himself 1000 feet from the victim at all times except when entering or leaving his basement unit, court documents show.

A no-contact order and order to surrender weapons was issued four days after his release, court documents show.

Around 11 a.m. Saturday, a caller reported an argument at an apartment on the 4700 block of North Altamont Street. When officers arrived, the suspect, later identified as Calvin Stephens, 27, spoke through the apartment’s door, according to court documents.

He refused to open it saying he and a woman were just arguing, that she’d left and that they didn’t need police, court documents say.

Then officers saw the woman run out the back door of the residence. She had injuries indicating she had been assaulted and choked, according to the documents.

She told officers she and the suspect share two children but live in separate apartments within the building.

According to court documents, she said Stephens forced his way into her apartment, pinned her against the wall and lifted her by the neck with both hands. She couldn’t breathe for several seconds, she told police.

She told police that when she tried to get a drink to make her throat feel better, he splashed water “all over her until she couldn’t breathe.”

He then choked her again on the couch while threatening to kill her, according to the press release.

Her 1-year-old child and one of the man’s daughters, 5, were inside during the suspected attack and she said she feared for their safety, according to the release.

With the help of the suspect’s father officers got Stephens out of the apartment, according to police.

When he came outside, he was holding the 1-year-old child. Police then arrested him.

The police release pointed to research showing that a woman who has been choked by her intimate partner is seven times more likely to be killed by the same person than a domestic violence victim who has not been choked. The research is from the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention.

Wednesday, Court Commissioner John Stine issued a no-contact order and an order for the man to dispose of weapons, including a knife in his possession, court documents show.

The Spokane Police Department, in the release, asked people who have been choked “not to dismiss your offender’s actions and seek help before the violence escalates.”

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