A Laramie man arrested in January after allegedly strangling a woman he lived with admitted to the crime Tuesday in Albany County District Court.

Desmond James Vasquez, 30, pleaded guilty on one count of strangulation of a household member. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop an aggravated assault charge and recommend a split sentence of no more than one year.

If sentenced at the maximum, Vasquez could find himself spending five years in prison and paying a $10,000 fine.

Vasquez was arrested Jan. 23 after police responded to his Laramie home after a woman called the Laramie Police Department to report Vasquez had strangled her. According to the affidavit, the victim said Vasquez strangled her after an argument and ran out the back door to hide in the crawlspace.

"Mr. Vasquez grabbed the victim by her throat with one hand, and then with two hands, and began to squeeze," noted Prosecutor Kurt Britzius as he described the incident Tuesday in court. "She was pregnant during this entire episode."

"I think it was over doing our taxes," Vasquez said after Judge Jeffrey Donnell asked what the fight was about. Britzius described the fight as escalating from a verbal argument to Vasquez chest-bumping the victim before he grabbed her throat.

"You virtually choked her out, right?" Donnell asked. "The police were called, and you went and hid in the crawl space."

"So what is it you were attempting to accomplish?" asked Donnell.

"It was probably so she wouldn't call the cops on me," Vasquez replied. "I was drinking heavily that day."

Donnell described trends regarding the death rates of pregnant women before remanding Vasquez to custody pending sentencing. Vasquez had been out on $20,000 signature bond.

A sentencing date will be set pending completion of the presentence investigation.

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