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UPDATE: Charges Dropped in Burning of Jackson County Couple's Home

By: Associated Press, Todd Baucher Email
By: Associated Press, Todd Baucher Email
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UPDATE 10/16/2013 11:30 AM

RIPLEY, W.Va. (AP) - Charges are dropped against three people accused of burning a Jackson County couple's home while they were in jail.

Media outlets report that first-degree arson charges against 32-year-old Christopher Michael Hill, 50-year-old Colena Kay Martin and her son, 34-year-old Daniel Martin, were dropped without prejudice. That means the charges could be refiled.

The fire destroyed the home of Peter and Stephanie Lizon in May.

Peter Lizon was arrested in July in a malicious wounding case involving his wife. Those charges were dropped in August, in part because the woman denied the allegations and refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

Peter Lizon still faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly violating conditions of his bail by being in contact with his wife.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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UPDATE: 09/06/2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The couple involved in a high-profile case of alleged domestic violence has lost custody of their newborn daughter.

Peter and Stephanie Lizon say Child Protective Services removed 3-week-old Bozena from their Leroy home.

Stephanie Lizon told the Charleston Daily Mail Thursday that she suspects the government is retaliating for her refusal to cooperate in the case against her husband.

The state agency that oversees CPS didn't immediately comment on the Lizons' allegations Friday.

A judge dismissed domestic battery and malicious wounding charges against Peter Lizon last month, partly because his wife denied the allegations.

In July 2012, she fled from her husband and told domestic violence shelter workers she had been held captive for the better part of a decade - beaten, burned and even shackled. She later recanted.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 08/19/2013

RIPLEY, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia judge has dismissed charges against a man accused of torturing his wife for years.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Evans granted the defense's request to dismiss the charges against Peter Lizon of Leroy following a brief hearing Monday morning.

Lizon's attorneys contended that authorities waited too long to prosecute him. They also alleged that there was a prosecutor conflict of interest.

Special prosecutor Craig Tatterson also had requested that the charges be dropped.

Lizon was charged last year with malicious wounding and domestic battery.

His wife, Stephanie, has denied the allegations against her husband and refused to cooperate with prosecutors. She has said the couple is the victim of an overzealous prosecution and unfounded stories by people who don't know them.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 08/19/2013

Charges have been dropped in a torture case in Ripley, West Virginia.

Peter Lizon had been accused of torturing his wife for years.

On Friday a special prosecutor had filed to have those charges dropped.

Todd Baucher is in Jackson Co. & will have more on our webchannel TheNewscenter.TV, WTAP News @ Noon, WTAP @ 5 & WTAP News @ 6.


Update: 8/16/2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A special prosecutor has filed a motion to dismiss charges against a West Virginia man accused of torturing his wife for years.

Mason County Prosecutor Craig Tatterson on Friday cited a lack of admissible evidence in part for seeking to have malicious wounding and domestic battery charges dropped against Peter Lizon.

The motion also says the original prosecutor, Kennad Skeen, had removed himself from the case last month due to a conflict of interest because he previously represented the Lizons in criminal and civil matters.

A hearing on Lizon's previous dismissal motion is set for Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court. Lizon's attorney, Michael Hissam, says it's expected a judge also will consider the state's motion then.

Hissam also says Lizon's wife, Stephanie, gave birth to a girl on Thursday.
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UPDATE: 08/02/2013

RIPLEY, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia man accused of torturing his wife for years will be allowed to be there for the birth of their child.

Jackson County Judge Thomas Evans ruled Friday that Peter Lizon could have contact with his wife, Stephanie, who is due to give birth to their child this month.

Lizon is on home confinement. He faces three counts each of malicious wounding and domestic battery. Stephanie Lizon is not cooperating with prosecutors in the case.

Evans ruled that Stephanie Lizon can go to her husband's home, where she plans to give birth, and remain there for five days. The couple's first child also was delivered at home.

Peter Lizon's attorneys filed motions Thursday asking that the charges be dismissed. The judge will hear those arguments on Aug. 19.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATED: 06/27/2013

RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. (AP) - A grand jury has indicted a West Virginia man accused of torturing his wife.

Peter Lizon is charged with unlawful wounding. A Jackson County grand jury handed up the indictment Wednesday.

Court records show Lizon is scheduled to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Last July, Lizon's wife, Stephanie, fled from him while they were at a Parkersburg equipment rental company. A domestic violence shelter worker says Stephanie Lizon claimed her husband locked her up and beat her for years.

Stephanie Lizon later testified in court that her husband never beat her. She also said that allegations were no more than false, sensational stories told by people who don't know her or her husband.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Update 6/21/2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia woman whose husband is accused of torturing her for years says the charges are exaggerated and prosecutors are pushing the case over her objections.

Stephanie Lizon told The Associated Press on Friday that authorities threatened to take her 2-year-old son away if she didn't cooperate. She said she and her husband, Peter Lizon, agreed to give permanent custody to her parents to prevent the state from taking him.

Jackson County Prosecutor Kenny Skeen did not return a telephone call requesting comment. A Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email.

Last July, Lizon fled from her husband. A criminal complaint said she claimed he abused her for years.

Peter Lizon was charged but hasn't been indicted. Stephanie Lizon denied the allegations in court.

The AP obtained an interview with Lizon after her comments were first reported in The Charleston Gazette.

UPDATE: 05/03/2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia authorities say two people have been arrested on charges stemming from a fire at the home of a jailed Jackson County couple.

Jackson County Chief Deputy Herb Faber says 50-year-old Colena Kay Martin and 32-year-old Christopher Michael Hill, both of Ripley, were arraigned Friday afternoon on first-degree arson charges. A Jackson County magistrate set bond at $200,000 apiece.

They were being held in the South Central Regional Jail. Jail records didn't indicate whether they have attorneys.

The fire destroyed the home of Peter and Stephanie Lizon near Leroy. Sheriff Tony Boggs says the suspects had taken care of the Lizons' farm animals in the past.

The Lizons remained at the jail Friday. They were arrested this week on charges they violated a custody order for their young son.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 05/03/2013

LEROY, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia authorities say two people have been arrested on charges stemming from a fire at the home of a jailed Jackson County couple.

Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs tells media outlets that 50-year-old Colena Kay Martin and 32-year-old Christopher Michael Hill were arrested Friday and held in the South Central Regional Jail pending arraignment.

The fire destroyed the home of Peter and Stephanie Lizon near Leroy. Boggs says the suspects live together in Ripley and had taken care of the Lizons' farm animals in the past.

The Lizons remained at the jail Friday. They were arrested on charges they violated a custody order for their 2-year-old son.

Peter Lizon was arrested on a malicious wounding charge in a 2012 case involving his wife, who moved afterward to Alexandria, Va.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Updated: 4/30/2013 4:35 P.M.

There's a new twist in the already bizarre case of a Jackson County couple.

They're now both in jail, in connection with the possible abduction of their son.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says Peter and Stephanie Lizon were found Monday with their two-year old child at the couple's home in Leroy.

Investigators say the child had been in the custody of Stephanie's parents, who live in Virginia.

Stephanie Lizon was charged with child concealment, while Peter Lizon is charged with obstructing an officer.

The couple first made headlines last summer, when Stephanie allegedly told a domestic violence worker her husband had abused, chained and tortured her for years; something she later denied at a hearing.

Both Lizons are now being held on bond at the South Central Regional Jail.

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Updated: 7/13/2012 6:45 P.M.

At one point, Stephanie Lizon looked on in disbelief as state and defense attorneys argued the admissability of testimony in a preliminary hearing for her husband, Peter.

He's accused of beating her with a frying pan and injuring her with tractor equipment at their rural Jackson County farm. On the stand, she denied those claims, as well as allegations of abuse during their ten-year marriage.

Defense Atttorney Shawn Bayless asked Mrs. Lizon: "Is your husband putting chains on you and binding you in the basement?"

To which she replied: "Absolutely not."

Bayless then asked: "Has your husband ever intentionally caused you any harm?"

"Not that I can recall, no."

Peter Lizon is charged with one count of malicious wounding

The majority of the testimony Friday involved the injuries Stephanie Lizon suffered from the frying pan and tractor incidents; not the allegations of her previous history of abuse by her husband.

She says the injuries from the frying pan incident were an accident, which happened during an argument between the two last month. The injuries from the farm tractor, she said, happened while Peter Lizon was repairing it.

"My husband was just trying to lower the attachment," she told Assistant Jackson County Prosecutor Katie Casto, "and he didn't realize I was so close, and dropped it on my feet."

She said she went to the Family Crisis Intervention Center while the couple and their one-year old child were in Parkersburg. When asked why, she said she was having an argument with Peter Lizon, and didn't want to do so in front of the child. Peter Lizon's attorney argued that, based on her denials, the case should be dismissed.

"We haven't established that there was intent to maliciously wound, injure, maim, disfigure," Bayless told the court. "In fact, just the opposite happened."

"She said she characterizes it as an accident, but again, I think common sense is going to tell you it was not an accident," Casto replied. "She said (Friday) it was caused by her husband."

Magistrate Jackie Casto bound over the case to Jackson County Circuit Court. Stephanie Lizon has her own attorney, who told reporters she may have a statement about the case in a few days.
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The Jackson County Sheriff's Office isn't saying much about what happened to Stephanie Lizon.

What is known is revealed in a complaint the sheriff's office provided us.

What Peter Lizon is charged with-malicious wounding-stems from an incident last month, in which he is accused of running over her feet with heavy equipment and holding a hot frying pan to her back. But what the complaint says she told a fellow resident at the Family Crisis Intervention center in Parkersburg goes beyond that.

"There are accounts of numerous incidents, but I don't know if we have a specific account of anything right now," said Chief Deputy Tony Boggs. "It's based upon somebody who Mrs. Lizon had spoken to."

The couple lived in a rural area of Jackson County. during the past ten years, she says he kept her chained with metal padlocks and chains, often calling her his "slave".

The resident said Stephanie suffered a miscarriage during a previous pregnancy, the result of her husband striking her in the stomach. The couple, she said, has a one-year old child, delivered by Peter Lizon while she was bound with chains.

The complaint says Stephanie lizon was treated for her latest injuries on June 20th.

Peter Lizon has a court appearance scheduled for Friday.


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