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Police Arrest Burnsville Man for Strangling Woman, Stealing Her Car

Donald Ray Gillman, who had been sought since February, is accused of strangling a Burnsville woman last December, then stealing her car.

A Burnsville man being sought by authorities for strangling a woman last December and stealing her car and her cell phone has been arrested.

Donald Ray Gillman, 23, was arrested July 12 on a warrant issued in February. He is charged with two felonies: car theft, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and domestic assault by strangulation, for which the maximum penalty is three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. 

Gillman is also charged with misdemeanor theft in the Dec. 19, 2011, incident.

Gillman remains in the Dakota County Jail on a $10,000 bond. An omnibus hearing in his case is scheduled July 31 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.

According to the criminal complaint, police were called to a home on Parkwood Drive just after 7:30 a.m. Dec. 19 on a report of an assault.

Officers knocked on the door, which was opened by an 11-year-old child, and found the victim lying on the floor with her knees drawn up to her chest and phone beside her.

The victim, who was shaking and crying, had injuries on her arms, neck and near her eye, police said. She told officers that Gillman had assaulted her.

The victim said Gillman had come over the night before so he could watch her two children the next day. She said she and Gillman were sitting on the couch about 3 a.m., watching music videos, and that she was singing along when Gillman suddenly became upset, grabbed her by the throat and began to squeeze.

The victim said she thought Gillman was joking at first, but he continued to apply pressure so that she couldn’t breathe, then jammed his fingers down her throat, scratching her mouth and throat and causing her to spit up blood.

The woman said she got away from Gillman, who picked up her phone and began to call his relatives and tell them that any injuries suffered by the victim were an accident. When the victim asked Gillman to return her phone, he elbowed her in the face, then left the house.

The woman said Gillman periodically knocked on the door after that, but she refused to answer. At about 7:30 the next morning, as one of her children was leaving for school, she said she looked out the peephole but didn’t see anyone, so she assumed Gillman had left.

As the child walked out the door, Gillman appeared from around a corner and forced his way inside, the woman told police. He grabbed her by the neck and slammed her to the ground before taking her phone and some of his belongings and fleeing in the victim’s car, according to the complaint.

Police later found the woman’s car in front of Gillman’s mother’s house in Minneapolis.

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