A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleaded not guilty today to charges of assaulting a romantic companion after she found out on Christmas Day that he was cheating on her.
Mark Eric Hibner, 44, of Anaheim is charged with three felony counts of domestic battery with corporal injury and two felony counts of criminal threats.
Hibner, who is out of custody after posting a $50,000 bond, was ordered to return to court March 22 for a pretrial hearing.
He has been relieved of duty without pay pending the outcome of his case, according to spokesman Steve Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The 22-year sheriff’s veteran could face up to seven years and four months in prison if convicted.
The alleged victim, who had been in a relationship with Hibner for several years, heard a “sexually suggestive” voicemail on his cell phone from another woman with whom he was formerly involved and had children with, according to Orange County prosecutors.
While the two continued to argue about the issue the next day, Hibner allegedly punched her in the chest, grabbed her hair, spat at her and flicked a lit cigarette at her.
He is also accused of grabbing the woman — whose name was withheld –by the hair, pinning her down on a bed and covering her mouth during another dispute on Dec. 29.
The next day, Hibner allegedly woke her up and dragged her into the living room by her hair, where he threw her on the floor before straddling her and choking her with his forearm across her throat.
Hibner also allegedly covered her mouth and cut off the air supply to her nose as he threatened to make her pass out while she banged on the floor in a bid to rouse the neighbors.
Hibner is also accused of threatening on Feb. 19 to kill the woman who left him the Christmas Day message if she appeared at a court hearing regarding a protective order sought by the other alleged victim, prosecutors said.
Hibner allegedly made the threat while the two were in a child custody exchange.