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Earlier this month, a victim of domestic violence opened up to deputies about the disturbing brutality of her alleged abuser. She painted a picture of an alcoholic father whose verbal bullying escalated to damaged property and holes in the wall. In August of 2016, he kicked her out of the house and threw things in front of their children. She revealed how the man she married 11 years ago now graphically describes how he would kill her and dispose of her body by feeding it to pigs. 

And on Easter Sunday, her husband’s rage turned physical, resulting in bruises on her upper arm, chest, back and buttocks, as well as a golf-ball sized lump just inside her hairline behind her right eye. 

She told deputies with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office that Michael Lee Patterson Jr., 36, of Watkinsville, attempted to strangle her. 

For the Sheriff’s Office, the case became the second attempted strangling incident involving a Watkinsville suspect in as many months. On March 11, Travis Duane Wright, 46, was arrested for aggravated assault after allegedly choking his wife and punching her in the face while she was sleeping. 

On April 1, Patterson was drinking at a neighbor’s residence when he began calling his wife repeatedly and at one point said, “If you don’t come home, I will kill you,” according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report.

Patterson has been charged with battery family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree for what happened next. 

When the victim got home, Patterson pushed her on the couch and placed his hands around her neck and attempted to strangle her, according to her account of the incident. The victim kicked Patterson to get away, but he grabbed her legs as two children, ages 6 and 11, yelled at Patterson to stop. 

The victim was able to get into her son’s bedroom with the children, but Patterson gained entry and pushed her into the headboard. Patterson then punched the victim on the right side of her head and attempted to throw her over the railing of the porch, according to incident report. The victim was able to leave and slept in a car for the remainder of the night. 

The victim had a large bruise on her left forearm and a large number of smaller bruises on her left upper arm, according to deputies. The victim had bruising on her chest and upper back. She advised that when she breathed in deeply, she felt a sharp pain in the right side of her mid-back. 

Patterson owns a large number of firearms, the victim told deputies. Since Patterson’s arrest, she has filed a temporary protection order against him. 

Patterson admitted that he had been intoxicated on a constant basis since the beginning of the January. He stated that he had little to no recollection of the events leading up to his arrest. Patterson denied hitting his wife but said he remembered his son telling him to “please stop.” 

During transport to the Oconee County Jail, Patterson said this was the first time he ever laid hands on his wife. He asked for the deputy to relay a message to the victim that he would take responsibility for his actions and “see this as a wake-up call.” 

Project Safe, a shelter and assistance nonprofit for victims of abuse, has a 24-hour crisis hotline at (706) 543-3331. Alcoholics Anonymous meets at Watkinsville First Methodist Church and a list of area meetings can be found at betteraddictioncare.com.The hotline for AA in Athens and the surrounding area is (706) 389-4164.  

 For more on this story, see the April 12 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, go to oconeeenterprise.com or call (706) 769-5175.

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