A veteran San Diego fire captain accused of injuring his girlfriend during an argument and blocking her from calling for help pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three felony charges, including corporal injury against a spouse or significant other.
Steven Michaels, 53, faces five years in state prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Samira Seidu.
The prosecutor told reporters that Stevens, a 30-year firefighter with San Diego Fire-Rescue, allegedly shoved his girlfriend against a wall on July 21 and refused to let her use a cell phone to call for help after she was injured.
Judge Jay Bloom ordered Stevens to have no contact with his girlfriend during the criminal case.
Michaels has been arrested twice in the past for alleged domestic violence — once in 2006 and again in December 2015.
His run-ins with law enforcement were brought up during the trial of a man who stabbed two San Diego firefighters at an East Village trolley stop in June 2015.
Defense attorney Gretchen von Helms said Stevens — who remains free on $75,000 bail — has done a lot of good work in the community and is innocent unless proven guilty.
“It’s important, at this point, to let the system work,” von Helms said.
In addition to the domestic violence count, Stevens is charged with assault likely to cause great bodily injury and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.
He will be back in court Sept. 21 for a readiness conference and Oct. 13 for a preliminary hearing.
— City News Service
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