A US state of West Virginia man was arrested Thursday for allegedly making his wife his slave, abusing her and holding her hostage for almost a decade.
Authorities in Jackson County, W.Va., charged Peter Lizon of Leroy, W.Va., with malicious wounding after a woman staying at a domestic-violence shelter filed a criminal complaint, alleging a woman she met was brutally beaten by her husband.
In an interview with investigators, the woman said she met Lizon’s wife, Stephanie, 43, while staying at the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg, W.Va., and described her as “gaunt and filthy.”
According to the criminal complaint, Stephanie told the woman that she recently escaped from her husband, who had kept her chained up with metal padlocks for about 10 years, which tore into the skin on her hands and ankles, leaving noticeable scar tissue. Her feet were also “mutilated and swollen” after her husband allegedly smashed her foot with a scoop attachment from a farm tractor.
“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 NBC affiliate WSAZ. “It comes down to what appears to be slavery and torture.”
Lizon reportedly called his wife his "slave," and whenever he entered the room, he made her kneel down before him.
The woman also alleged that Stephanie said her husband caused her to have a miscarriage after her husband hit her in the stomach. She said she buried the corpse of a fully developed infant on their farm. She also said she gave birth to another baby while bound by chains, but neither she nor her now-one-year-old child had received any medical attention.
During the investigation, police took 45 photos of Stephanie, showing injuries ranging from severe burns to her breasts and back to broken fingers and bruises all over her body.
“It’s amazing what one human being can do to another,” Boggs said, “and that should not ever happen or be allowed to happen. And hopefully this will stop and curtail that, at least in this instance.”
Lizon’s attorney, Shawn Bayliss, told WSAZ the allegations against Lizon are false, saying the woman who told police everything has a “feeble mind.”
Lizon is being held in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.