An unemployed Bethlehem construction worker wasn’t happy when his pregnant girlfriend told him he needed to “pick up the slack” and get a job to support their growing household, police said.
According to court records, Joshua Edward Souders threatened to kill his girlfriend and choked her twice – once while lying atop her on a bed and a second time against a wall while she was trying to escape from him.
Meanwhile, their household arrangements didn’t last long. Souders, 29, lived with his girlfriend just one day at an apartment on the 1100 block of Livingston Street in Marvine-Pembroke, the records say.
A criminal complaint filed by Bethlehem Officer Ian Kiesselbach said he took the woman’s complaint when she arrived at the police station Tuesday night shortly after the alleged incident with Souders.
The complaint says:
--She and Souders were arguing shortly after 11 p.m. about his lack of employment and her having to leave her job because she’s pregnant. She told him he “would have to pick up the slack and get a job to support their unborn child.”
--Souders became “so upset” he allegedly pushed the woman onto the bed, climbed atop her and choked her with both hands. She was barely able to breathe. She tried to pry his hands from her throat but he would not release them. She screamed at him to get off and he continued to choke her.
--She saw her cell phone next to the bed and reached for it to call 911. Souders lifted one hand from her throat, grabbed the cell phone and took it from her. While he choked her, he screamed at her and spit in her face. Shortly after the taking the cell phone, he released her.
--The woman grabbed her belongings, including the phone, and ran. Souders chased her and caught up with her at the front door. He grabbed her by the throat, shoved her against a wall and again started choking her.
--Souders told her, “If you give me the cell phone, I will let you go.” She handed him the phone. He released her but told her, “If the cops come I am going to f------ kill you.” She ran out of the apartment and came to the police station.
A fact sheet in Souders’ court file says he is laid off after working for a union construction company for the past 11 years.
Online court records say he faced charges in 2004, 2006 and 2011 for such alleged crimes as aggravated assault, theft by deception, DUI and terroristic threats.
In Tuesday’s case, he was charged with simple assault, terroristic threats and harassment. He was arraigned at 3:15 a.m. Wednesday by on-duty District Judge Robert Hawke of Lehigh Township and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail.
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