No-contact order partially lifted for man accused of strangling and pointing gun at family member
A Superior Township man will be able to have limited contact with the family member he allegedly strangled and pointed a gun at during an August argument, a judge has ruled.
Ricky Rice Jr., who was 36 when he was charged, allegedly pulled a gun on the victim on the morning of Aug. 21, threatened to shoot her and her dog and strangled her to the point that blood came out of her mouth, according to prosecutors.
However, if the victim chooses to write a letter to Rice while he is in the Washtenaw County Jail and asks him to write back, or if she requests a visit, Rice is allowed to see her, according to Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Archie Brown’s ruling.
Assistant Public Defender Laura Dudley asked Brown to lift the no-contact order that was a condition of Rice’s $250,000 bail, telling Brown that the woman had asked for the order to be removed. Dudley said all contact would have to be initiated by the victim because Rice is still lodged at the Washtenaw County Jail.
Rice is charged with two counts each of assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do bodily harm less than murder, interfering with electronic communications and one charge each of unlawful imprisonment, assault with a dangerous weapon, assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer, domestic violence, reckless use of firearms and a felony firearms charge.
Rice is scheduled to go to trial at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 3 and he will return to court on Wednesday. Dudley said she is negotiating with Washtenaw County prosecutors on a plea deal.
According to Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Arianne Slay, Rice and the victim began arguing on the night of Aug. 20 and continued the next morning. Slay said Rice allegedly hit the victim with an open hand in the face and stopped her from making a call on a cell phone before telling her he was going to shoot her.
Slay said Rice allegedly grabbed a revolver belonging to the woman, pointed the gun at her and moved closer to her as she lay on the floor. The victim escaped and ran into a bedroom and Rice began allegedly pacing outside the door, Slay said. When Rice heard the victim attempt to make a phone call on a different cell phone, he allegedly broke into the room and took the phone away from her, Slay said.
Rice then allegedly grabbed a brown belt and wrapped it around the victim’s throat, not allowing her to breathe, according to Slay. He allegedly dragged the victim from the bedroom into the kitchen and noticed blood coming from the victim’s mouth and nose, convincing him to loosen his grip on the belt, Slay said.
The victim broke loose in the kitchen and ran into the garage, where Rice allegedly followed her and strangled her with a T-shirt, Slay said. The victim broke free a final time and alerted neighbors in front of the home to call police, Slay said. Rice was arrested at the home, according to police.
The gun allegedly discharged by itself before deputies arrested Rice and he was found with superficial cuts on his wrists, according to Slay. A full can of gasoline was in the home’s bathroom, she said.
Alcohol is believed to have been a major factor in the incident, Dudley said. She reiterated in court on Wednesday that the victim told her that this type of alleged abuse was out of character for Rice and had never happened before.
Brown lowered Rice’s bail in September from $1 million to $250,000.