Jose Miguel Ortez-Herrera booking photo

By Shereen Siewert

A 41-year-old Marathon County man accused of trying to strangle and stab a woman on Christmas was given a withheld sentence Wednesday along with nine months in jail, according to court records.

Jose Miguel Ortez-Herrera, of Abbotsford, first appeared Dec. 27 in Marathon County Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing in the case, with recommended charges of attempted homicide. Formal charges were filed Jan. 10 against Ortez-Herrera, who is from Nicaragua and previously worked in law enforcement. Those charges, reckless endangerment, attempted strangulation and suffocation, battery and criminal damage to property, were less serious than the initial recommended charge.

The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department responded to the alleged attack, which happened in Stratford. Sheriff’s officials say Ortez-Herrera was “very aggressive” toward the alleged victim, a woman who was able to escape and drive herself to a local emergency room.

On Wednesday, Ortez-Herrera reached a plea deal in the case and was sentenced to nine months in jail on the battery and property damage charges. On the strangulation/suffocation charge, Circuit Judge Greg Strasser gave Ortez-Herrera a withheld sentence for three years of probation and ordered him to undergo counseling or treatment as recommended by his agent, along with completing a SAFE program.

He was granted 25 days credit for time served.