A 25-year-old West Salem man is accused of strangling a woman he was living with after she woke him up on her way to church.

Nathaniel A. Johnson was charged Wednesday in La Crosse County Circuit Court with strangulation and suffocation, misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct.

He faces nearly seven years in prison for the trio of charges.

Nathaniel Johnson


According to police, the woman — whose relation to Johnson was not disclosed in the criminal complaint — was preparing to go to church early Sunday. Johnson had used her car the night before, so she went into his bedroom to get the keys.

The woman could not wake the man, so she began yelling. That’s when Johnson, according to police, got out of bed and strangled her. He also struck her on the back of the head, she said.

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The woman told police she was terrified and “was thinking the worst.” When she eventually stopped fighting, Johnson let up.

An hour or two later, the woman told police there was lingering pain in her throat, jaw, mouth and head. She declined medical treatment, however.

Johnson, who was recently released from prison, has a history of criminal drug offenses.

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