Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Gig Harbor man with assaulting his girlfriend during a drunken argument.
Justin Sawyer, 31, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment, felony harassment and interfering with reporting of domestic violence.
He initially was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Prosecutors said the assault took place Saturday morning at the couple’s apartment in the 4400 block of Rosedale Street.
Sawyer’s girlfriend told police he came home drunk and argued with her. She said he tried to choke her and put his hands over her nose and throat until she blacked out.
“He took her phone and told her to pick out a knife for him to kill her,” according to charging papers.
Sawyer allegedly threatened to kill the woman’s family as well.
When she tried to get away, according to the court documents, Sawyer hit her over the head and dragged her back inside the apartment by her hair. She escaped when Sawyer fell asleep.
Police noted bruises on the woman’s face, neck and hands.
Sawyer refused to speak to officers when they arrested him at home.