UNION COUNTY — A Mechanicsburg man has become the first person to be sentenced in Union County under Ohio’s recently enacted felony strangulation law.
Hunter Cole Carter, 23, received the maximum sentence of 36 months in prison, highlighting the state’s commitment to addressing the severity of this dangerous form of domestic violence.
Carter was arrested May 1 in Marysville following a mental health complaint call to an address on Walnut Street. During the investigation, officers learned that the defendant had assaulted his live-in girlfriend, subjecting her to a terrifying ordeal. The victim reported that Carter had placed his hands around her neck, applying enough pressure to restrict her breathing. To stifle her cries for help, Carter reportedly used a pillow and blanket.
This was not Carter’s first instance of family violence, officials said. In August 2022, he was convicted in Madison County of assault, a charge that had been amended from domestic violence. The court had ordered probation and mandated participation in an anger management program. However, after his subsequent arrest in Union County, an additional 90-day sentence was imposed.
Furthermore, Carter faced a telecommunications harassment charge in Marysville Municipal Court for repeatedly contacting the victim of the strangulation incident from jail. He received a 180-day jail sentence, with 160 days suspended, for this offense.
Ohio officially designated strangulation as a standalone felony offense on April 4, 2023, becoming one of the last states in the country to do so.
According to the National Domestic Violence Network, domestic violence strangulation is among the most potentially lethal forms of abuse. A recent comprehensive study on domestic violence-related strangulation revealed its strong predictive link to attempted and completed murder, increasing the odds by a factor of seven. Non-deadly strangulation is seen as a significant indicator that the perpetrator may be willing to escalate to the point of killing their partner.
Carter’s sentencing serves as a stern warning that Ohio is taking a strong stance against domestic violence, particularly cases involving strangulation, in an effort to protect victims and promote safer communities.