ST. JOSEPH — A woman described to a Berrien County judge Tuesday how, she says, a man beat her and strangled her nearly to death last month as she was trying to leave his house.

She said the incident started with him not liking what she’d made for dinner.

Joshua Winans, 31, was bound over for trial on charges of assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, aggravated domestic violence, second offense, and unlawful imprisonment. 

Berrien Assistant Prosecutor Amy Byrd moved to add the unlawful imprisonment charge after the woman testified at a preliminary hearing for Winans on the three original charges. His lawyer, Jennifer Fields, objected to the bind-over. She said Winans was outside when police arrived at his home in Watervliet Aug. 16. 

But Berrien County Trial Court Judge Angela Pasula said she found sufficient probable cause after hearing the victim’s testimony. The woman told the court that she has known Winans for about 10 years, had become romantically involved with him about four months prior and had been living with him when the attack occurred. She said Winans was angry about what she had made for dinner.

She testified that Winans slapped her in the face as she got in her car to leave. She said she went back in the house to gather belongings for herself and her young son, and Winans followed her into a bedroom. She said he grabbed her by the hair, pulled her to the floor and began hitting her and spitting at her.

Then, she said, he put three fingers down the inside of her throat while squeezing the outside of her throat with his other hand. She testified that she could not free herself and could not breathe. She said Winans told her “I’m going to kill you.”

She said the attack stopped as a police car pulled up at the house. She said she had left her phone in the car and does not know who called the police. 

“‘Thank God you’re here,’ was all I was thinking,” the woman told the court. 

Pasula set a trial date for Winans in November.

Contact: jswidwa@TheHP.com, 932-0359, Twitter: @HPSwidwa