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Benton County sheriff accused of strangling his wife

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The wife of Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher has filed for divorce, claiming her husband strangled her after she confronted him about an affair. 

Monica Hatcher filed for divorce on Sept. 18, 2019. Days later, she requested a protection order that prohibits her husband from contacting her or coming within 1,000 feet of her home. 

The pair has been married since August 2011. 

According to court documents, Monica said she learned in 2017 that her husband was having an affair with Lisa Rector Thomas, a woman running for position five in the Richland City Council. 

"As I confronted Jerry numerous times throughout the year, shortly after the completion of the campaign I again confronted him, however this time I provided the months of phone and text records," Monica Hatcher said in a statement. "This resulted in Jerry physically assaulting me by putting both hands around my throat, backing me up multiple feet and forcing me backwards over our bedroom dresser, while continuing to choke me."

Since filing for divorce, Monica said Jerry started showing up unannounced at her work and her home, and his behavior had become "increasingly scary and unpredictable."

She said Jerry wrote a false statement on her behalf on October 4, then made her type it out and submit it as her own. 

In response to her claims, Sheriff Hatcher told KAPP-KVEW, "I emphatically deny this."

Per the protection order, he has been forced to hand over his gun pending the results of an investigation. 

According to Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller, he said he received information about the allegations “a while ago,” but the exact date wasn’t said. Miller said he asked Washington State Patrol to investigate the 2017 allegations.

Chris Loftis, Director of Communications for WSP, said they got the request from the prosecutor’s office two weeks ago. He told 4 News Now partner KAPP-KVEW they concluded the initial investigation and sent back their findings to the prosecutor’s office.

Miller said he made the decision to ask the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office to take over the case due to personal knowledge. 

KAPP-KVEW reached out to Lisa Thomas for comment. She has not yet returned our request. 

RELATED: Are you a victim of domestic violence? Here's how to get help 


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