WSAZ - HomePage - Local News, Severe Weather and Breaking News Coverage for West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky

FIRST ON WSAZ.com: Suspect Speaks Out after Arson Charges Dismissed

By: Rahel Solomon,Jeremy Edwards, The Associated Press Email
By: Rahel Solomon,Jeremy Edwards, The Associated Press Email
More Video...

Arson Suspect Speaks Out

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One of the suspects charged with arson in the fire that destroyed the Lizons' home denies she was involved in the arson.

Colena Martin said she considers the Lizons her friends and has taken care of the Lizons' animals when they've been in jail before. She said she's upset about what happened to their home. Still, despite her denials, investigators say they have a very different story about her involvement in the case.

"I'm not a house burner. I may be a lot of things, I may be crazy, but I would never burn anyone's home down," Martin told WSAZ.com Friday at the jail.

But investigators said Martin did just that to the Lizons' home.

Martin said she was taking care of the animals this past week after the Lizons went to jail, even though they hadn't asked her to. Around Jackson County, she's well-known for her love of animals.

"She gathers up lots of animals and tries to find homes for them," Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs said.

In fact, Martin was a two-time WSAZ Hometown Hero for her work with pet charities. Her biggest concern in this situation is the animals: both the Lizons' and her own.

"I pray to God somebody will go out there and feed and water my animals," Martin said. "I don't care about me. I'll sit here for as long as it takes, but I just want somebody to go out there and take care of them."

Martin said the home was already burned to the ground when she arrived there Thursday morning. She said she had heard Peter Lizon would be coming home from jail, so she didn't come to the house to feed the animals Wednesday.

"I thought, oh my gosh, maybe somebody gave Peter a ride home," Martin said, recalling a deputy car that passed her on the road that morning. "That was my thoughts. I said maybe he's here, maybe I won't have to feed the animals or come back."

Investigators say Martin admitted she hadn't been in contact with the Lizons since last September.

Martin, her fiance Christopher Hill and her son Daniel Martin are all facing charges of first-degree arson. Investigators also say they think these three have stolen from the Lizons' home in the past.

UPDATE 10/15/13 @ 11 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- As Colena Martin rummages through her belongings as a newly freed woman, it's clear a lot has changed since she was hauled off to jail in May.

“They burnt my dog pictures, they burnt everything, they just totally vandalized my house,” Martin said Tuesday afternoon outside her home, adding “I have no idea why they'd do this.”

Martin was behind bars for five months, accused of setting a Jackson County home on fire. But prosecutors dropped the charges on Friday.

Martin, her son Daniel and fiancé Christopher Hill -- who once stood accused -- were all set free.

The homecoming was less than pleasant for Martin because her home has been ransacked and her car was stolen.

“It makes me so angry,” Martin said.

The house Martin was accused of setting fire to belonged to Peter and Stephanie Lizon.

The Lizons once made national headlines after Stephanie alleged Peter abused her and held her captive for nearly a decade.

Peter once told WSAZ.com he hired Martin to help care for his animals while he and Stephanie sat in prison on charges related to the torture claims. Peter says when Martin insisted on raising her prices he fired her.

Martin denies she ever asked for money from the Lizons but said she cared for the animals because she heard the Lizons were in jail.

Martin tells WSAZ.com she is considering suing Jackson County for her wrongful imprisonment.

Officials from the Jackson County Circuit Court’s Office say the first-degree arson charges were dropped without prejudice, meaning they could be re-filed in the future.

Motion to Dismiss Indictment



UPDATE 10/15/13 @ 2:50 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charges against three people accused of setting a house on fire have been dismissed.

The Jackson County Circuit Court office tells WSAZ.com, 1st degree arson charges against Colena Martin, her son Daniel and her fiance, Christopher Hill have been dismissed without prejudice.

They were arrested in May for setting fire to Peter and Stephanie Lizon's home.

Peter and Stephanie were in jail at the time of the fire.

Peter and Stephanie made headlines around the world after Peter was accused of keeping Stephanie chained, burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

Police say the abuse happened over a 10 year period. The couple denies it ever happened.

Charges in that case were also dropped.

CircuitCourt officials tell WSAZ.com, charges in the arson case against Colena Martin, Daniel Martin and Christopher Hill could be re-filed at a later date.



UPDATE 9/6/13 @ 11:10 a.m. .
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The couple involved in a high-profile case of alleged domestic violence has lost custody of their newborn daughter.

Peter and Stephanie Lizon say Child Protective Services removed 3-week-old Bozena from their Leroy home.

Stephanie Lizon told a Charleston newspaper that she suspects the government is retaliating for her refusal to cooperate in the case against her husband.

The state agency that oversees CPS didn't immediately comment on the Lizons' allegations Friday.

A judge dismissed domestic battery and malicious wounding charges against Peter Lizon last month, partly because his wife denied the allegations.

In July 2012, she fled from her husband and told domestic violence shelter workers she had been held captive for the better part of a decade - beaten, burned and even shackled.

She later recanted the incident.



UPDATE 8/19/13 @ 5:42 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Stephanie and Peter Lizon are feeling a sense of relief Monday after charges against Peter were dismissed in Jackson County.

"It feels good to be partly over. It feels good to have this hurdle behind us, but we have a long way to be done with this," Peter Lizon said.

This may not be the end for the case of a man accused of torturing and abusing his wife, but it's a step in the right direction as far as Peter Lizon's concerned.

"It was an interesting year for us, very hard," he said. "We pretty much lost everything we had and then some, but we are ready to rebuild and start our life over, I guess."

Charges of malicious wounding and domestic battery were dismissed Monday in Jackson County, citing a conflict of interest. They were dropped without prejudice, which means they could be filed again, but Lizon's attorney, Michael Hissam, isn't worried.

"According to the prosecutor, if they were to go to trial, the probable result would be a not guilty verdict," Hissam said. "We think that recognizes this case for what we've said it is all along, which is a case based on hearsay, innuendo, and suggestion and a case that needed to be dismissed."

Peter's wife Stephanie has stood by his side the entire time, denying that her husband ever hurt her. "We've been looking forward to this for a very very long time. Of course, I'm looking forward to staying at home with my husband and my new baby."

Now the three of them are hoping to reunite as a family of four. Their 2-year-old son, Mojmir, was removed from their custody. A hearing on Friday will determine if the boy will be able to reunite with his family.

"The celebration can't really happen until we have our son back with us," Stephanie said.



UPDATE 8/19/13 @ 10:25 a.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- Charges have been dropped in a torture case in Jackson County, West Virginia.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Evans' decision came Monday morning following a brief hearing.

Special Prosecutor Craig Tatterson requested the move. He had cited a lack of admissible evidence and the original prosecutor's conflict of interest in filing the motion last week in the case of Peter Lizon, of Leroy.

Lizon had been charged with malicious wounding and domestic battery last year.

His wife, Stephanie, has denied the allegations against her husband and refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

She has said the couple is the victim of an overzealous prosecution and unfounded stories by people who don't know them.

Lizon's attorneys claim authorities waited too long to prosecute him.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/19/13 @ 10:05 a.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charges have been dropped in a torture case in Jackson County, West Virginia.

The judge ruled to dismiss the case against Peter Lizon Monday morning without prejudice.

That means another prosecutor can re-file the charges at a later date.

Lizon was accused of keeping his wife Stephanie chained up, burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

Since the beginning, the couple denied the abuse ever happened.

Lizon had been charged with three counts of malicious assault and three counts of domestic battery.

We have a crew in the courtroom.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/16/13 @ 10:20 a.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The special prosecutor working on the case against Peter Lizon has filed a motion to have the charges dropped.

The prosecutor made the motion Friday morning.

Peter Lizon is accused of keeping his wife Stephanie chained, burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

The couple denies the abuse ever happened.

Lizon has been indicted on three counts of malicious assault and three counts of domestic battery.

Court officials tell WSAZ.com, Lizon will be in court Monday at 10:00 a.m.

Also this week, the couple's attorney reports that Stephanie Lizon gave birth. Stephanie and Peter named their daughter Bozena, which they say stands for "Gift of God". Their attorney reports that both Stephanie and the baby are doing great.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 7/29/13 @ 11:15 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An Oct. 15 trial date is set in a case of man accused of brutally torturing his wife for nearly a decade.

Peter Lizon is accused of keeping his wife, Stephanie, chained, burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

The couple denies the abuse ever happened.

Lizon has been indicted on three counts of malicious assault and three counts of domestic battery.



UPDATE 6/27/13 @ 10 a.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The case against a man accused of torturing his wife is moving forward.

Court officials tell WSAZ.com, Peter Lizon has been indicted on three counts of malicious assault and three counts of domestic battery.

Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies say he kept his wife, Stephanie chained up for 10 years.

Lizon is also accused of burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

Lizon and Stephanie say the abuse did not happen.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 5/6/13 @ 11 a.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man charged with torturing his wife appeared in court Monday on unrelated charges.

Peter Lizon was charged last week for lying about his wife's, Stephanie, whereabouts after their two-year-old boy was reported missing from his grandparents house.

Last year, a court ordered the couple to stay apart following allegations that Peter had been torturing Stephanie over the course of the past 10 years. However, Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies say they were found together last week with their two-year-old son at their home in Leroy. Investigators say they found the couple there after being told Stephanie had kidnapped her son from his grandparents' home and returned to Jackson County with her husband.

During Monday's hearing, the judge found probable cause in the case against Peter and sent it to the grand jury.

Peter was also released on home confinement.

Stephanie is charged with kidnapping in this latest incident. Her preliminary hearing was delayed Monday. No new hearing date has been set.

We have a crew in Jackson County. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/3/13 @ 6:25 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- While a couple involved with torture and kidnapping allegations sits in jail, their house has been burned to the ground.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the arson.

The fire happened at Peter and Stephanie Lizon's home in Jackson County, W.Va., sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“I never would have ever imagined that I would be accused of this,” Colena Martin, a suspect, said.

Martin, her fiancé, Christopher Hill and her son, Daniel Martin have all been arrested.

However, Colena says she's friends with the Lizon couple.

“They've always been nice to me, and I’ve always been nice to them,” Martin said.

Peter Lizon's attorney says they hired Martin to take care of some animals while he was in jail last summer; accused of torturing his wife.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that Peter and Stephanie Lizon have had the home that they worked hard to build in Jackson County destroyed under these circumstances. They have done nothing but try to live peacefully as a loving family and good neighbors. Now, for the third time in recent years, they have been the victims of senseless crimes against their property,” Peter’s attorney, Mike Hissam, said.

Hissam says Peter fired Martin last fall when she kept pumping up the price. A week later, their home was burglarized, and they pointed the finger of blame to her.

“No matter what has happened with the Lizons, you can't burn their property -- the same as you can burn anyone else's,” Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs said.

Martin says she didn't know about the fire until she showed up to feed the animals.

“It was completely gone. I didn't go anywhere near it,” Martin said. “We drove down the road and I looked over and I said, ‘oh my God.’"

Investigators found items from the Lizons' freezer and refrigerator at Martin's home.

She claims they gave her a key and told her to help herself. She says she took those items the day before the fire when she was there volunteering to check the animals.

According to the criminal complaint, Martin’s son Daniel Martin was there when it all happened and told police that Martin said, “I’ll just burn it down.”

Colena Martin, Christopher Hill and Daniel Martin have all been charged with first-degree arson and are in jail.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/3/13 @ 5:10 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A third person has now been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed the home of a couple who has made headlines for shocking allegations in Jackson County.

According to Jackson County Sheriff Anthony Boggs, Daniel Martin is now in custody and is facing charges in connection with the arson.

The fire happened sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning at Peter and Stephanie Lizon's home in Leroy.

Just hours after investigators ruled the fire arson, Christopher Hill and his fiance, Colena Martin, were both charged in connection with the fire.

Investigators say no fire departments were called to the scene to fight the fire at the Lizon's home. In fact, it wasn't until the next morning when a neighbor called 911 to report that the house was smoldering.

Stephanie Lizon told WSAZ.com's Brooks Jarosz in a prior phone conversation that she and her husband had been threatened in the past. Right now, investigators don't have a motive in the arson case.

WSAZ.com first told you last year when Peter was arrested on charges of beating, burning and chaining up Stephanie for a decade -- both denied the allegations.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/3/13 @ 10:45 a.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two people have been arrested in connection with an arson that destroyed the home of a couple who has made headlines for shocking allegations in Jackson County.

The fire happened sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning at Peter and Stephanie Lizon's home in Leroy.

Just hours after investigators ruled the fire arson, Christopher Hill and his fiance, Colena Martin, were both charged in connection with the fire.

Martin spoke to WSAZ from her jail cell Friday morning.

Martin tells WSAZ.com she's friends with the Lizons' and was actually taking care of their animals while they were in jail.

Martin says she is innocent. She says she was at the Lizons' home Thursday morning when the police tape was already surrounding the home. Then, early Friday morning investigators came to her home and charged her and her fiance with first-degree arson.

Investigators say no fire departments were called to the scene to fight the fire at the Lizon's home. In fact, it wasn't until the next morning when a neighbor called 911 to report that the house was smoldering.

Stephanie Lizon told WSAZ.com's Brooks Jarosz in a prior phone conversation that she and her husband had been threatened in the past. Right now, investigators don't have a motive in the arson case.

WSAZ.com first told you last year when Peter was arrested on charges of beating, burning and chaining up Stephanie for a decade -- both denied the allegations.

Then earlier this week, both Peter and Stephanie were arrested at their farm.

Stephanie is accused of kidnapping her son from her parents.

Deputies say this week they found Peter and Stephanie Lizon with their two-year-old at their farm in Leroy. Deputies say when they went to the farm, Peter denied Stephanie and the toddler were there, but they searched the house and found them in a back room.

Peter and Stephanie are court ordered to stay apart because of the torture allegations and they don't have custody of their two-year-old boy. The court had ordered the grandparents to take the child while the court case moved forward.

Peter and Stephanie Lizon are still in jail on charges connected to the incident this week.

The case is still under investigation.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/2/13 @ 11:15 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a fire that destroyed the home of a couple in jail, embroiled in controversy.

Officials say the home of Peter and Stephanie Lizon, the couple at the center of an alleged torture case, has burned to the ground. They say it went up in flames sometime overnight Thursday.

The fire wasn't reported until that morning when a distant neighbor drove by and saw the damage, according to sheriff's deputies.

"No one realized it had burned until it completely burned," Chief Deputy H.L. Faber said. "There are no close neighbors, and it's not within sight of anything."

Lois Rose and her husband beyond Miller Hollow Road and often pass the Lizon's farm. They say seeing all the destruction now adds to an already unpleasant trip.

"We saw where they live, and it was always kind of creepy when you went by," Lois said. "It just didn't seem like we were welcome, even to drive by."

Lois says the fire seems strange considering the couple's circumstances.

Investigators say it's too early to tell what caused the flames, and they say they're treating the case like any other.

"I look at every fire the same to begin with, until the evidence leads me otherwise," said Jason Baltic with the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Officials say another home burned to the ground in that same area 15 years ago. The cause of that fire was never found.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/2/13 @ 4:50 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The home of Peter and Stephanie Lizon, the couple at the center of an alleged torture case, has burned to the ground.

According to the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office, the fire happened some time overnight.

No fire departments were called to the scene to fight the fire. A neighbor called 911 to report that the house was smoldering.

Investigators are on the way to the home in Leroy to try to figure out what caused the fire.

Stephanie Lizon told WSAZ.com's Brooks Jarosz in a prior phone conversation that she and her husband had been threatened in the past.

We have a crew on the way to the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 4/30/13 @ 2:30 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The child of a couple from Jackson County who made headlines for shocking allegations will soon be back in the custody of his grandparents.

Peter and Stephanie Lizon were found together with their 2-year-old at Peter's farm in Leroy, according to deputies.

In July, Peter was accused of beating, burning and chaining up his wife for about a decade in Jackson County. Lizon was charged with malicious wounding and later released on bond.

As a condition of the bond, the couple is not allowed to be with one another, according to deputies.

Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies tell WSAZ.com on Monday they received a call from Stephanie Lizon's parents with whom Stephanie was living with near Washington D.C. Her parents told deputies she left their home with her 2-year-old child and believed she was back in West Virginia with Peter. Deputies say Stephanie's parents have custody of the toddler.

Deputies went to the Lizon's farm in Leroy. Peter answered the door and claimed Stephanie was not there. Deputies executed a search warrant and found Stephanie and the toddler hiding in one of the rooms.

The child was taken into protective custody until Stephanie's parents could get to Jackson County to pick up the child. The grandparents were at the Sheriff's Department Tuesday afternoon and then went to get their grandson from where he was staying.

Stephanie Lizon was arrested and charged with child concealment and kidnapping. Her bond is set at $50,000. Peter Lizon was charged with obstruction, which is a misdemeanor. His bond is set at $5,000. Both are in the South Central Regional Jail and have declined to comment on the incident.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.




JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A couple from Jackson County who made headlines for shocking allegations were both arrested overnight.

Peter and Stephanie Lizon were found together with their 2-year-old at Peter's farm in Leroy, according to deputies.

In July, Peter was accused of beating, burning and chaining up his wife for about a decade in Jackson County. Lizon was charged with malicious wounding and later released on bond.

As a condition of the bond, the couple is not allowed to be with one another, according to deputies.

Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies tell WSAZ.com on Monday they received a call from Stephanie Lizon's parents with whom Stephanie was living with near Washington D.C. Her parents told deputies she left their home with her 2-year-old child and believed she was back in West Virginia with Peter. Deputies say Stephanie's parents have custody of the toddler.

Deputies went to the Lizon's farm in Leroy. Peter answered the door and claimed Stephanie was not there. Deputies executed a search warrant and found Stephanie and the toddler hiding in one of the rooms.

Stephanie Lizon was arrested and charged with child concealment and kidnapping. Her bond is set at $50,000. Peter Lizon was charged with obstruction, which is a misdemeanor. His bond is set at $5,000. Both are in the South Central Regional Jail and have declined to comment on the incident.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/21/12 @ 4 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A husband accused of beating, burning and chaining up his wife for about a decade in Jackson County will stay in jail.

Peter Lizon was in court Friday asking for his bond to be reduced.

Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies say he kept his wife, Stephanie chained up for 10 years.

Lizon is also accused of burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

During Friday's hearing, the judge denied Lizon's request for a lower bond.

His wife, Stephanie continues to maintain the allegations against her husband are untrue.

Lizon remains in jail in lieu of a $300,000 bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/4/12 @ 3 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For the first time, the wife at the center of a case against a man accused of beating, burning and chaining her up, is speaking exclusively about what she says really happened at their farm in Jackson County.

Stephanie Lizon sat down Tuesday exclusively with WSAZ.com's Brooks Jarosz to tell her side of the story and to let everyone know her husband, Peter Lizon, is innocent.

Lizon was arrested in July after deputies say he kept his wife, Stephanie, chained up for nearly a decade at their farm in Leroy. Lizon is also accused of burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

During the interview Tuesday, Stephanie says she's not sure how the story got spun out of control -- but her husband never hurt her.

"He is not guilty of what they're accusing him of. What they're saying happened, is not what happened," Stephanie Lizon said. "He's never hurt me, he's never hurt me. My husband and I have had problems in our marriage, but I think if anyone looked closely enough anyone would see that these are the kind of problems that most people have in their marriage. We argue."

According to the complaint, Stephanie told a woman at the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg about the abuse in July. That's the woman who eventually reported the alleged crime to police.

Investigators say Stephanie had scars on her wrists and ankles because she was chained up with metal padlocks, and her feet were badly mutilated because Lizon allegedly smashed them with a scoop on a farm tractor.

Deputies say she was also badly burned after she was hit with a hot frying pan. Furthermore, she suffered a miscarriage and police say she had to give birth to another child while being chained up.

During a recent court hearing and again during Tuesday's interview, Stephanie admits she went to the crisis center to get away from her husband, but she says it wasn't because he ever intentionally hurt her.

"My husband and I have found that when we have our arguments we've benefited greatly from what I believe the shelter would call a cooling down period," Stephanie said. "I'm a victim of the system. I'm a victim of the authorities, I'm a victim of the press."

However, Stephanie points out she didn't go to the shelter to protect herself.

"Well there's no reason I wouldn't have been able to get away... that's an absurd proposition," Stephanie said. "I'd like to see my husband released. I'd like to see his bond lowered to something we could conceivably manage. I'd like to see him get a fair trial. And I know if he gets a fair trial he will get acquitted."

Stephanie also denies ever giving birth while in chains.

"I gave birth at home... what I did is called unassisted home birth. This was planned, we planned it since before I was even pregnant," Stephanie said.

Stephanie says the person who reported the abuse made it all up.

"I never spoke to the police, I never called 911, I never filed a protective order and I never said this nonsense to anyone," Stephanie said. "Well I don't just think it, I know it... because she did. And again, I don't want to speculate. I'm not going to accuse or guess as to what the motivations were... I don't know where this came from. I have no idea, I have no idea, I don't really think that regardless of what she was trying to do what was accomplished was not anything good for me, or my husband, or my son."

Investigators say they have photographs of the abuse Stephanie endured. They presented as evidence during a recent court hearing.

According to the criminal complaint, the woman who reported the abuse noticed scar tissue on the victim's hands and ankles. The woman claims Stephanie told her that the scars were from the chains tearing into her skin.

At the time, the woman also reported to police that Stephanie's feet were "mutilated and swollen," one of which was missing a considerable amount of skin. Stephanie's wife told the woman that her husband smashed her foot with a bucket or scoop attachment of a farm tractor, according to the complaint.

The woman also told investigators when she tried to medicate and bandage Stephanie's wounds, she noticed severe burns on her breasts and back. According to the complaint, Stephanie told the woman her husband used a hot frying pan to burn her.

During Tuesday's interview, Stephanie did admit the photographs taken at the crisis center are indeed pictures of her. However, Stephanie claims they don't show abuse.

"Those photographs were taken of me, but once again I don't understand how a photograph of an injury is proof of how that injury occurred," Stephanie said. "It seems that I'm being asked to prove that these things didn't happen... when it seems to me that the burden of proof is actually on the state."

Stephanie says she has visited Lizon in jail several times, in fact Tuesday following the interview.

She says she wants him out of jail and back home with her and their son.

"No, no, other than once again I would like to remind everybody that if they were put in a position where they had to prove someone's innocence or prove their own innocence, because I really feel like a defendant in this case, they might find it a challenge to do so," said Stephanie.

Last month a Jackson County Grand Jury found probable cause to send Lizon's case to a grand jury.

Lizon is charged with malicious wounding. WSAZ.com has received several emails from viewers, asking why he hasn't been charged with more. Deputies say so far, that is all the evidence will allow.

During that hearing last month, Stephanie also testified in support of her husband.

Lizon remains in jail in lieu of a $300,000 bond.



UPDATE 8/3/12 @ 6:10 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A husband accused of beating, burning and chaining up his wife for about a decade in Jackson County will have to post his $300,000 bond if he wants to get out of jail.

Peter Lizon appeared Friday before a judge, asking for his bond to be reduced.

Lizon was arrested last month after deputies say he kept his wife Stephanie chained up for 10 years.

Lizon is also accused of burning her with a frying pan and crushing her feet with a piece of farm equipment.

The judge denied Lizon's request because he says Lizon is a flight risk, doesn't have the means to post bond and is likely to commit another crime. He also cited the seriousness of the allegations as another reason for denying the bond modification.

"We are disappointed and we hoped that the court would see that the concerns of flight would be set aside by the fact that he would surrender all documentation that would make him available for exiting the country or leaving the state of West Virginia," said Shawn Bayliss, Lizon's attorney. "But I do understand the court's ruling. It's of grave concern for people in this area."

Lizon's wife Stephanie testified at his preliminary hearing and said the accusation that she was beat and held captive are untrue.

Lizon remains in jail in lieu of $300,000 bond.



UPDATE 7/13/12 @ 12:30 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Disturbing allegations of torture and abuse took center stage in a courtroom in Jackson County, W.Va.

Peter Lizon appeared in court for his preliminary hearing on Friday.

Earlier this month, Lizon was arrested after police say he kept his wife, Stephanie, chained up for nearly a decade in their home along Miller Hollow Road in Leroy, W.Va.

Lizon is accused of smashing Stephanie's feet with farm equipment and hitting her with a hot frying pan.

Police say she also had a miscarriage because of the abuse and was forced to have another baby while still chained.

Lizon is charged with malicious wounding. WSAZ.com has received several emails from viewers, asking why he hasn't been charged with more. Deputies say so far, that is all the evidence will allow.

During the preliminary hearing Friday, the victim, Stephanie Lizon, took the stand and defended her husband.

During Stephanie's testimony she admitted that the burn on her back came from a frying pan, but she says her husband didn't intentionally burn her. Stephanie told the magistrate she and her husband got into an argument and they "collided with each other."

"It was an accident ... my husband and I were arguing over breakfast and we often get very passionate in our arguments and I am often without a shirt in my own home, as I think it's my own right and ... we collided with each other," Stephanie testified.

Stephanie also stated during the hearing that she never told anyone she was abused. In fact, she testified that Lizon never intentionally hurt her, hit her or chained her.

Stephanie testified the injuries caused from the tractor bucket were also an "accident."

According to the complaint, Stephanie told a woman at the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg about the abuse last month. That's the woman who eventually reported the alleged crime to police.

Another person at the center, whose identity was concealed, testified during Friday's hearing. The person testified that Stephanie said she was afraid of her husband, Peter. The witness says Stephanie was so scared she used a different name at the shelter in fear of her safety.

"She said that Peter had dropped a hay baler on her foot the first time, but then he continually kept re-injuring it ... like he would get mad at her and stomp her foot as he would walk by her or whatever," said the unidentified witness. "She [Stephanie] said it was an injury that kept reoccurring over and over."

On the stand, the person also described the victim's injuries, including the bruises observed when Stephanie was at the crisis center.

"After he had thrown her down, the same bunch of pictures I just described, he had stomped her there and she believed her ribs were broken," the witness testified.

The witness also testified that Stephanie was wondering if Peter wanted a divorce.

"She said that when she thought about things while she was at the shelter, that she believed that Peter wanted a divorce," the witness testified. "She didn't know whether he wanted a divorce to make her leave or to keep her from running away from him. One or the other."

During Stephanie's testimony, she says an argument led her to the crisis center.

"I had an argument with my husband and I wanted to spend some time away," Stephanie testified.

Stephanie also testified she found the phone number of the crisis center in a phone book at a nearby Zumba facility. She told the court that she left her baby in the truck because she "didn't want to argue in front of the baby."

According to the criminal complaint, on July 2, Lizon took his wife and their child to return a Rototiller attachment that he had rented from a local store. While returning the equipment, Lizon's wife hid in a Zumba dance facility and later asked for help.

Pictures of Stephanie's injuries were shown to her during Friday's hearing. They were so graphic, our reporters were not even allowed to see them.

Testimony revealed the pictures were taken at the crisis center.

The defense did not call a witness to the stand during the hearing.

However, Lizon's attorney filed a motion at the beginning of the hearing to have the charge dropped. The magistrate denied the motion.

"The complaint is generated based on a hearsay statement from a third party ... there is no eyewitness to the act, there is no statement taken from the alleged victim in this matter," Shawn Bayliss, Lizon's attorney said. "You don't get to throw everything out in the complaint and say here's our shotgun approach. That's impossible to defend."

After closing arguments, the magistrate found probable cause to send the case against Peter Lizon to the grand jury.

Lizon will remain at the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.

Bayliss asked for Lizon's bond to be reduced, but the magistrate ruled that a circuit judge will have to make the decision. A bond hearing will take place in the near future.

WSAZ.com has decided to release the victim's name after her testimony during Friday's hearing. Our decision came after Stephanie testified that she had not been victimized by her husband Peter.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/11/12
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – We’re learning more about the man accused of holding his wife hostage for 10 years and brutally beating her.

Peter Lizon is charged with malicious wounding in Jackson County, W.Va., but WSAZ.com learned Wednesday that Lizon was convicted of malicious destruction of property in Maryland and was sentenced to community service.

It all stems for an incident in 2004 when police in Maryland say Lizon took a bayonet and destroyed two Bush-Cheney political signs. He was sentenced to 32 hours of community service, unsupervised probation and had to pay over $300 in restitution.

During this same incident, his wife, the alleged victim in this case, also was charged with destruction of property. Maryland police claim Lizon used her as the lookout while he destroyed the signs. She served 40 hours of community service in lieu of prosecution.

According to Lizon’s attorney, Shawn Bayliss, Lizon hasn’t been convicted of any crime in West Virginia. According to the criminal complaint filed in Jackson County, Lizon’s wife claimed her husband was originally from the former Czechoslovakia. His lawyer said he’s been in the United States for 20 years, spending time in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Bayliss said he’s been in West Virginia for about 10 years.

Lizon remains in jail in lieu of $300,000 bond.

Bayliss told WSAZ.com Lizon’s wife is standing beside her husband.



UPDATE 7/11/12 @ 7:30 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The attorney for a husband accused of holding his wife hostage for nearly a decade says his client is innocent.

Peter Lizon was recently arrested and charged with malicious wounding, with more charges pending.

Police say Lizon chained up his wife with metal padlocks and held her hostage at their home along Miller Hollow Road in Jackson County.

She had scars on her wrists and ankles, and deputies say her feet were badly mutilated after Lizon smashed them with a scoop on a farm tractor.

"This is something taken out of context," Lizon's attorney Shawn Bayliss said. "I don't believe my client has done anything that could be construed as a criminal act."

Deputies disagree, saying Lizon's wife was also badly burned after she was hit with a hot frying pan. They took more than 40 pictures that show what they call a severe case of abuse.

"It comes down to what appears to be slavery and torture," Chief Deputy Tony Boggs said.

Whatever it was, something caused Lizon's wife to want to escape during a road trip. They arrived at Bosley Rental and Supply Company with their infant to return a rototiller. As soon as Lizon went inside, his wife took off. The infant was left in the truck but later found safe.

Police say she ran around to the Zumba dance facility next door and pleaded for help. The owners say they gave her money for a taxi to the nearby crisis intervention center.

A woman staying at the shelter told police she saw the victim's scars, bruises and burns.

"I think the allegations are a product of a fertile imagination from someone who heard part of a story and decided to make it their own," Bayliss said. "Just because someone is at a shelter doesn't mean they're a victim of crime."

The center wouldn't say why Lizon's wife showed up or what she told them about her husband.

"It is very tragic when you hear something like this," shelter Director Sharon Lynch said. "We protect our clients and we protect their files."

"I don't believe they (police) will have sufficient documentation or evidence that would indicate any intentional act that was performed by my client," Bayliss said.

Lizon is being held in the South Central Regional Jail on a $300,000 bond. He is currently only facing a malicious wounding charge which carries a sentence of two to 10 years in jail.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/10/12 @ 10:45 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Police say what happened down Miller Hollow Road in Jackson County for 10 years is horrendous.

"This is a case that is tenfold of what our average domestic is and maybe more than that. It comes down to what appears to be slavery and torture, it seems to be the aspects of this case," Jackson County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Tony Boggs said.

Peter Lizon was arrested on malicious wounding charges; he may face more as the investigation unfolds.

Sheriff’s deputies say it all began when Lizon's wife showed up at a crisis center in Parkersburg, W.Va.

They say she had scars on her wrists and ankles because she was chained up with metal padlocks, and her feet were badly mutilated because Lizon allegedly smashed them with a scoop on a farm tractor.

They say she was also badly burned after she was hit with a hot frying pan. Furthermore, she suffered a miscarriage -- allegedly because of the abuse and had to give birth to another child while being chained up.

Shawn Bayliss, Lizon’s attorney, however says that is not true and that the miscarriage was the result of an ATV accident.

"It's amazing what one human being can do to another, and that should not ever happen or be allowed to happen. And hopefully this will stop and curtail that, at least in this instance," Boggs said.

Bayliss said the source who told the police everything has a “feeble mind,” and the allegations against his client are erroneous and the facts will show that.

Bayliss also said Lizon’s wife, the alleged victim, is standing by her man through it all.



ORIGINAL STORY
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man is facing charges after allegedly holding his wife hostage for 10 years and brutally beating her.

Peter Lizon, of Leroy, W.Va., is charged with malicious wounding.

According to the criminal complaint, a woman staying at the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg had met a woman that was brutally beaten by her husband and reported it to authorities.

The woman, in an interview with investigators, described meeting Lizon's wife while staying at the shelter in Parkersburg. She described his wife as "gaunt and filthy," and told investigators that she spent the entire night talking with Lizon's wife during her stay.

During the conversation, according to the criminal complaint, Lizon's wife told the woman that her husband had kept her chained up with metal padlocks and chains for about 10 years. The woman noticed scar tissue on the victim's hands and ankles. Lizon's wife told the woman that the scars were from the chains tearing into her skin.

Lizon's wife told the woman that she and her husband were originally from Czechoslovakia, and that they live in Leroy, W.Va.

According to the complaint, the woman told investigators that the feet of Lizon's wife were "mutilated and swollen," one of which was missing a considerable amount of skin. Lizon's wife told the woman that her husband smashed her foot with a bucket or scoop attachment of a farm tractor.

Lizon's wife also told the woman Lizon called her his "slave," and that whenever her husband entered the room she had to kneel down before him, according to the complaint.

During the conversation, the woman began to try to medicate and bandage the victim's wounds, when she noticed severe burns on her breasts and back. According to the complaint, Lizon's wife told the woman her husband used a hot frying pan to burn her.

According to the complaint, Lizon's wife also told the woman of a prior pregnancy during which her husband hit her in the stomach and caused a miscarriage. Lizon's wife described the child to the woman as a fully developed baby -- that they then buried on their farm.

Lizon's wife also told the woman that she had a one-year-old child. According to the criminal complaint, that child was delivered by Lizon while his wife was bound by chains. Neither Lizon's wife or the child received any medical attention since birth.

The woman told investigators that the victim's fingers all looked crooked. According to the complaint, Lizon's wife told the woman that her husband had broken her fingers.

After investigators finished the interview with the woman they were able to obtain a warrant to gain more information from the shelter in which the women stayed. According to the complaint, 45 photos were turned over to investigators showing the injuries that had been described to them.

On July 2, according to the complaint, Lizon took his wife and their child to return a roto-tiller attachment that he had rented from a local store. While returning the equipment, Lizon's wife was able to walk away from the truck and hide in a local Zumba dance facility. Lizon left with their child and his wife was able to find a ride to the shelter in Parkersburg.

Investigators were then able to obtain a search warrant for the couples home from which the confiscated a Sunbeam clothing iron from a bathroom vanity cabinet.

Lizon is being held in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 161980285 - wsaz.com/a?a=161980285