Scales of Justice

A 39-year-old Portage man has been charged with six felonies in three separate criminal cases, including strangulation and suffocation of a woman and child abuse.

In the first case filed Oct. 25, Brian J. Mepham faces up to six years in prison for the felony child abuse charge, specified as intentionally causing bodily harm, and up to three years and six months in prison for second-offense felony possession of THC. Mepham also faces misdemeanor counts of battery and possession of drug paraphernalia in the same incident.

In the case filed Nov. 6, Mepham faces up to six years in prison for strangulation and suffocation of a woman and another six years for felony bail jumping. He also faces misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and battery in this incident.

In a third case filed Nov. 11, Mepham is charged with two more counts of felony bail jumping, each carrying a maximum prison sentence of six years.

Portage police were dispatched to a residence Oct. 24 after a 911 call lost connection, according to the criminal complaint. Dispatch heard yelling and screaming and a female voice stating that she needed police. When the officers arrived, they met with a woman who said Mepham had pushed and kicked her and had also pulled on the arm of a 10-year-old girl.

Mepham told police the woman had tried to slap him and said the child yelled at him and started swinging at him, and so he put his arms up to protect himself from her blows. Mepham stated he was afraid for his life and that the woman had been drinking. He denied doing anything wrong.

The Oct. 25 complaint states police found six vape cartridges and two pipes that smelled of marijuana as they looked for Mepham’s medications to transport to jail. Mepham admitted his DNA would be found on the items which tested positive for THC during field tests.

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Mepham is scheduled to return to Columbia County Circuit Court on Dec. 6 for a hearing on the charges.

According to the Nov. 6 complaint, a woman told officers that on Nov. 1, Mepham had placed a hand on her neck and pushed her backward, causing her pain and restricting her breathing and that she feared for her safety.

Mepham told police that on Nov. 2 she threw hand sanitizer at his head and caused him pain. The woman is being charged with misdemeanor battery for the incident.

Mepham’s felony bail jumping charge in the Nov. 1 incident is the result of his bond conditions from the October case, which stated he could have no violent or abusive contact with the parties in the complaint.

He is scheduled to return to Columbia County Circuit Court on Dec. 17 on these charges.

According to the Nov. 11 complaint, Portage police received a report Nov. 7 that Mepham was threatening to break into a house and recover his personal property. The reporting party said Mepham might be at his mother’s house, where police eventually found Mepham, his mother and the woman with whom Mepham was to have no contact with according to his bond conditions in the previous criminal cases.

He returns to Columbia County Circuit Court on Wednesday on these charges.

Follow Noah Vernau on Twitter @NoahVernau or contact him at 608-695-4956.

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