Wednesday, May 29, 2024
56.0°F

Libby man gets prison time for assaulting woman

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | May 7, 2024 7:00 AM

A Libby man will spend time in a state facility after he was sentenced on April 29 following an assault of his former girlfriend during a domestic disturbance earlier this year.

Tyler Evan Eroh, 32, who remains in the Lincoln County Detention Center, was first charged with felony strangulation of a partner or family member, partner or family member assault, a misdemeanor and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

After first pleading not guilty to the offenses on Jan. 29, Eroh pleaded guilty to the felony strangulation charge and the misdemeanors were dismissed as part of a plea deal between public defender Scott B. Johnson and county Attorney Marcia Boris.

District Judge Matt Cuffe accepted the guilty plea at a March 18 hearing and he sentenced Eroh to five years, with two suspended.

The victim, a 19-year-old woman, spoke at the sentencing hearing about some of her experiences with Eroh.

“We met online,” she said. “I was feeling sad, my mom had died and I was missing my family. But he said I wasn’t allowed to be sad on Thanksgiving.”

She also said she found photos and messages that Eroh allegedly exchanged with underage girls. She also said he claimed he was, “grooming them.”

She also said he sexually assaulted her and, “bragged about his involvement in sex trafficking.”

Eroh, who sat next to Johnson during the hearing, had a look of disbelief on his face. When Cuffe asked him if he wanted to make a statement, Eroh initially hesitated, but he did.

“I’m looking forward to making positive changes in my life. The last few months of sobriety have been beneficial,” he said.

Cuffe commented on the victim’s testimony.

“We heard things that are not part of this case, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be investigated or shouldn’t be investigated,” Cuffe said.

According to the probable cause affidavit in the assault case, Libby police officer Caleb Thomas spoke to the victim at about 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 6 at a residence on Cabinet Heights Road.

She said Eroh grabbed her hair and pushed her face into a pillow on the bed she was sitting on. She said he held her down for a couple seconds, blocking the airflow into her nose and mouth.

While arresting Eroh, Thomas searched him and found a small glass jar with white powdery residue that field tested positive for methamphetamine.

The maximum sentence for a conviction on the felony strangulation charge is five years.