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Bensalem Man Gets 4 to 10 Years for Assault on Longtime Partner

December 13, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chelsey Jackman, 215.348.6016, cdjackman@buckscounty.org

A Bensalem man who assaulted his longtime partner by punching her, strangling her and shaving her head with a kitchen knife was sentenced Friday to serve four to 10 years in state prison.

Robert Belton, 37, also was ordered to pay $61,580.55 in restitution, most of it for extensive damage he caused to the victim’s home during and after the assault.

Belton had pleaded guilty Oct. 3 to felony criminal mischief, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, simple assault, indecent exposure and open lewdness. He and the victim had a relationship spanning 16 years and had two young children together.

The assault occurred May 31 in the victim’s home in the 3900 block of Wrexham Court in Bensalem. Belton had accused the victim of being unfaithful to him while he had been living in Florida, and told police that he “just lost it.”

The victim said that Belton had beaten her and strangled her until her body went limp and she lost control of her bowels. He then threatened her with a kitchen knife before using it to shave off her shoulder-length hair.

Belton told police that he cut the victim’s hair so that she would not be attractive to other men. While restraining her inside the house, he plugged the drain of an upstairs bathroom, flooding the two-story townhouse and causing more than $60,000 in structural damage and in ruined furnishings and appliances.

The woman finally escaped by fleeing, half-dressed, from the home, pursued by a completely naked Belton. He tried to drag her back inside before neighbors intervened, police were called, and Belton fled in the victim’s vehicle.

The woman suffered injuries to her neck, head, face, chest and back, none of them life-threatening. The couple’s children, ages 8 and 7, were not home at the time.

“I don’t like to think about it, but I could have lost my life that day,” the woman told Bucks County Senior Judge Albert J. Cepparulo during Friday’s hearing.

“I am not perfect and I’ve made mistakes, but I did not deserve this…,” the woman wrote in a victim impact statement. “I just want Robert to think about how he would feel if a man did this to our daughter. Would he care what the reason was for doing it?”

Belton, who has three other children with three other women, has multiple arrests for domestic violence, and an extensive criminal record dating to his teens for robbery, assault and property and drug crimes.

His attorney, Robert Leite-Young, told Cepparulo that Belton’s father was murdered when Belton was 3, and that his mother was killed by a drunken driver when Belton was still in school. He said that Belton developed aggressive, violent traits as a survival skill on the streets and in prison.

A psychologist who examined Belton diagnosed him with Intermittent Explosive Disorder. He also concluded that Belton had grown dependent on marijuana and benzodiazepines to calm himself and to be able to sleep. Despite that history, Leite-Young said, Belton never has received treatment for mental illness or drug addiction.

Cepparulo sentenced Belton to two consecutive state prison terms of two to five years each. He recommended that Belton be assigned to serve his time in a therapeutic prison community, and that he receive mental health treatment and a drug and alcohol evaluation. Cepparulo also sentenced Belton to serve a consecutive seven years of probation.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Chelsey Jackman and investigated by Bensalem Township Police.

Approved for release by Gregg Shore, Deputy District Attorney.

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