AUBURN — A Lewiston man pleaded not guilty Friday morning in Lewiston District Court to strangling his girlfriend, punching her in the head and fracturing her jaw.

Zachariah Hardwick, 26, of 200 Rosedale St. was arrested Dec. 7 on charges of Class B aggravated assault and Class D charges of domestic violence assault and domestic violence criminal threatening.

The Class B charge is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while the Class D charges are misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

In May 2015, Hardwick was sentenced to 18 months in prison for felony robbery and burglary for his role in a 2014 home invasion with two other people.

He was in the middle of serving a two-year probation sentence when he was arrested in December on the assault charges.

According to an affidavit written by Lewiston police officer Ashley Wade, at 12:07 a.m. she responded to a report of a domestic assault in progress. Wade wrote that upon arriving at the scene, she found a woman at the front door with a swollen bottom lip.

“The victim reported that her boyfriend had punched her and left the scene on foot,” Wade wrote, adding the woman was “concerned her jaw was broken.”

The woman was taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center before she could give her statement to police.

Later that morning, Wade wrote that the woman reported that Hardwick became violent with her after getting into a verbal argument with him “about his lifestyle choices” and his “apparent lack of desire to make good choices for his family.”

Wade wrote that after the woman “smacked the back of (Hardwick’s) head” while she was walking up the stairs, he “grabbed her,” put his hands around her throat and strangled her.

After the victim was taken to the hospital, Lewiston police officer Ben Wheeler found Hardwick at CVS Pharmacy on East Avenue in Lewiston. He arrested him and took him to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, where he filled out a statement.

Wade wrote that Hardwick did not mention strangling his girlfriend, and said that he only swung at her after she struck him “several times.”

Bail remained at $2,500 cash.

A pre-trial conference with a judge and attorneys for both sides to discuss whether there will be a plea agreement or a trial is scheduled for May 18.

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