Cops: Man strangled victim twice

Robert Starling

A Grand Junction man accused of beating and strangling a 23-year-old woman Tuesday, only a week after being released from jail on a similar case involving the same victim, is being held on a $50,000 cash-only bond on the new charges.

Robert Dylan Starling, 28, faces felony assault and menacing counts among other charges after the woman told police he had threatened to kill her, strangled her with one hand, held a knife to her throat, cut her forearm and left hand with the knife, and punched and slapped her in the head, according to arresting documents.

Starling was restrained from the woman after the earlier charges.

Starling denied the attack, telling police the woman had texted him and asked him to help fix a tire, an affidavit for his arrest said.

Mesa County Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle asked for the high cash bond given Starling’s recent history.

Starling, a local university student, was arrested in early November after being accused of tackling the same woman to the ground, covering her mouth and pushing on her throat, according to earlier court records. The victim was hospitalized after the attack.

Tuttle said Starling was issued a $5,000 cash-only bond after his initial arrest; then, in a Nov. 22 hearing, District Judge Richard Gurley agreed to lower the bond to $1,000 cash or surety.

Starling was released after posting the bond, and was back in court on new charges within a week.

“We believe that Mr. Starling is a threat to (the woman),” Tuttle said.

Mesa County Judge Craig Henderson sided with Tuttle Thursday in court and agreed to issue the high cash bond. He issued Starling a restraining order prohibiting contact with the victim, and ordered him to appear before Gurley on Dec. 8.

In addition to the assault and menacing charges, Starling could be charged with felony bail-bond violation, a misdemeanor restraining order violation and criminal mischief, and a sentence-enhancing count of domestic violence.


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