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COLUMBUS — A district court judge gave a former Columbus man credit for the positive steps he has taken in his life since an “isolated” event took place last summer when he assaulted a former girlfriend inside her apartment.

“You have shown genuine remorse for your behavior,” Judge Robert Steinke told 49-year-old Lance Pfeifer before sentencing the defendant to 18 months of probation for his convictions of third-degree domestic assault and trespassing.

Pfeifer pleaded no contest to the charges stemming from a 1:39 a.m. incident June 18 at the victim’s Columbus apartment. The convictions are Class I misdemeanors, each punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Steinke said there were several factors that steered him clear of sentencing Pfeifer, who now lives in Stromsburg, to any jail time.

“You have no criminal history whatsoever,” said Steinke while also crediting the area man for a strong work history and sturdy family support system.

Alcohol was also a factor the night of the assault, an issue the judge said Pfeifer has made strides to correct.

“You have completed outpatient alcohol counseling," Steinke noted.

According to court documents, the victim reported being choked by Pfeifer during the physical altercation.

“(The victim) stated she could not breathe and she thought she was going to die. (The victim) said if we had not gotten there in time, Pfeifer would have killed her,” Columbus Police Officer Jorge Magdaleno wrote in his probable cause arrest statement.

The couple share a child together.

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Jim Osborn is a news reporter at The Columbus Telegram.

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