RIPLEY, W.Va. – A nearly 18-month-long criminal case against a Jackson County man accused of torturing his wife could be over for now.
A Jackson County judge agreed to dismiss the felony charge against Peter Lizon on Monday without prejudice. That means charges could be re-filed against the 40-year-old at a later date.
Special Prosecutor Craig Tatterson said, at this point, “the case is still under investigation.”
Lizon’s attorney Mike Hissam and Tatterson both filed motions to dismiss the charges. The judge agreed to the defense motion on the grounds the prior prosecutor in the case had a conflict of interest.
The state’s dismissal motion also highlighted a lack of admissible evidence in the case. Since the judged only ruled on the defense motion, the case could be re-opened. However, Hissam called the judge’s decision a partial victory.
“We’re certainly bolstered by the fact that the state last week moved to dismiss the case not only on conflict grounds, which is why the court dismissed it (Monday), but also citing a lack of admissible evidence,” said Hissam. “According to the prosecutor, if they were to go to trial, the probable result would be a not guilty verdict.”
Peter Lizon spoke after the hearing, relishing “It feels good to be partly over. It feels good to have this hurdle behind us. But we have a long way to be done with this.”
He and his wife spoke with the media outside the Jackson County Courthouse. Stephanie was holding their 4-day-old daughter Bozena, a name that means “from God” in Slovak.
“It’s a great relief to see these charges dismissed, Stephanie said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a very, very long time.”
Mr. Lizon was arrested in March 2012 after Stephanie fled their rural home with her infant son and stayed at a women’s shelter in Parkersburg. At least two people at the shelter say Mrs. Lizon described being beaten, locked in a basement and shackled for much of their marriage.
However, Stephanie claimed she never made any such accusations.
The Lizons’ son, Mojmir, was taken from Mrs. Lizon’s custody and placed with her mother and father in Virginia, and Mr. Lizon was restricted from having contact with his wife or son. However, he was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of justice when Mrs. Lizon took the boy from her mother’s home in Virginia without permission and reunited with her husband at their home in Jackson County earlier this year.
That charge is still pending, as is the custody of their son. Mrs. Lizon said that’s the next hurdle.
“The celebration can’t really happen until we have our son back with us who hasn’t met his little sister yet,” said Stephanie.
The Lizons will be back in family court on Friday hoping a judge will dismiss the restraining order that’s keeping the couple apart. A judge did allow them to be together for five days at the birth of their daughter. That period expires Tuesday.