Crime & Courts

Man accused of choking wife released without posting bail

Darren M. Serna, 26, of Sandwich

SYCAMORE – With visible reluctance, a DeKalb County judge on Tuesday ordered a man accused of choking a woman and destroying her phone and computer to keep her from asking for help to be released on his signature.

Darren M. Serna, 26, of the 1200 block of East Arnold Street in Sandwich, is charged with aggravated domestic battery, unlawful restraint, domestic battery and unlawful interference with reporting domestic battery. If he’s convicted of the most serious charge, aggravated domestic battery, he could face three to seven years in prison, and his minimum sentence would be two months in jail, followed by probation.

The victim told police that three children were present throughout the Saturday morning attack, during which police said Serna threatened the victim with a knife and a bat, broke a TV with the bat, and held the victim’s head in a sink, court records show.

The victim told police that when she tried to call the police, Serna broke her phone, and then when she went for her computer, he smashed it, according to the records.

Assistant State’s Attorney Alesandra Friend said in court Monday that the Department of Child and Family Services was involved. The victim said in records that after one of the children went to get help, she made it outside, too, but that Serna caught her and choked her until he saw a police car coming.

Judge Thomas Doherty set Serna’s bond at $50,000 during a bond hearing Sunday, and Judge Montgomery painstakingly weighed many factors while re-evaluating bond.

Serna told Montgomery that if released, he’d live with family in Oswego.

According to a Supreme Court ruling in April, defendants are to be required to post bail only if other conditions can’t ensure they don’t flee, and that they aren’t a threat to the community’s safety.

“Ultimately, I’m faced with a defendant who has no criminal history,” Montgomery said. “He’s presumed to be innocent. He’s gainfully employed. He’s supporting at least one child. Pretrial Services has indicated it’s appropriate for his release.”

Montgomery ordered that Serna be placed on electronic home monitoring, and that he have no contact with his wife.

Serna is due back in court at 9 a.m. Dec. 1.