Green River Star -

People Editor 

Woman pleaded not guilty to child abuse case


March 28, 2018

A woman accused of child abuse after allegedly choking a child under 16 years of age could face prison time.

Joanna Stephenson, 28, of Green River, appeared in the Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery at an arraignment to one felony count of child abuse where she pleaded not guilty.

If found guilty, Stephenson could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. A jury trial has been scheduled to take place June 11 at 9 a.m.

According to court documents, on Jan. 1, 2018, a Green River Police officer was informed of a possible assault. After arriving at the residence, the officer spoke with two juvenile females, NE and HV. NE told the officer she had allegedly been strangled and scratched by Stephenson. HV told the officer she had allegedly been grabbed and possibly scratched by Stephenson.

The girls told the officer Stephenson was a friend of their mother and she had been at the house.

NE said while at the house, Stephenson and some male she didn’t know were messing around in the bathroom next to her room. NE said she went to the bathroom door and told them to stop because she could hear them in her room.

It was at this point when Stephenson came out of the bathroom and was upset at NE. She then started to yell at NE and allegedly grabbed her by the arm leaving scratches. Stephenson then allegedly grabbed NE by the throat so hard that NE was unable to breathe. NE thought Stephenson allegedly had her hands around her throat for about a minute.

After Stephenson let her go, NE said she ran downstairs to the bathroom where she proceeded to lock herself in. NE then went to talk to Stephenson again after a few minutes, and Stephenson got upset and allegedly choked NE again. This time it was only for 30 seconds.

NE told the officer she had difficulty breathing during and after each incident. HV told the officer Stephenson allegedly grabbed her shoulder and by the back of her neck. She said it hurt when she was grabbed, but she wasn’t sure if there were scratches or not.

The officer noticed a large red mark on NE’s neck over the center of her throat, he also noticed two scratches on her right arm. He took photos of the injuries.


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