HONESDALE -- In the first case of its kind in Wayne County, Christopher Mele, 31, of Lake Ariel has been sentenced to 30 to 120 months in a State Correctional Institution on a felony count of strangulation.
Assistant District Attorney Shelley Robinson stated, “This is one of the first convictions for Strangulation in Wayne County after the Pennsylvania Legislature created this charge in October 2016. Prior to the enactment of this legislation, this type of crime may have only been charged as a Misdemeanor assault.
On the night of July 14-15, officials say Mele came home drunk and began to argue with the victim, who at one point was forced to barricade herself in the bathroom while the he smashed through the door with a hammer.
When the victim attempted to run out of the home for help, the Defendant chased her down and put his hand around her neck and mouth, preventing her from breathing on two occasions, rendering the victim unconscious. Mele then told the victim’s two children “Hey kids, come watch your mother get murdered!”
ADA Shelley Robinson, “Creating this Felony charge represents an understanding that Strangulation is a serious risk to women living in domestic violence relationships and represents one of the most lethal forms of Domestic Violence.”
The Wayne County District Attorney encourages anyone who believes that he/she is at risk of domestic violence to seek help from the Police, Victim’s Intervention Program at (570) 253-4401 or their local domestic violence shelter.