A West Virginia man is in jail, accused of keeping his wife enslaved for nearly a decade. Peter Lizon, 37, was arrested after a woman told authorities about how she’d allegedly met his wife, Stephanie Lizon, 43, at a shelter for abused women. According to the woman, Stephanie was “gaunt and filthy” after escaping from her husband. According to a criminal complaint, Stephanie told the unnamed woman that Lizon kept her feet and hands shackled for almost ten years, causing scarring and pain. Lizon allegedly referred to Stephanie as “slave” and made her kneel before him. When she escaped, police say, Stephanie was covered in injuries, including burns on her body and broken bones in her hands and feet. Stephanie allegedly carried out two pregnancies while in chains. When one of the babies was stillborn, Stephanie was made to bury its body on their Leroy farm. The other baby survived, but neither mother nor child received any medical treatment. Chief Deputy Tony Boggs told The Washington Post that this is the worst case of domestic abuse he’d ever seen: “This appears to go beyond abuse to what I would consider torture. Her injuries are much more than just getting pushed up against the wall. She’s been abused almost to the point of slavery and torture.”
Lizon’s lawyer, Shawn Bayliss, says the allegations against his client are “the fabrication of a fertile imagination or a feeble mind, one of the two,” referring to the woman who told Stephanie’s story to police. According to police, Stephanie escaped on June 18 when she, Lizon and their child were out returning an item to a farm supply rental outlet. While Lizon was inside, Stephanie, leaving the child in the car, fled, and hid in a Zumba dance studio until she got a ride to the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg.
In 2004, the couple were both arrested in Maryland for cutting up Bush-Cheney signs with a bayonet. They were sentenced to community service. A few months later, Stephanie was arrested on a drug charge and was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty.
Lizon, charged with malicious wounding, is currently being held at South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail. He has a hearing scheduled Friday. According to Bayliss, the Lizons’ child is with Stephanie.