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Man charged with keeping wife captive for ten years

The woman had burns on her body from irons and frying pans and scars on her wrists and ankles from being frequently shackled.
Jul 12th 2012, 3:39 PM 16,875 26

A WEST VIRGINIA man is accused of keeping his wife captive and torturing her for the better part of a decade, beating and burning her and even leaving her shackled during childbirth.

Peter Lizon, 37, was in jail Wednesday on $300,000 bond. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday on a malicious wounding charge, authorities said.

Investigators said they have 45 photographs showing burns on 43-year-old Stephanie Lizon’s back and breasts from irons and frying pans, and scars on her wrists and ankles. Jackson County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Boggs said investigators continue to investigate one of the most terrible cases he’s seen.

“This appears to go beyond abuse to what I would consider torture,” he said Wednesday.

Shawn Bayliss, Peter Lizon’s attorney, said the allegations are “the fabrication of a fertile imagination or a feeble mind, one of the two.”

“The alleged victim didn’t make these accusations. It was a third party,” Bayliss said. ” … Stephanie would say this story is absolutely untrue, and the charges levied against her husband are blatantly false.”

Escape

The details of the alleged abuse came out after Stephanie Lizon asked staff at a rental supply store to hide her from her husband so she could get away.

Stephanie Lizon told the staff she didn’t want to involve police, but she accepted the number for the domestic violence shelter and called it, the store employee said. She also called family to ask for money, and the employees gave her cash and called a cab to take her to a Western Union office and the shelter.

The woman was limping and had appeared to have some sort of injury, a store employee said. And while her clothing was clean, she smelled bad. The husband did not come inside looking for his wife and police didn’t come until several days later, the employee said.

Abuse

At the shelter, however, Stephanie Lizon told another woman about the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her husband, a native of the Czech Republic, according to the criminal complaint.

Stephanie Lizon’s father declined to discuss the case when contacted. Relatives of her husband didn’t immediately return messages.

The criminal complaint said a witness at the Parkersburg shelter provided the following account:

The witness described Stephanie Lizon as “gaunt and filthy,” and covered in scars, bruises and burns. She had “mutilated and swollen” feet, a scar in the shape of a clothes iron on one breast, and burns on her back that the victim said came from a hot frying pan.

She said her husband had smashed her foot with a piece of farm equipment, among other things.

The wife said she was called a “slave” and ordered to kneel before her husband every time she entered a room. The wife also said she had delivered a fully developed, stillborn child while in shackles, and her husband buried the corpse on their farm.

Another child survived a similar delivery, but Stephanie Lizon said the child had never received medical attention.

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Boggs of the sheriff’s office said state child-welfare authorities have been notified, but Peter Lizon’s attorney said the child, a 1-year-old boy, remains with his mother.

The complaint says investigators confirmed that the wife was treated in the emergency room of St. Joseph’s Hospital in June and that photographs were taken at the shelter to document her injuries.

Arrested

A Sunbeam iron was among the items seized during a July 5 search of the couple’s home. Lizon was arrested that day.

But Bayliss compared the charges to the childhood game of “telephone,” where something whispered from one person to another ultimately bears no resemblance to reality.

“This is a situation where a person has taken a nugget of information, taken an acorn and tried to turn it into a tree,” he said. “And the tree won’t support this story.”

Both Peter and Stephanie Lizon were arrested in Maryland in 2004 and later performed community service for cutting up Bush-Cheney campaign signs with a bayonet.

Court records also show that Stephanie Lizon was arrested on drug charges a few months later in Baltimore County. She pleaded guilty and got probation.

The West Virginia Division of Corrections said it had no history of criminal actions by either spouse, and Boggs said the sheriff’s department had no previous contact with them, either.

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Associated Press

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