Peter Lizon: 'Indict me, or let us be'
LEROY, W.Va. -- Peter Lizon smiled when he talked about his wife of 13 years, noting how their marriage had grown stronger over what he calls a "surreal" year.
The soft-spoken 39-year-old talked to a reporter for the first time Friday about shocking abuse allegations against him and his arrest nearly one year ago.
Police have accused Peter Lizon of keeping his wife, Stephanie, in chains for a decade, forcing her to give birth to their 2-year-old son in captivity and other acts of torture. Authorities charged him with malicious wounding even though Stephanie Lizon maintains that no abuse took place. He has not been indicted.
A Jackson County grand jury meets for the last session of the year on Tuesday.
"I either want them to indict me and put their money where there mouth is, let me go to trial and refute this bulls--t or just let us be," Lizon said while on his farm in Leroy. "We just want to get back to our lives, be it here or somewhere else."
Lizon said he never hurt his wife. The abuse accusations, he said, started from a lie that spiraled out of control.
"Anybody that meets Stephanie can tell she's really not the type to be treated like that," he said. "She is a very strong and stubborn woman, and I have enough trouble keeping my eye on her."
The abuse allegations began when Stephanie Lizon checked into a women's shelter in Parkersburg in July 2012. Her roommate there allegedly told a health-care provider that Lizon had confided about how her husband severely abused her for many years. Prosecutors and police later pointed to several photos of alleged injuries on her body as probable cause to arrest Peter Lizon.
"Every time the story changed hands, it got embellished further and further," he said. "Another paragraph of insanity gets added to it."
Peter Lizon first learned that the case had received international attention while he was in the South Central Regional Jail.
"My father lives in [Slovakia] and had reporters standing in front of his office every morning. Reporters contacted my adult children from a previous marriage," he said. "They destroyed our lives on every level."
After he was released on bail in October 2012, a judge ordered Peter Lizon held on home confinement. He was forbidden from speaking to or seeing his wife.
Stephanie Lizon is eight months pregnant with their second child.
She told The Charleston Gazette on Thursday that she's been living out of her car and motels and would continue to do so until her husband's legal troubles are over.
Initially after his arrest, Peter and Stephanie Lizon agreed to grant permanent custody of their 2-year-old son, Mojmir, to Stephanie's parents in Virginia. They feared the state would take him, he said.
"We really have two battles we're fighting right now: this criminal battle, but much more importantly, the battle to get our son back," he said.
In May, police arrested Peter Lizon after they said he lied about being in contact with his wife, who also was arrested after she allegedly took her son without her parents' permission.
While they were both in jail, three suspects allegedly broke into their home and took farm equipment and tools. The suspects then burned the house to the ground on May 2, police say.
The loss of their home, neglected farm work and legal bills have set Peter Lizon back about $750,000, he said.
He has since bought a mobile home for Stephanie to return to. For now, though, she is forbidden from seeing her husband, as a condition of his release.
Peter Lizon had been living in a shack the couple once used to dry slaughtered livestock, he said.
No matter the outcome in the case against him, Peter Lizon said, he will be with his wife and family.
"With so many issues we have, our priority is to be together with our children," he said. "Everything else is secondary."
Reach Travis Crum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5163.