By Jacob Mathias
After allegedly choking his girlfriend and chasing her with a hatchet, a Stevens Point man faces multiple felony charges — though his case has been suspended after being found incompetent to stand trial.
Michael Rowton, 40, is charged with felonious strangulation and suffocation and bail jumping, along with misdemeanor battery and bail jumping, after an early morning incident on April 13.
According to the criminal complaint, Stevens Point police responded to a 911 call from Turn of the Century apartments at 2:20 AM, when they met a woman who claimed her live-in boyfriend — later identified as Rowton — had assaulted her.
The woman told police she and Rowton got into an argument over infidelity earlier in the evening at the home they share on the 2800 block of Church St., when Rowton allegedly shook the woman by her shoulders, then strangled her from behind while cursing at her.
When the woman ran away from the defendant, he reportedly chased after her with a hatchet and a knife. The woman then ran to a friend’s apartment where she summoned police.
When police arrived they observed redness and the victim’s chest and bruises on her neck consistent with her report. The woman told police she was afraid Rowton would kill her if he found her, according to the complaint.
Rowton was scheduled to make his initial appearance in Portage County Circuit Court on May 9, but he was found not mentally competent to stand trial. Instead he will spend up to 12 months under psychiatric observation and will return to court every three months for a competency review.
Rowton faces up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each charge of felony strangulation and suffocation and felony bail jumping, and up to nine months in prison and a $10,000 for both misdemeanor counts, if convicted.
Rowton returns to court on September 12 at 9:30 AM for a review hearing.