West Virginia man kept wife as 'slave' for 10 years, in chains during childbirth, police say


A West Virginia man is accused of keeping his wife chained like a slave for 10 years.


Paula Bronstein

A West Virginian man is scheduled to appear in court to face allegations that he enslaved his wife and physically abused her for about 10 years. 

Among Peter Lizon's alleged offenses: that he kept Stephanie Lizon, 43, shackled for 10 years — including during the birth of their child, now 1 — burned her breasts with an iron and hot frying pans and beat her with a tractor scoop attachment, once causing her to miscarry.

According to the Associated Press, Lizon, 37, is in jail awaiting the outcome of investigations.

Jackson County deputies say Lizon called Stephanie Lizon, 43, his "slave" and kept her in chains inside their home on Miller Hollow Road in Leroy.

The AP quoted Jackson County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Tony Boggs as saying: "This appears to go beyond abuse to what I would consider torture."

Investigators reportedly have 45 photographs showing burns on his wife's back and breasts, as well as scars on her wrists and ankles. 

ABC News cited deputies as saying Stephanie Lizon escaped last month while the couple were at a farm equipment rental store in Parkersburg.

According to the AP, Lizo told staff at Bosley Rental & Supply, "I'm trying to get away from my husband. I just need to hide for a few minutes."

While she didn't want to involve police, she reportedly accepted the number for the domestic violence shelter.

NBC News reported that she later told a woman she met at the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg that her husband — a native of the Czech Republic — smashed her foot with a piece of farm equipment, among other things.

When she received medical treatment, her claims of what appeared to amount to torture and enslavement were reported to police.

Deputies arrested Lizon on July 5, according to ABC. 

Lizon's lawyer Shawn Bayliss reportedly said the allegations were "the fabrication of a fertile imagination or a feeble mind, one of the two."

Boggs told NBC that Lizon — scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Friday — would likely be sentenced to between two to 10 years in prison for malicious wounding.

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