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A former Coconino High School and Sinagua High School assistant principal and current firearms instructor is facing domestic violence assault charges.

According to Flagstaff police reports, the suspect battered his wife in the early morning hours of Oct. 26. The victim told police he beat her all over her body and tried to strangle her with his bare hands. The assault left the victim with a black eye that was almost completely swollen shut and dark purple bruises all over the left side of her face and body. She was beaten so severely she required medical attention.

The suspect and his wife spent the evening of Oct. 25 dancing and listening to a band play at the Museum Club. The victim thought they were having a great time until the suspect vanished, stranding her at the club. The victim had to take a taxi home.

When she arrived at their home in the 2400 block of West Route 66, she found the suspect already asleep in the guest bedroom that once belonged to her now-adult daughter. She told police she thought it was strange because she had never seen him sleep there before. Confused about why her husband had left her at a club without explanation and was now sleeping in the wrong room, the victim decided to wake him up. It was a choice she would soon regret.

“I can’t believe you woke me up!” the enraged suspect yelled, according to the report.

He then attacked his wife. The victim told police her husband began beating her in the face and head. The victim tried to escape, but the suspect caught her, throwing her down the hall toward the living room, where most of the beating occurred. The victim told police her husband punched her in the face so hard it knocked her to the ground. He also slammed her head into a kitchen cabinet with so much force it left a dent. At one point, the victim told police her husband was sitting on top of her, pummeling her in the head with his fist. She did not know how many times the suspect hit her, but she knew it was a lot. She also thought she heard the suspect threaten to kill her for waking him up.

CURLED UP HER ARMS

The victim told police she did not try to scratch her attacker or hit him back. Instead, she curled up with her arms in front of her face, trying to protect her head. She told police her husband appeared to be “in a rage of craziness.” The victim told police she usually thought of herself as a pretty tough woman, but in that moment, she feared for her life.

She said she believed she was going to die.

The victim managed to crawl toward the bedroom, where she knew there was a phone on her night stand. The number “911” kept repeating in her head. As soon as she got to the phone, she felt it being ripped from her hand. She tried to crawl away, but he grabbed her by the neck and began strangling her. The victim could not breathe but did not lose consciousness. 

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The suspect eventually stopped attacking the victim. He left the house through the front door and drove away in his pickup truck. At that point, the victim called a friend in tears and asked her to come over. When that friend arrived, she was so shocked by the extent of the injuries to the victim’s face that she called her own husband to ask him what to do. The husband joined them at the house and called 911, despite the victim’s repeated protests that she was fine and did not need the police to get involved.

EVIDENCE OF STRANGULATION

The officer arrived at the home around 4 a.m. Oct. 26. When she arrived, she found the victim sitting on the couch with an ice pack on her injuries. The left side of the victim’s face was completely purple and swollen, she had a black eye that was nearly swollen shut and she yelped in pain every time she tried to stand. The victim said her throat was sore and her neck hurt, which the officer attributed to the suspect choking her. On the left side of the victim’s neck, the officer found a green and purple bruise with red dots around it that looked similar to the shape of a fingerprint. She also found small red dots called petechia in the victim’s eye and inside her lower lip, indicating the victim had been strangled. 

The victim had extensive bruising on her chest, upper arms and side. A visit to Flagstaff Medical Center the next day revealed more bruising on her lower back and tailbone area. The officer saw dark bruises all over the tops of the victim’s hands, which she likely received when she tried to use her arms to cover her head during the beating. The victim also complained that her head was throbbing, which led the officer to worry she might have had a more serious injury. Medics attended to the victim, but she refused to be taken to the hospital. She did go to FMC the next day for X-rays to rule out broken bones and internal bleeding.

PROTECTION ORDER ISSUED

The suspect, who is a former U.S. Marine, has been teaching classes for people seeking concealed carry weapons permits through Citadel Firearms Training for more than a decade. The victim informed police that the suspect was scheduled to teach a CCW class at the clubhouse of their housing complex on the morning of Oct. 26. When Flagstaff Police Department learned of his military background and familiarity with weapons, it was decided more than one officer needed to be on hand to make contact with the suspect.

Three officers spotted the suspect and his truck in the parking lot of the clubhouse around 8:20 a.m. on Oct. 26. In the report, one officer noted he could smell alcohol wafting off the suspect, and his speech was slurred. The officers placed the suspect in handcuffs. They also confiscated four guns and some ammunition from his vehicle. Those items were later booked into evidence at the jail. The suspect told police he needed to speak to his attorney before he would answer any questions.

Preston Bryant Johnson, 58, was arrested and charged with domestic violence aggravated assault for impeding breathing, assault, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, preventing the use of a telephone in an emergency and unlawful imprisonment. He was booked into the Coconino County jail on Oct. 26. He was released on bond the next day while the victim was at the hospital. 

As a condition of his release, the judge ordered Johnson not to have any contact with the victim for the duration of the criminal process. The victim also received an order of protection against Johnson

Michelle McManimon can be reached at 556-2261 or MMcManimon@azdailysun.com.

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