Woman escapes assault after suspect tries to destroy her cell phone during struggle, police say

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man accused of barging into a woman’s home and strangling her is facing a charge of burglary of a habitation with intent to assault, a first degree felony, an arrest warrant affidavit filed Monday says.

On Sept. 22, Joseph Anthony Lopez, 36, arrived at a residence where the victim lived. He got out of a cab, screaming and yelling at the victim, who didn’t know why he was there in the first place, the affidavit says.

The victim told Lopez to leave, then went back in her home. Lopez is alleged to have tried to break the victim’s door down with a chair 10 minutes later, the affidavit says. The chair broke instead, the affidavit says, and the victim opened the door to prevent Lopez from further damaging it.

After she opened the door, Lopez went in the house without permission and grabbed the victim’s neck with both hands and pushed her against a wall, the affidavit says. The victim said she couldn’t breathe for about a minute, the affidavit says.

While this happened, the victim said she was on the phone with her sister and still had the phone in her hand. Lopez grabbed the phone and told the victim’s sister that the victim was going to die and “nobody was going to help her.”

Once Lopez was concentrated on grabbing and destroying the victim’s phone, the victim got away, the affidavit said, and went to a neighbor’s place. The neighbor told police she saw Lopez strangle and pin the victim against a wall, the affidavit said.

After the victim escaped into the neighbor’s home, Lopez went out to the street and challenged the neighbor’s husband to a fight, and said he was going to call CPS and have the victim’s children taken away, the affidavit said.

Lopez denied ever touching the victim during an interview with authorities, but changed his story later, saying he and the victim had been “messing around” earlier in the day alone at a park.

When that was challenged by authorities, Lopez got mad and said he was going to get an attorney and walked out of the interview, the affidavit says.

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