William Fowler


An Idaho Falls man who was charged for beating a woman was sentenced to probation Wednesday.

William Fowler, 22, was arrested in April after the victim reported he had choked her after she tried to leave him for cutting her off from her family. Fowler reportedly pulled her downstairs and choked her until she nearly passed out.

Defense Attorney Tyler Salvesen said in court Wednesday that the victim had told a presentence investigator the violence had caused her to miscarry while pregnant. Salvesen said his client was never told of victim’s pregnancy.

Salvesen and Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Wheat jointly recommended probation for Fowler. The defense attorney said his client had made efforts to change himself during his three months in jail and hoped being ordered to attend domestic violence court would help him.

“I think he realized it’s kind of a dead end where he’s going, and he wants to get off that road,” Salvesen said.

Wheat said he had spoken to the victim about the sentence and that she was OK with probation for Fowler as long as the no-contact order remained in effect. Wheat noted that Fowler has a previous felony on his record, but felt the defendant would be more likely to change outside of prison.

“I think this is Mr. Fowler’s best shot at rehabilitation,” Wheat said. “I think it’s better than prison.”

Fowler told District Judge Bruce Pickett he was remorseful and wanted to turn his life around.

Pickett expressed skepticism about whether probation was appropriate given the seriousness of the crime. He noted Fowler had deliberately limited the victim’s contact with her family, and that he lied to police about the incident.

Pickett added, however, that Fowler had cooperated while on probation in the past. He said Wheat’s statement about rehabilitation convinced him it was a better option than a prison sentence.

“Frankly I think rehabilitation is the best way to protect society in the long run,” Pickett said.

Fowler was sentenced to five years of probation with an underlying sentence of three to 10 years in prison. He will not have to serve the prison time if he complies with the terms of probation. Fowler also must attend domestic violence court.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.