Witnesses subdue strangulation suspect

PARKERSBURG — Strangers intervened over the weekend when a man was strangling a woman at a service station in Parkersburg, police said.

Sheldon Leon Morrison Jr., 22, of 1312 Weva Station Road, Creston, was arrested on one count of strangulation after midnight Sunday, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court. He was apprehended at the 7-Eleven at 2320 Gihon Road, Parkersburg, after being detained by witnesses, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court.

While Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said he does not recommend people confronting suspects in all situations, in this case it was a “good judgment call on the witnesses’ part to become involved until we got there.”

The complaint says Morrison allegedly choked the woman until she blacked out at her Parkersburg apartment, then forced her to drive her to his Wirt County home. The suspect and victim knew each other, but Martin said Tuesday that he was not sure of the nature of their relationship.

While the woman was driving, Morrison struck her in the head multiple times, the complaint says, eventually causing her to lose control of the vehicle and strike a curb near Ollie’s in the Gihon Village shopping center.

She exited the car and tried to flee, but Morrison caught up to her at the service station, the complaint says. A witness reported the suspect slammed the woman to the ground, then kicked her before picking her up by her neck and beginning to choke her again.

The witness and two other individuals saw what was happening near Ollie’s and followed the man and woman to the service station, Martin said. There, the woman was able to get away from the suspect and run into the store, and the three men intervened.

“The witness and two of his friends were able to subdue the suspect onto the ground until we arrived,” Martin said.

Martin said the witnesses’ intervention was necessary.

“Every situation’s going to be different. We recommend they obviously call us first,” he said. “But in a situation like this, where it’s obvious the female could not defend herself, that definitely could have taken her life. … We don’t promote vigilante altercations, but there’s going to be times where it’s (intervention) definitely needed.”

The woman was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center with multiple injuries, the complaint says.

Morrison was arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court and released on a $5,000 bond. Martin said he could face at least one additional charge, but that will be determined by prosecutors.