Woman Accused Of Choking Roommate Unconscious At Group Home In Holland

Posted at 6:37 PM, Sep 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-05 09:55:43-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — A woman accused of assaulting the woman she shared a house with in Holland was arraigned on an assault charge.

Lori Ann Pietila, 41, allegedly choked into unconsciousness a woman named Elizabeth who also lived at the transitional home on West 18th Street. The two women lived in the group home together with others, although they had their own bedrooms.

The two women had an ongoing dispute when the victim was assaulted. Holland Police Department Jack Dykstra described the incident as a “very brutal assault>”

“It’s really unsettling,” said Kate Irvin-Garcia, a neighbor. “I didn’t know there was a group home down the street,”

Neighboring residents like Irvin-Garcia say the assault that happened there is troubling. “The allegations are very scary. That is not something you want to hear about right down the street,” she said.

During the arraignment, the judge cited a troubled mental history with Pietila, who reportedly had gotten into a fight with Elizabeth before. Police said the director of the home had already been considering removing Pietila.

The day of the assault, Pietila called the director and said something about the assault, so they called police. When police arrived, they knocked loudly and Elizabeth was able to regain consciousness and answer the door, though she was badly injured.

Pietila was already on probation for resisting and obstructing in Muskegon County. Previously, she was at the transitional home following the completion of a program at Harbor House, a drug and alcohol treatment facility.

Neighbors said, given the new information about Pietila, they feel nervous about letting their children near the home. “Yeah, you never know when someone is going to snap,” said Irvin-Garcia.

Pietila faces up to 10 years in prison for the assault charge. The judge set bond at $75,000 cash or surety. The judge said the group home on 18th Street is operated by My House Ministries.