UNION GROVE — A Mount Pleasant man who reportedly strangled his ex-girlfriend and refused to allow her and their 2-year-old son to leave the residence is facing charges.
The Sunday incident highlights an area of growing concern in Racine County — stopping the cycle of domestic abuse, which has taken the lives of two in the last month and left one person seriously injured.
Justin P. Gentry, 31, of the 1400 block of Oakes Road, was charged on Monday with felony counts of false imprisonment, strangulation and suffocation and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct.
According to the criminal complaint and a Racine County Sheriff’s Office news release:
At 5:50 a.m. Sunday, a woman called 911 and said she had been assaulted by her ex-boyfriend and the father of her child, Gentry. Racine County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 1400 block of Park Place in Union Grove.
The woman said that she was letting Gentry stay at her apartment with their 2-year-old son while she was at work and said that she and Gentry were working on their relationship.
The victim said that when she got home at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, she discovered Gentry was intoxicated and had driven with their son in her vehicle. She also said Gentry had been using various narcotics. The two got into an argument, which soon “cooled down,” the complaint said.
Gentry continued drinking, which the woman said upset her. She took away Gentry’s alcohol, which led to another argument. Tired of arguing, the woman said that she was going to take the child and leave.
Gentry reportedly told her she could not leave and then grabbed her by the upper arm and forced her into a closet. When she exited the closet, Gentry allegedly strangled her. She told investigators it was difficult to breathe and she feared for her life.
The victim said Gentry then threw her on the bed, with their child lying next to her, and again strangled her. She said Gentry then grabbed the child and told the woman she wasn’t leaving. The woman reported that Gentry then slapped her in the face five times.
After 20 minutes, the woman said Gentry allowed her and the child to leave. As she was going down the stairs, she said Gentry allegedly hit her in the back of the head four to five times. Deputies reported that the woman’s neck was red and she had a bruise on an upper arm.
After numerous attempts to call Gentry out were unsuccessful, the Racine County Crisis Negotiators Team successfully made contact with him and convinced him to exit the residence and surrender to deputies.
Gentry remained in custody as of Monday night on a $5,000 cash bond, online records show. A preliminary hearing is set for June 12 at the Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.
Abuse turns deadly
In the last month, two domestic disputes in Racine County have turned deadly, leaving two dead and one seriously injured.
On Thursday, 39-year-old Lapiate Boone reportedly stabbed 36-year-old Joy Reid, the mother of two of his children, and her boyfriend, Gene Smith, 35, in a duplex in the 3800 block of North Bay Drive in Racine.
The attack killed Smith and seriously injured Reid, who was taken by Flight for Life to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa. She was last reported to be in critical but stable condition. Racine Police said Monday that they did not have an update to Reid’s condition.
Boone is being held in the Racine County Jail on a $1 million cash bond and faces multiple felony charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Another domestic abuse incident turned fatal on May 10, when 30-year-old Angelica Rios was shot and killed at her home in the 2600 block of 19th Street in an alleged domestic violence incident by Ubaldo Gonzalez Jr., who then took his own life. The two were an estranged couple.
Those with questions about domestic violence or who need help can call the Women’s Resource Center of Racine 24-hour hotline at 262-633-3233.