A former executive for PetIQ, an Eagle-based veterinary supply company, who was accused of attempting to strangle his wife last summer wasn’t sentenced to any additional jail time.
Robert Michael Herrman, of Eagle, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence, admitting to grabbing his wife around the waist without her permission, and was sentenced to probation. He was initially charged with felony attempted strangulation, if convicted of the felony, faced up to 15 years in prison.
The 55-year-old previously worked as the former executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for PetIQ, the Idaho Statesman previously reported. He’s no longer employed by the company, his private attorney, Scott McKay, said in court.
His wife, who has filed for divorce, told an Ada County courtroom during Herrman’s sentencing that she wants him to receive help.
“Upon learning that survivors of attempted strangulation are 750% more likely to be killed by their perpetrator in the following year, I knew Michael and I were over,” his wife told a courtroom, “and that as much as I loved him, I was no longer safe with him.”
Fourth District Magistrate Judge Kira Dale accepted the plea deal between the defense and prosecution and called it a “reasonable” resolution.
Dale placed Herrman on supervised probation for two years, though the sentence could be lessened to unsupervised probation once he’s completed the assigned conditions. He’s also eligible for a withheld judgment, which means he wouldn’t have a criminal conviction on his record so long as he follows the terms of his probation.
Herrman is expected to complete domestic violence courses, a psychological evaluation and 40 hours of community service, which could entail pro-bono legal work. He’s also prohibited from consuming alcohol or drugs, is subject to random blood, breath and urine testing and can’t possess any firearms. In addition, the court fined Herrman $1,000 and court costs.
If he violates his probation, Herrman could face up to six months in jail, online court records showed. He spent two days in jail over the summer before bonding out.
“I’m ready to move forward in a positive way,” Herrman said in a brief statement to the court. ”I’m committed to satisfying the obligations of my sentence and putting this matter behind me.”
Prosecutor says strangulation charge was ‘valid’
Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Tessie Buttram said authorities believed that attempted strangulation was a “valid charge,” but since Herrman’s wife was focused on her husband receiving rehabilitation treatment over punishment, it was appropriate to reduce the charges.
McKay disagreed about the validity of the charge and said he could have taken the case to trial.
Dale said the factual basis was “never going to be resolved” because of the plea deal, but that the “bottom line” was that he got into a physical altercation with his wife.
“Things have gotten pretty out of control once you’ve gotten to that point,” Dale said. “It’s not just about what happened on June 25, but overall what was going in that relationship long term.”
Herrman’s wife said he grabbed her throat, compressed her windpipe and propelled her across the bedroom that night, and showed her he could “harm and potentially kill” her. The prosecutor’s office previously accused Herrman of putting his hand around his wife’s throat for about five seconds.
Buttram said footage from a ring doorbell camera showed Herrman grabbing his wife around the waist when she tried to trigger an alarm. Herrman was initially charged with misdemeanor intentional destruction of a telecommunication line, after prosecutors alleged he pulled the alarm system out of the wall when his wife tried to call for help, the Statesman previously reported. That charge was also dropped as part of the plea deal.
His wife previously alleged that Herrman threatened her by telling her, ”You’re pushing me to the edge. I could take my gun out and kill us all,” according to prior reporting. McKay denied that account during the sentencing, calling it “simply untrue.”
“This wasn’t a reality I thought I would ever have to face — that the person I married and the person I loved more than myself could hurt me,” Herrman’s wife said in court. “It was one that would take me months to truly accept.”