A 40-year-old Rio Rancho man recently plead not guilty after allegedly hitting his ex-wife a few weeks ago.  

The Rio Rancho Police Department was dispatched to a call of a domestic incident at about 9:15 p.m. April 17 on the 6300 block of Kestrel Road NE.  

They learned that Russ Garcia was at the house to visit his child, but toward the end of the night when he was supposed to leave, he and his ex-wife got into an argument over a custody arrangement.   

During the squabble, Garcia allegedly punched her in the face with a closed fist. He then grabbed her throat with one hand and dragged her to the ground. He held her on the ground with his hand around her throat causing her to stop breathing, she told an officer, adding that she did not think she lost consciousness.  

To get him off, she kicked him in the genitals. Despite that, he attempted to punch her until she was finally able to leave the house, according to a criminal complaint.   

The victim later told an officer that she had a ringing in her left ear, which started after being punched. She also had a swollen left eye and a scratch on her left arm. While there were no marks on her neck, her shirt collar was “stretched extensively.”  

The victim was evaluated by emergency medical services personnel at the house.  

Garcia had red knuckles on both hands as well as a small amount of blood on his right hand. When asked how he got the blood on him, he said he did not know, the complaint states.  

He refused to give a statement and denied that any fight had occurred.   

Prior to the altercation, the ex-wife had a restraining order served against the suspect, which is valid until June. 

Garcia faces charges of aggravated battery against a household member (great bodily harm), a third-degree felony, and violation of a restraining order prohibiting domestic violence, a misdemeanor.   

He waived his initial appearance but plead not guilty.   

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 24.  

If convicted, Garcia could face up to 4 years in prison and pay a $6,000 fine.