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Scales of justice
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A Billings man accused of choking another man is among the first charged under a new domestic assault law.

Brett Anthony Boedecker, 69, appeared in court Monday on a charge of felony strangulation of a partner or family member, which became law just last month.

Justice of the Peace David A. Carter released Boedecker during the hearing in Yellowstone County Justice Court. He is required to avoid contact with the victim. 

The victim told officers he felt he was going to die while Boedecker squeezed his neck at the climax of an argument on Friday, charges state. He became dizzy. The two hadn't seen each other in 17 years, according to court documents.

A witness said that the victim's eyes rolled back into his head, and the witness called 911. That's when Boedecker left, charges state.

Police arrested him later at his home.

While this is not the first Yellowstone County case to be charged under the new strangulation law, there are only a few so far, according to Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Julie Patten. 

The Montana Legislature passed a bill this year to add a felony charge for first-offense partner or family member assaults with strangulation. It was signed by Gov. Steve Bullock last month.

Boedecker is scheduled to appear in Yellowstone County District Court on July 19.

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General Assignment Reporter

Reporter for The Billings Gazette.