Fighting back tears, an Acampo woman detailed in court Friday how her boyfriend jumped on her, chained her to a bed, then beat her when she tried to escape.
She got away after several days and was hospitalized with broken ribs, a punctured lung, severe bruising and a head injury that triggered a stroke. Six weeks later, she still limps due to the stroke.
"I didn't ask to be beaten that way. I'm not a dog; even a dog has better treatment than that," the victim testified in a shaky voice.
Her testimony was enough for Judge Bob McNatt to order Charles Robert Peck Jr. to stand trial on domestic violence and torture charges that could send him to prison for life.
Peck, now 51, is jailed without bail due to a parole hold related to a kidnapping and robbery conviction in Kansas, for which he served 21 years in prison.
He and the 52-year-old victim had been in a relationship for several years, and they were living off Peltier Road. Peck worked as a truck driver, and the two had driven to Southern California and returned the evening of June 26, she said.
They got into an argument that night. Then, shortly before 4 a.m., he jumped on top of her, the woman testified. She said Peck began wrapping duct tape around her head, at one point choking her and making her lose consciousness before chaining her to a fold-away bed he'd moved to the garage.
He put a chain around her neck and attached it to her arms, said the woman. The News-Sentinel is not naming her because she is an alleged domestic violence victim.
When Peck left several hours later, the woman said she managed to unfasten part of the chain and went outside, to see him standing on the property.
"I still had the chains attached to me and he said, 'You ain't going nowhere,' and he dove at me," she said.
The woman testified that Peck began kicking her in the ribs before dragging her back into the garage.
She said he beat her with a wooden stick, inflicting numerous injuries that were later photographed at a hospital.
Peck took her inside and she said she didn't try to escape again, because she was afraid. The beatings stopped, she said, and Peck gave her some water and eventually took the duct tape off her head, pulling out some hair in the process.
She testified that Peck put her in the shower to clean her up, saying, "I never wanted to do this to you. Look what you make me do to you."
She said Peck called into work to take a couple days off, and at one point went to the Salvation Army to get food. When asked by prosecutor Jeff Derman why she didn't run then, the woman said she was afraid.
"I just knew he was outside waiting for me to make a move," she said.
Finally, on the morning of July 1, Peck had gone to work and the woman said she finally began to think he really had left. She decided to try to leave again.
"By God's grace I got out of there. … The angels took me across and I opened the gate," she said, breaking down into sobs that caused the judge to call a five-minute break.
The woman said she ran into the street and tried to flag down a car. The first one passed without stopping. The second one slowed but didn't help.
The third vehicle stopped, and the woman told the male driver that her boyfriend had beat her, she'd escaped and she was afraid he would return. The man dialed 9-1-1, and an ambulance soon arrived.
The woman spent three days at Lodi Memorial Hospital. In the meantime, Sheriff's deputies began searching for Peck.
He was arrested July 5 under Highway 99 at Jahant Road and has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of torture, domestic violence, assault, false imprisonment and dissuading a witness.
Under questioning by Deputy Public Defender Matthew Kowalski, the woman acknowledged that she's had her own problems, including decades of drug addiction. She said she and Peck ingested methamphetamine together, sometimes while on the road for his trucking job.
Peck was twice arrested on suspicion of battery against the woman, but she later told police she'd lied.
"All I wanted was somebody to love me the way I loved them, to try to make a decent home," she testified.
"I was trying to make it right with him, in my own sick mind. … I never had somebody to love me before. I never had a straight relationship before without drugs."
Peck, who never displayed emotion during the hearing, will next appear in court Aug. 28. No trial date has yet been set.