BRATTLEBORO -- A Bellows Falls woman is behind bars and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after she allegedly tied up her on-again off-again boyfriend and nearly strangled him.
Pamela Levey, 51, pleaded not guilty on Monday to felony aggravated domestic assault and one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest after she was arrested on Sept. 21 following an incident at her home.
During her arraignment, Judge David Suntag ordered Levey held without bail pending the results of the psychiatric examination.
According to court documents, Levey has "no insight into the severity of her actions on Sept. 21, saying she was ‘just playing.’"
Levey is described as "highly anxious" and "a person in need of treatment for safety of self and others," the document states.
Bellows Falls Det. Sgt. Shane Harris said he rushed to the scene after a teenage boy hurried into the police department shortly after noon to tell him a man was being strangled.
"He’s choking and can’t breath," the teen told police, panting. "He’s tied up in the basement."
Harris knew Levey and the victim, a 64-year-old man, from prior incidents.
When Harris approached the home along Morgan Street he said he saw one of the doors open and could hear Levey screaming from the basement.
The man’s face was bright red and Harris said he could hear gurgling sounds so he rushed to help get the ligature off the man’s neck.
"I have never seen anything like that in my 22 years of law enforcement," Harris told the Reformer. "I’d rather have read it in a book or watched it on TV than have had to experience it first-hand."
While Harris attempted to untie the shirt he asked Levey why she had restrained him.
Levey said, "he was trying to attack me."
Harris said he had to repeatedly tell her to stay away from him and the victim and eventually had to push her away.
Bellows Falls Cpl. Michael Chesanek arrived on scene along with several medical personnel.
When Harris told Levey she was under arrest she tried to run into the adjacent room but was caught by Chesanek.
Levey kicked at both officers and held her arms underneath her body until Chesanek and Harris were able to take her into custody.
Her victim was transported to Springfield Hospital.
The teenager told police he arrived at the house after Levey told him there was an emergency and when he went downstairs he found the man bound to the bed frame by his feet, chest and legs with blue straps.
Levey left the room after the teen said he wanted to speak with the man alone and as soon as she left he ran upstairs to grab a knife to cut him loose.
Levey returned before the boy could cut any of the restraints and grabbed the knife from him, pointing it at him and threatening him after the teen said he was going to call the police.
"This could happen to you ... You can’t call the cops," Harris’ affidavit states.
Levey told the teenager that the man was drunk and high and that she needed to give him more pills. She also said she couldn’t let the man go because he was going to call the police.
A moment later she told the boy she’d let the man go as soon as she spoke with her psychiatrist and a friend and told him the reason she tied him up was because he had locked her in a closet previously and she wanted to show him what it felt like.
At the Springfield Hospital the victim told Sgt. Chris Brooks what he remembered of the morning’s event.
He told police he went to Levey’s house sometime between 9:30 and 10 a.m., and the two of them began drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and doing "lines of cocaine."
He said after taking a line of cocaine he felt "odd," as if Levey had given him something other than cocaine, and he laid down on a bed in the basement.
He awoke to find Levey and an unidentified blonde woman were tying his arms to the bed. Although he and Levey had a sexual relationship for 12 years or so, this had never happened before so he assumed it was something sexual. That’s when he blacked out and he said he doesn’t remember much of anything after that until he was being seen to by police and rescue workers.
Harris said evidence, including the kitchen knife the teenager used to try and free the man, the restraints, later identified as Thule cargo strips, and various drug paraphernalia, was recovered from the scene.
The scene is still under investigation and police are still interviewing witnesses and any other people who may have been involved, including the blonde woman the victim claimed to have seen, he said.
Other charges may be pending against Levey as the investigation continues, Harris said.