Attempted Murder Suspect Pressured Pregnant Victim Not To Testify, Police Say
A Tontitown attempted murder suspect tried to pressure his pregnant girlfriend not to testify against him in court, after he alleged fired three shots at her in August, according to court records.
Austin Wenger, 20, faces a charge of bribing a witness after allegedly sending his pregnant girlfriend a letter from jail, telling her he would support their unborn child if she agreed not to testify against him in a related attempted murder case.
The girlfriend told authorities about the letter, and additional charges were added to Wenger’s growing list of alleged crimes.
“In the letter, Austin told her she needed to not testify against him because he loved her and he was going to ‘go down’ for six months for the parole violation anyway,” a preliminary report from a reporting officer states. “Austin wrote if he wanted to kill her, it would have happened.”
Wenger pleaded not guilty in September to charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, terroristic threatening, second-degree domestic battery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and interference with a communication device, according to court records.
Wenger also faces charges of theft of property, third-degree battery, residential burglary and engaging in gang activity. He remains in the Washington County Detention Center without bond, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
A court document states Wenger fired three shots at his pregnant girlfriend on Aug. 22 at her residence on the 1500 block of Arbor Acres Avenue in Tontitown. The woman’s 6-month-old baby was in a car seat on the porch when Wenger fired three shots from a car as he left the scene, the affidavit states.
The affidavit states Wenger got into an argument with his girlfriend, Keshia Gregory, that escalated after Gregory told Wenger to leave the residence. Gregory told officers that Wenger grabbed her around the throat and later stepped on her 6-month-old infant’s head when he rushed to prevent her from calling her mother for help, the affidavit states.
Gregory told Wenger her family was on the way to her house and he produced two handguns and placed one against her head and said he was going to kill her, the affidavit said. Gregory said she pleaded with Wenger for her life and that of their unborn baby, and she said Wenger told her, “I’ll kill both of you,” the affidavit said.
At this point, a silver car pulled up in the driveway that Gregory said was driven by Stacie Chicken, the affidavit states. Wenger got behind the wheel, and Gregory said she thought he fired three shots at her as he left the residence, the affidavit states.
Gregory said she was unsure how many shots were fired because she was running to protect her infant who was in a car seat on the front porch, the affidavit states.
Wenger pleaded guilty in February in a shooting from 2012 in which no one was injured. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, terroristic threatening and criminal mischief, receiving a three-year suspended prison sentence, along with credit of 96 days served in jail, according to court documents.
Also on Sept. 25, Trevor Lee of Springdale, accused of being an accomplice of Wenger’s and others in burglaries during August, pleaded not guilty before a magistrate at the Washington County Detention Center. Lee is charged with theft of property, burglary, engaging in continuing gang activity and two counts of possession of firearms.
He is set to appear in Washington County Circuit Court on Nov. 25.