A man in West Virginia man was arrested earlier this month on the suspicion that he had enslaved and beaten his wife over a period of a decade, even forcing her to give birth while in chains.
On Tuesday, WSAZ reported that Peter Lizon was charged with malicious wounding after his wife escaped to a shelter in Parkersburg. More charges are possible as the investigation continues.
According to a criminal complaint, the woman was burned on her breasts and back from being beaten with a hot frying pan and irons. She reportedly had her foot smashed with a piece of farm equipment and she accused Lizon of breaking her fingers.
The complaint said that the wife was forced to endure two pregnancies while in shackles. She said that the first ended in miscarriage after Lizon hit her in the stomach and the “fully-developed baby” was buried on their farm.
But Shawn Bayliss, an attorney for Lizon, blamed the miscarriage on an ATV accident.
The woman was also allegedly in chains when Lizon delivered her second baby. No medical care had ever been provided to the woman or the child, who is now one year old.
Lizon’s wife told women at the shelter that her husband called her a “slave” and forced her to kneel when he entered the room. The shelter workers reported noticing significant scars from where the chains and metal padlocks had torn into her skin over a period of years. They said her feet were “mutilated and swollen.”
The victim also told workers that she and her husband had moved to Leroy, West Virginia from the Czech Republic, but her family was from Alexandria, Virginia.
“This is a case that is tenfold of what our average domestic is and maybe more than that,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tony Boggs told WSAZ. “It comes down to what appears to be slavery and torture, it seems to be the aspects of this case.”
“It’s amazing what one human being can do to another, and that should not ever happen or be allowed to happen. And hopefully this will stop and curtail that, at least in this instance.”
Boggs told The Associated Press that Lizon had been arrested in 2004 after being accused of cutting up Bush-Cheney campaign signs with a bayonet. He was eventually sentenced to 32 hours of community service and required to pay the Howard County Republican Party $328 in restitution.
Among the evidence listed in the complaint were 45 color photographs of the wife’s injuries and a Sunbeam iron confiscated during a search of Lizon’s property on July 5.
Lizon is being held at the South Central Regional Jail with bail set at $300,000. His attorney insisted that the wife would continue to stand by her husband throughout the trial.
Watch this video from WSAZ, broadcast July 10, 2012.