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Dauphin County President Judge Richard A. Lewis sentenced Pablo Viera-Castro, 43, to three years to six years in state prison for the strangulation assault of Viera-Cruz’s ex-girlfriend. Earlier this week, on March 6th, a Dauphin County jury found Pablo Viera-Castro guilty of strangulation for his April 9, 2018, assault upon his former girlfriend.
Authorities day on April 9, 2018, Viera-Cruz followed the victim into her apartment at Chestnut Pointe Apartments in Swatara Township. At the time, there was an active protection from abuse order (PFA) in place against Viera-Cruz. Once in her apartment, he began to touch her breasts. She tried to push him away from in an effort to stop his assault. At this point, Viera-Cruz threw her up against the wall, strangled and threatened to kill her.
During the trial the victim testified on the stand that while he was strangling her, she had a hard time catching her breath. Viera-Cruz then took the victim’s phone to prevent her from calling for help but she was able to escape to her sister’s apartment across the hallway and call 911. When the police arrived, officers noticed visible redness on her neck.
There was also an active PFA in place because in June 2017, Viera-Cruz pleaded guilty to dragging the same victim out of her bed, breaking her phone in half and beating her up in front of her children. Aside from the June 2017 incident, Viera-Cruz also had at least five prior charges filed against him for domestic assault in Massachusetts, but they were all dismissed.
The strangulation charge Viera-Cruz was found guilty of has an increased penalty because there was an active PFA against him at the time of the assault. Whenever a person violates a PFA by strangling a victim, the grading of the strangulation is increased to a felony of the first degree. The jury found Viera-Cruz not guilty on a charge of terroristic threats.