SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man arrested on attempted murder and other charges last May after holding his long-time girlfriend against her will for several hours and strangling her several times to the point she lost consciousness was convicted of first-degree assault last week in Worcester County Circuit Court and now faces as many as 25 years in jail.
On May 21, Howard Caltrider, 45, of Salisbury, was arrested for attempted second-degree murder and numerous other charges after a domestic incident during which he threatened to kill his girlfriend of 20 years several times and actually strangled her to the point of unconsciousness during a three-hour ordeal before the victim eventually escaped.
According to police reports, on the morning of May 20, Caltrider began drinking heavily and was depressed and agitated over not being paid the full amount for his work on a boat. As Caltrider became more and more drunk, he became abusive and threatening to his girlfriend, who decided to drive to Salisbury to retrieve some clothes and other items belonging to Caltrider from a storage shed in an effort to calm him down. During the trip to Salisbury, Caltrider called his girlfriend no less than 40 times, threatening to kill her on several occasions.
When the victim returned to Ocean City, she decided to stay at another house on 5th Street to hide from him. During his preliminary hearing in District Court earlier this summer, OCPD detectives testified Caltrider had been arrested for disorderly conduct earlier in the evening, but had been released on his own recognizance after a few hours.
Shortly after his release, Caltrider was able to learn where his girlfriend was staying and the girlfriend opened the door at which point Caltrider rushed in and began hitting her. Caltrider allegedly told his victim he was going to “beat her, torture her, and then he was going to kill her.” He also told her he was going to “gut her” and “blow her brains out.”
Afterward, no gun was found in the apartment during a police search, but several knives were found. The victim told police Caltrider had guns in the past, leading her to believe he could have had one with him when he crashed into the apartment.
Caltrider held the victim captive for three hours, strangling her several times and continually beating her. At one point, he threw her against the refrigerator, and at another point, he bashed her head against the wooden arm of a couch several times, according to police reports.
The victim told police she was sure she was going to die, regardless of whether she stayed or got caught trying to escape. Finally, she was able to escape after three hours when Caltrider became distracted. He was arrested a short time later and charged with attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property.