By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Warsaw man will serve four years in prison after choking a woman twice with a belt.
In the first case, Levi Samuel Crisler, 28, 490 Clinic Court, Warsaw, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, a level 6 felony. He was also charged with domestic battery with a deadly weapon, a level 5 felony; and invasion of privacy, a class A misdemeanor, in a second case.
Crisler was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court One on Monday, Jan. 18.
On June 11, 2020, an Indiana State Trooper was patrolling near SR 13 in North Webster when his noticed a vehicle with a passenger side brake light that was not working. The officer pulled the vehicle over and identified the driver as Crisler.
A K9 unit at the scene alerted to illegal drugs in the vehicle. While searching the vehicle, the officer found a scale with a residue that tested positive for methamphetamine. Crisler told the officer the items in the vehicle belonged to a family member but that he was aware the items were there.
On July 13, 2020, a Syracuse Police officer received a report of domestic violence. The officer spoke with a woman who said she had an altercation with Crisler prior to making the report. According to court documents, the woman described Crisler getting on top of her, putting a belt around her neck and pulling it, choking her so she couldn’t breathe.
The woman said she was able to get away from Crisler and sat on the couch with her children when Crisler choked her a second time with a belt. Three children were present during the altercation. The woman also recounted an incident earlier in the day where Crisler choked her with his hands around her throat. While talking with the woman, the officer noticed several red marks around the woman’s neck and bruises on her body.
Crisler admitted that he had been in an argument with the woman but that he was the person who was actually choked. The officer did not see any physical indication of Crisler being choked or injured.
During court proceedings, the woman that Crisler battered gave emotional testimony, saying this wasn’t the first time Crisler physically hurt her.
“I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been slapped and choked,” said the woman. “He’s a pathological liar and I feel he will always be a violent person.”
The woman said her children have witnessed these battery incidents on multiple occasions; she recalled a moment where her oldest child said Crisler was in jail because he tried to kill the woman.
In his initial statement to the court, Crisler questioned why the woman never left him.
‘If we’ve been together seven years, why didn’t she leave me?” Crisler asked. “I’m not the monster this portrays me to be.”
Following a recess, Crisler gave another statement on how the woman was his best friend who meant everything to him.
“I regret everything I did to her and I know I’ll never get her back,” said Crisler.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Sobek asked Special Judge Karen Springer to consider Crisler’s behavior in the courtroom.
“This is a classic victim-blaming cycle of violence,” said Sobek about Crisler’s initial statement.
Sobek requested the court give Crisler the maximum sentence, noting his extensive criminal history that includes prior battery incidents.
Defense Attorney Dana Leon asked the court to look at Crisler’s mental health and substance abuse issues.
“This is a gentleman who hates himself because of his actions,” said Leon. “Based on his history, not one of us would be surprised to find him here today.”
Leon said a prison sentence would not help Crisler with dealing with his aggression and substance abuse.
For methamphetamine possession, Judge Springer sentenced Crisler to two years on probation. He received a six-year prison sentence for domestic battery with a deadly weapon, with two years on that charge suspended on probation. Crisler was also sentenced to one year in prison for invasion of privacy. The domestic battery and invasion of privacy charges will be served concurrently, or at the same time. Both of Crisler’s cases will be served consecutively.
Crisper also has 189 days of jail time credit that will go toward his sentence.
In total, Crisler will serve four years in prison and will be on probation for four years following his release.
A no-contact order has also been established between Crisler, the woman and three children.