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An Idaho man facing a potential life sentence for allegedly assaulting a woman and holding her against her will in Richmond will now await a jury trial date in the Cache County Jail.

Appearing via video call from the jail on Thursday, Tracy M. Henrie pleaded not guilty after Judge Brian Cannell found there was probable cause for the charges in the case.

Henrie, 33, faces one count of first-degree aggravated kidnapping, third-degree aggravated assault, three counts of third-degree domestic violence in the presence of a child and an additional misdemeanor for an incident alleged to have happened in January.

During the preliminary hearing, Cache County prosecutors presented testimony from two Cache County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a nurse practitioner who was described as an “expert in strangulation.”

According to deputy testimony, law enforcement was contacted by passersby regarding a dispute in Richmond, and what was described by a local business owner as “very disturbing” surveillance footage was provided to deputies. In the footage, a car stopped alongside a woman walking behind a building. On more than one occasion a person prosecutors identify as Henrie can be seen picking the woman up by the waist, walking her back to the car and putting her in the front passenger seat.

Prosecutors allege in one section of the video Henrie can be seen strangling the alleged victim; defense counsel for Henrie argue that particular incident lasts for less than one second and was not likely or intended to cause harm.

While accompanied by Idaho police officers, according to testimony, deputies located Henrie and the alleged victim at a residence in Idaho. Henrie denied strangling the victim and the alleged victim also denied having been strangled.

In a transcript of the interview with deputies, the alleged victim concedes Henrie put a single hand on her neck during the incident and that she has been strangled “once or twice” before. The alleged victim told deputies she didn’t sustain injuries or soreness from the incident and didn’t lose consciousness.

Prosecutors’ expert witness told the court it requires more pounds of pressure to open a can of soda than it does to block blood flow to the brain, and each second the brain is deprived of blood results in the damage of 32,000 neurons and millions of synapses. Speaking in generalities because the alleged victim had not been medically examined, the expert witness said there was no “safe way” to strangle somebody but later stated that half a second of strangulation was “probably not” likely to cause damage.

Cannell ultimately found there was probable cause for the charges. At a prior hearing, the court had actually found substantial evidence in the case — a higher standard of proof than that of probable cause — and Henrie was ordered to be held without bail.

A jury trial in the case was requested, but in-person hearings absent exigent circumstances are currently suspended in the 1st District due to COVID-19 restrictions on the court.

Henrie is set to appear for a pretrial conference on March 10.

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