A Benton County judge sent a 25-year-old man to prison Tuesday for pulling out a woman’s bone-anchored hearing aid.

Ryan Steven Gaskins should serve 13 months in prison for attempted second-degree assault, Circuit Judge Matthew Donohue ruled.

Gaskins pleaded guilty to the charge, as well as to charges of strangulation, attempted coercion, menacing, second-degree criminal mischief and third-degree theft.

Corvallis police officers arrested Gaskins on Nov. 29 after responding to a shoplifting complaint at Safeway, 5270 SW Philomath Blvd. Gaskins had stolen soup from the grocery store, according to court records.

When police approached Gaskins about the theft, they noticed a woman with him had a small wound on the side of her head near her ear. The woman, who is identified in court records as Alexandra Marie Prezioso, said Gaskins had pulled out her hearing aid, which had been affixed to her skull, during an argument the previous night.

Prezioso told police Gaskins had driven them from Waldport to Corvallis on Nov. 18 and had driven recklessly, including driving into oncoming traffic, because he was angry with her. She also told officers Gaskins had covered her mouth and nose multiple times, preventing her from breathing.

Deputy District Attorney Kristen Farnworth said during the sentencing that Gaskins also had used a rock to damage the windshield of Prezioso’s car. She said Gaskins and Prezioso had been in a romantic relationship, and Gaskins was convinced Prezioso had been unfaithful. Gaskins threatened to kill Prezioso while he was driving, Farnworth said.

The prosecutor also said Gaskins had taken Prezioso’s phone and destroyed it. Prezioso does not know sign language, Farnworth said.

“She was really quite vulnerable,” she said

Prezioso spoke at Tuesday’s hearing via telephone. She asked the judge to sentence Gaskins to residential treatment, rather than prison.

“I know he’s sorry,” Prezioso said. “I never wanted this for him.”

Gaskins declined to speak during the hearing.

Donohue said he would comply with the plea deal worked out by Farnworth and Gaskins’ attorney, Brett Jaspers. The judge ordered Gaskins to serve two years on post-prison supervision, during which time he should undergo batterer’s treatment and substance abuse treatment.

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or lillian.schrock@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock. 

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