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Judge rules NHL player can be tried on felony charge

  • Los Angeles Kings' Slava Voynov reacted during Game 1 of the Western Conference finals in the Stanley Cup playoffs in Chicago on May 18. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

TORRANCE, Calif. » Slava Voynov’s wife told police the Los Angeles Kings defenseman hit, choked and pushed her into a television in their bedroom during a fight in October, an officer testified Monday.

After hearing the description of the injuries to Voynov’s wife, a judge ruled Monday that there is enough evidence against the player for him to stand trial on a felony domestic violence charge.

Voynov listened to the testimony of Redondo Beach Police Officer Gregory Wiist with the help of a Russian interpreter but did not speak during the proceedings. He has pleaded not guilty to one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury and will be re-arraigned on the charge on Dec. 29.

His attorneys declined to comment after Monday’s hearing.

Wiist was the sole witness during Monday’s preliminary hearing. He said Voynov’s wife told him that her husband began arguing at a Halloween party on Oct. 19 and their fight continued at their Redondo Beach home.

Wiist said Voynov’s wife, Marta Varlamova, told him that her husband choked her repeatedly, punching her in the face and pushing her into a flat screen TV. The television opened a cut over Varlamova’s left eye that required eight stitches, Wiist testified.

"She was crying, sobbing," Wiist said, describing Varlamova’s appearance at a hospital after the incident. "I saw tears streaming down her face. She was an emotional wreck."

In the couple’s bedroom, Wiist said he saw blood on a comforter, a bloody handprint and blood on the floor.

Wiist said Varlamova told him her husband first hit her in the face while at a Halloween party hours after the Kings won an afternoon game.

Superior Court Judge Hector M. Guzman rejected a motion by Voynov’s attorney, Craig Renetzky, to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor or dismiss the case. Pamela Mackey, another attorney for Voynov, said in court that Varlamova has written a letter to prosecutors stating her injuries were an accident, but Guzman did not accept the letter into evidence.

Voynov’s attorneys have said Varlamova does not communicate well in English, and Mackey questioned why Wiist didn’t use a translation service to take her statements in her native Russian.

The NHL has indefinitely suspended Voynov while the case is pending.

The Kings were fined $100,000 on Dec. 2 after Voynov skated with the team during a workout.

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