Wednesday marked the first court appearance of an Illinois man accused of attempting to strangle his wife Monday and seizing her phone so she couldn’t call police. A judge set bail Wednesday at $15,000 cash or $7,500 cash with supervised release.
Wife Strangled at Farmington Hotel
The crime allegedly occurred at the Farmington Hotel at 489 Farmington Falls Road. Cesar J. Vergara, 28, who claims to be from Illinois but lives in Texas, did not plead guilty to felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor hindering report of a crime or injury. Vergara faces other accusations after driving Franklin and Androscoggin police on a chase across seven communities on Monday. Police say the chase ended when an Androscoggin County agency laid spike mats in Auburn and his SUV hit a utility pole, apparently intentionally. Assistant District Attorney Claire Andrews requested no contact between the couple owing to their expensive bail and criminal background. At the hearing, Vergara and the victim wiped away tears.
As requested by Andrews, Judge Sarah Churchill set bail with no contact. The victim said the incident “didn’t go down the way they say” and requested communication. She wanted to call each other. The culprit and victim, who requested anonymity due to Sun Journal rules, have been married for less than five months. Vergara stated, “She is all I have” for support outside of God. Defense attorney Paul Corey said they would accept the bond but could challenge it later because the charge is a felony. Wednesday’s meeting was mostly Zoom. The victim and court clerk were in Farmington’s courtroom, but the suspect, prosecution, defense counsel, and judge appeared over Zoom.
Farmington officer Ryan Rosie’s probable cause affidavit states that he received a call regarding two people arguing in a room at the Farmington Hotel on Farmington Falls Road. He arrived at the motel to find four people in the driveway indicating toward the road, saying the person had left and was going to town. They were asked if the woman was okay by Rosie. They said they were unsure. Several witnesses said they heard the woman yelling “get the (expletive) out,” and a motel employee raced inside to see Vergara on top of the woman holding her down on the bed. The employee then told Rosie that she pounced on Vergara and pulled him off the victim onto the floor, smashing the night table.
As They Found the Victim
Franklin County Sgt. Brandon Sholan pursued the car described by Rosie with Illinois registration on Wilton Road after Rosie radioed dispatch. Rosie saw the victim weep and had bloody hands. According to the affidavit, she was “very distressed” and “breathing heavily” at the time. The victim had a huge base-of-neck abrasion and was holding her hands on her throat. The victim was a traveling nurse and CNA at Harris House in Livermore Falls. Illinois native. The victim was assigned to Maine for two weeks. This disagreement began the night before and lasted Monday morning. According to the complaint, she hid the car keys in her pocket and tried to leave the motel, but Vergara stopped her. Vergara hurled her phone across the room as she tried to call police. Rosie’s declaration states that Vergara straddled her and choked her with his shirt.
The images Rosie took of her face, neck, forehead, and eyes showed strangulation. The pair married in June after two years together. Rosie inquired whether this had occurred previously, and the victim said Vergara fractured her arm last year and there is a Pennsylvania warrant. Unless Corey, the defense attorney, requests a bail review earlier, Vergara’s next Farmington court appearance is December 12. An aggravated assault conviction can result in 10 years in prison, while obstruction can result in 364 days. Vergara remained in Franklin County Detention Center Wednesday afternoon.
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