Kalispell man pleads guilty to choking girlfriend

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A Kalispell man accused of choking his girlfriend and forcing her to perform a sexual act agreed to plead guilty to the crimes Thursday in Flathead County District Court.

Joseph Walter Bedker pleaded guilty to strangulation of a partner or family member and criminal endangerment. A charge of sexual assault was dropped in the plea deal and replaced with criminal endangerment.

As part of the plea deal, Bedker is facing a total sentence of six years suspended and 40 hours of anger management counseling.

District Judge Amy Eddy said Bedker also must follow a no-contact provision with the victim, despite the fact she has written several letters to the court supporting it being removed.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim, a 31-year-old woman, told a Kalispell police officer that during an April 12, 2018 argument with her boyfriend, Bedker, he dragged her off their bed by her ankles and then sat on her chest and arms. She said he then choked her and asked her, “Do you want to die tonight?”

She also said he forced her to perform oral sex on him.

Then she recounted another incident that happened May 26, 2018. She said Bedker choked her and punched her in the head, the complaint indicated. The officer saw yellowish bruising on the side of her head and she showed him photos that depicted marks on her neck and bloodshot eyes.

Bedker faces a total of 25 years in Montana State Prison if convicted of both offenses. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 21.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 406-758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com

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