Man faces prison for strangling wife.

January 13, 2020

Thomas Gager, left, with attorney Timothy Hayes.

Man faces prison for strangling wife.


By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART – A 24-year-old Bitely man faces two and a half to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Jan. 13, to assault with intent to create great bodily harm less than murder/strangulation.

Thomas Jay Gager, of 2316 W. Pinewood Blvd., is lodged in the Oceana County Jail on a $30,000/cash/surety bond. He also faced charges of felonious assault and two counts of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer, which were dismissed in a plea agreement.

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon offered a plea agreement with a minimum sentence not to exceed 30 months if Gager pleaded guilty.

Gager was out on bond for domestic violence at the time of the offense, Bizon said. He had no prior criminal record before the first domestic charge, however. The alleged assault occurred Oct. 11 in the Village of Walkerville, and the victim suffered “significant injuries,” he said.

“We had an argument,” Gager testified. “I pushed against her chest and pushed her against the wall.” He admitted when questioned by Judge Robert D. Springstead that he observed the victim experiencing trouble breathing.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 19-38 months, Bizon said. Defense attorney Timothy Hayes requested that his client be placed in Special Alternative Incarceration (SAI) or “boot camp.” Bizon said he takes no position on boot camp and leaves that determination up to the court.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 9 at 9 a.m.

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