‘Serial abuser’ convicted of 11 charges; faces 7 years Upstate


A Riverhead man accused of choking and smothering his girlfriend during a fight last August, then making threatening calls to her in violation of an order of protection, has been convicted on all 11 charges against him.

Travis James, 32, was found guilty of aggravated criminal contempt, harassment and criminal obstruction of breath by a jury in Suffolk County criminal court Thursday, according to online court records.

Prosecutors said Mr. James was a “serial abuser” who physically and emotionally abused his girlfriend, even after she was granted an order of protection.

On Aug. 4, Mr. James got into an argument with his girlfriend at their house on Fanning Boulevard, and “put both of his hands around her neck and threw her onto her bed,” said District Attorney Thomas Spota. Mr. James then held her on the bed and put a throw pillow over her face, “obstructing her breathing for several seconds,” Mr. Spota said.

Mr. James also sent a “threatening message to his ex-girlfriend, through an emissary, to not come to court,” Mr. Spota said.

“Our evidence presented at this bench trial also included proof the defendant repeatedly made harassing phone calls to the victim in violation of the order of protection,” Mr. Spota said.

In 2009, Mr. James was arrested and charged with burglary and harrassment after he allegedly broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house in Hampton Bays soon after being released from jail, according to a previous report in the News-Review. Mr. James stole a video camera from the house and called the ex several times by phone after being asked not to, Southampton Town police said at the time.

Prosecutors said Mr. James pleaded guilty to two counts of felony criminal contempt in March 2010. Because of that conviction, he will be sentenced as a repeat offender by county Judge William Condon on Dec. 23.

The most serious of the 11 guilty counts, a class D felony, carries a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison.

He is being held in Suffolk County jail on $250,000 cash bail.

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