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Utahn charged with choking, punching, firing gun at estranged girlfriend

Utahn charged with choking, punching, firing gun at estranged girlfriend


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SALT LAKE CITY — A Duchesne County man shot at a woman who has a restraining order against him, lifted her off the ground by her neck and hit her in the face, police say.

On Friday, William John Arnold, 56, of Ballard, was charged in 8th District Court with attempted aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping, all first-degree felonies.

He was also charged with theft, a second-degree felony; aggravated assault, violation of a protective order, retaliating against a witness and possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor; and illegal discharge of a firearm, a class B misdemeanor.

Police were called to a house in Roosevelt on Thursday where a 58-year-old woman has had a protective order against Arnold since 2012, according to a police affidavit. Arnold and the woman used to live together, the affidavit states.

The woman told police that Wednesday night, Arnold showed up at her house “yelling at her about a title for vehicle,” according to the affidavit.

Arnold became “more agitated” while looking for the title and grabbed the woman by her throat, “using enough force to lift her off the ground completely by her neck,” the affidavit states.

The woman scratched at Arnold’s face to get him to let go, and he “punched her in the eye knocking her onto the bed,” and causing her eye to swell shut, according to the affidavit.

Arnold then went to the woman’s nightstand and found a .22 pistol in the drawer.

“William pointed the pistol at her and told her he was going to kill her, then discharged the pistol toward her, only missing by inches,” the affidavit states.

Arnold then forced the woman into her car and told her he would kill her if she tried to run, police say. They drove to Arnold’s house, but later returned to retrieve the truck he left at the woman’s house.

“(She) stated when they were back at the residence (and) she was in her study, William came in and stated he wanted to lay on the bed with (her) one last time,” the affidavit states.

When Arnold fell asleep, the woman sent a message to a Uintah County sheriff’s deputy using her computer because Arnold had smashed her phone, according to the affidavit. Arnold left the residence before police arrived but was later arrested at his own house.

Despite the protective order, Arnold and the woman have continued living together at various points throughout a tumultuous relationship, according to court records.

In 2014, Arnold was injured when he and the woman started arguing after drinking, according to police. While struggling over control of a gun that the woman got, Arnold was shot and treated for injuries. The woman was charged with aggravated assault, but the case was later dismissed after the state’s witnesses disappeared, according to court records.

Arnold was also convicted for an incident about the same time of being a restricted person in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to probation, according to court records.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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