MADISON — A Norfolk man who rendered his girlfriend unconscious during a January assault took a plea deal in district court on Friday.
Eric Blomquist, 42, appeared before Judge Mark Johnson on Friday alongside his attorney, Chelsey Hartner.
Blomquist was facing charges of first-degree sexual assault and strangulation after he choked his girlfriend while engaging with her in unwanted intercourse at their home on Jan. 29.
After originally pleading not guilty to both charges, Blomquist entered a guilty plea Friday on one count of strangulation, a Class 3A felony, and, in exchange, had the first-degree sexual assault charge dropped.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the victim told police that Blomquist had been drinking heavily during the day on Jan. 29. After returning home from dinner, the two kissed each other and Blomquist indicated he wanted to have sex, according to the victim.
The victim told Blomquist she did not want to have sex because of his intoxication, she said. Blomquist then began forcing the victim to perform several sexual acts despite the victim telling Blomquist "no" more than once.
The forced sexual acts included fellatio, penile and digital penetration and sodomy, according to statements made to police. At one point during the assault, Blomquist had both of the victim’s hands held down, above her head with one of his hands.
Blomquist then put his other hand over her throat and squeezed, constricting her airway and causing her to pass out. The victim awakened after passing out, and Blomquist was still having vaginal intercourse with her. She was shaking and having trouble focusing when she awoke, she said.
The victim had red marks on her neck consistent with strangulation, according to police. The victim also was examined at the hospital two days after the assault and had abrasions on her right labia minora, bruising inside her left thigh, bruising on her right buttock and yellow bruising on both sides of her neck.
In court, Blomquist explained to Johnson what gave rise to criminal charges.
“It was a night when I was inebriated and we wanted to engage in a normal night of sexual intercourse,” he said. “Asphyxiation is something we normally do during intercourse, and I have no doubt in my mind that I took it too far when this happened.”
Besides the plea deal, Blomquist’s bond was reduced by Johnson to $10,000, with 10% required for release. It had originally been set at $100,000, with 10% required for release.
Matthew Kiernan, deputy county attorney, objected to the bond reduction because of the crime’s seriousness as well as Blomquist’s “downplaying of the crime.”
Hartner said Blomquist’s children have dealt with mental health difficulties since his arrest and that his children need their father.
The victim, who was present in court, requested that Blomquist’s no-contact order be dismissed so that he is able to live at home and help his children. The victim told Johnson she feels safe allowing Blomquist back into the home.
Johnson asked Blomquist what the court would think if there are problems while he is out on bond.
“That I was just trying to make myself look better so that I could get out and be free and do whatever I want,” Blomquist responded. “I want to make my children’s lives better, your honor; that’s my goal.”
Following Friday’s plea deal, Blomquist now faces a punishment of up to 5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. His sentencing was scheduled for Thursday, July 29.
“I can only address your issues, and if there are problems, you can be brought back on revocation of your bond,” Johnson told Blomquist. “I’d be safe when you’re engaging in conjugal conversation with your girlfriend, so we don’t have any issues.”