Prince George's Using New Forensic Tool to Find Evidence of Strangulation in Domestic Violence Cases

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What to Know

  • A new forensic tool helps detect evidence of strangulation
  • Prince George’s County has seen a 10% increase in domestic violence criminal cases during the pandemic
  • Maryland law changed this year, making strangulation a first-degree felony

Prince George's County unveiled new technology to document evidence of domestic violence that may otherwise be invisible.

This week, the county began using a new protocol, coordinating police, prosecutors, sheriff’s deputies and medical staff at University of Maryland Capital Region Health Center. A new forensic tool helps detect evidence of strangulation.

“Wounds and scars and injuries that you may not be able to see with the naked eye but that is critically important in proving and showing that a strangulation did occur in a particular case,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said.

She said during the pandemic they have seen a 10% increase in domestic violence criminal cases in Prince George’s County.

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“(Strangulation) is the silent killer that has killed so many, maimed so many and has been heretofore very difficult to prosecute,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said.

Victims advocate Stella Hargrove says victims of domestic violence suffer the effects of abuse for years.

“There were no signs that, if he asked for something for dinner and I didn’t have that and I cooked something different, that he would strangle me,” she said.

Strangulation is the silent killer that has killed so many, maimed so many and has been heretofore very difficult to prosecute.

Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

Her husband, a military man, was named soldier of the year.

“He strangled me with my foot off the ground,” she said. “All I could do was put my hands on his hands until I went dark.”

Hargrove helped get Maryland law changed this year, making strangulation a first-degree felony. The law took effect Oct. 1, just in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Prince George’s County officials want to get the message out that domestic violence is unacceptable and they'll use every tool available to stop it.

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