MARIETTA - A Marietta man who allegedly tried to suffocate his pregnant wife during a heated argument has been charged with attempted murder and domestic violence charges.
Justin M. Harris, 29, of 514 Smith St. reportedly choked, smothered, spit on, and threatened his wife as an argument between the couple escalated Wednesday morning, police said.
The attempted murder charge resulted from Harris holding his wife, 23-year-old Samantha Harris, underneath a pile of pillows and blankets on the couple's couch, said Patrolman Bob Ellenwood of the Marietta Police Department.
Justin M. Harris
"He basically tried to smother her to death using pillows and blankets," said Ellenwood.
Justin Harris also used his hands to cover the woman's nose and mouth, said Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite.
According to a statement of facts in the case, Justin told Samantha "I'll make you shut up!" while he allegedly attempted to smother her.
Earlier in the argument, Samantha had allegedly threatened to report Justin's past violent acts.
This prompted Justin to pick up a baseball bat and tell his wife he was going to "put her in a hole if she snitched," according to the statement of facts.
Justin Harris eventually let his wife up when one of the couple's three minor children, a 4-year-old, walked in the room, said Ellenwood.
Samantha was able to escape the home, but her husband continued to follow her for a short period of time, said Waite.
"She tried a couple of neighbors' houses, and she couldn't get in. She saw a couple people outside of the (Gospel Mission Food) Pantry and went inside," he said.
Samantha was hidden inside the pantry while the police were phoned.
The victim had other injuries, including scratches, but did not require hospitalization, said Ellenwood.
Justin Harris was charged with a first-degree felony count of attempted murder. Because of Samantha's pregnancy, the domestic violence charge was elevated to a fifth-degree felony.
The maximum combined penalty for the charges is up to 12 years in prison.
Harris has no previous domestic violence charges, said Ellenwood. According to Marietta Municipal Court records, he had three disorderly conduct charges and a public indecency charge in 2012.
He is on probation for an arrest in Florida, said Ellenwood.
Harris' bond was set Thursday at $102,500.