A man and woman are both facing charges after allegedly getting into a fight in which he tried to strangle her, choked her cat and tried to drown it in Bear Creek — prompting the woman to stab him.
The cat died as the couple allegedly continued fighting while driving to a veterinary clinic, according to a probable cause affidavit by Medford police.
Scott Raymond Elam, 29, of the 4300 block of South Pacific Highway in Phoenix, pleaded not guilty to first-degree aggravated animal abuse, two counts of first-degree animal abuse, two counts of fourth-degree assault, two counts of strangulation, two counts of recklessly endangering another person and interference with making a report, court records show.
Elam is being held in the Jackson County Jail without bail on an alleged parole violation. His next court date is April 30 in Jackson County Circuit Court, according to court records.
Ashley Nicole Smith, 26, of the 700 block of Highland Drive in Medford, has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of fourth-degree assault.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday and has a pre-trial conference scheduled May 21, court records show.
Smith was released from jail on her own recognizance, according to court records.
Elam and Smith were in a verbal argument March 24 in her apartment when Smith allegedly slapped Elam, according to the affidavit.
Elam allegedly grabbed Smith by her face and pushed her onto the bed, where he placed his hand over her mouth and nose, obstructing her ability to breathe, the affidavit said.
He left the bedroom, kicked her cat, then picked it up and choked it until it urinated on him, the affidavit alleged.
Elam allegedly changed his pants because of the urine, picked up the cat and carried it outside the apartment to nearby Bear Creek, the affidavit said.
“Elam threw the cat into the creek,” the affidavit alleged. “As it climbed back onto land, Elam kicked the cat back into the water. Elam advised the cat made a noise when he kicked it and he knew it was injured. Elam went back into the apartment and told Smith that he just killed her cat.”
Elam allegedly left the apartment, then returned via the back patio, where Smith allegedly met him and stabbed him with a knife in the chest in front her of her 5-year-old son, the affidavit said.
Elam allegedly threw Smith to the ground and she dropped the knife, the affidavit said.
The couple and the child got into a vehicle, where the pair allegedly punched each other in the face. They got out and Elam allegedly punched Smith in the face and threw her to the ground, where she hit her head on the asphalt.
Elam allegedly found the cat, which was still alive, in Bear Creek.
The couple and child got back into the vehicle, with Smith driving toward a veterinary clinic. Elam allegedly used his hands to strangle Smith as she tried to drive, causing her to almost pass out and drive into a bush.
Smith continued driving, but the cat allegedly died, the affidavit said.
With the cat dead, Smith stopped the vehicle, got out with her son and tried to call 9-1-1 on her cellphone, but Elam took the phone away to stop her from making the call, the affidavit said.
She flagged down a passerby, who called 9-1-1, the affidavit said.
Elam later received three stitches for the knife wound in his chest, the affidavit said.
He reportedly told investigators he wanted to injure and kill her cat in order to make her hurt, the affidavit said.
A check of Oregon court records did not reveal any prior criminal charges against Smith.
Elam has been convicted of fourth-degree assault on three separate occasions, plus third-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and second-degree disorderly conduct, according to court records.