A Graves County jury handed out a guilty verdict for First-Degree Strangulation last week, the first ever in the state of Kentucky, according to the Graves County Commonwealth’s Attorney Richie Kemp.

Hasan Saxton was convicted of First-Degree Strangulation (Class C Felony) Persistent Felony Offender (PFO) Enhanced; Tampering With Physical Evidence (Class D Felony) PFO Enhanced; Fourth Degree Assault; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Possession of Marijuana; Third-Degree Criminal Mischief; and Second-Degree Persistent Felony Offender.

Saxton had previously been convicted of First-Degree Rape, which led to the last charge. He was initially charged with First-Degree Rape in this case, as well, but was acquitted.

Kemp said the jury recommended Saxton receive the maximum sentence allowable by law — 20 years in prison.

His conviction stems from an incident on July 8, 2020, when he found the victim lying in her bed. He reportedly flew into a rage, “damaging her personal property and putting holes in her bedroom walls,” according to the commonwealth’s attorney’s report. Saxton then allegedly grabbed the victim by her throat with his hand, choking her. When she broke free he grabbed her again, this time in a choke hold.

When she couldn’t breathe anymore, she bit his arm, forcing him to let her go. Then he struck her in the face. The victim was able to call 911 after that, leading to Saxton’s arrest.

DNA evidence taken from his arm were subsequently processed and confirmed to be from the victim and Saxton himself.

His conviction marks the first in the state since Kentucky’s 2019 General Assembly made non-fatal strangulation a felony. Before the change, strangulation was considered Fourth-Degree Assault, a misdemeanor.

Kemp’s office praised the “survivor” for appearing in court to help ensure Saxton answered for his crimes.

“She courageously testified against her abuser and we are honored to have fought for justice on her behalf,” Kemp said.

It was not clear when Saxton would officially be sentenced.