DEFENDANT IN SLAYING ACCUSED OF WIFE ASSAULT
By Jason N. Swensen, Staff Writer
A registered nurse awaiting trial for the suffocation death of his 3-year-old daughter is now accused of assaulting his wife.
Donald Lee Tibbets, 37, was arrested Thursday after allegedly pushing Julia Tibbets, 29, onto a bed at their Midvale home, then trying to keep her from leaving to call police.The Midvale man made news last July after he reportedly performed a controversial restraining technique on his adopted daughter, Krystal Tibbets. The child later died.
The couple apparently had a confrontation Wednesday night about a man who had been staying at their house at 86 S. Wilson St. (770 East). Julia Tibbets went inside her bedroom and locked the door so she could call her mother, a Midvale police report said.
Donald Tibbets then unlocked the door, pushed Julia Tibbets onto the bed and pinned her by holding her arms across her chest, the report said.
The woman struggled free and tried to call police. Donald Tibbets grabbed the phone, disconnected the cord and physically tried to keep her from leaving the house, the report said.
The woman got away and walked to a nearby convenience store where she called 911.
Donald Tibbets was later arrested for investigation of assault and released on a citation.
He was charged last summer with child-abuse homicide, a second-degree felony, for "recklessly" causing the death of Krystal Tibbets.
The girl died on July 8, 1995 - a day after her father allegedly used the "holding therapy" technique designed to provoke a child into a rage and draw out repressed sources of anger.
The treatment is sometimes used on kids who have difficulty attaching to adults because of emotional problems deep-seated in their past.
At a recent preliminary hearing, a 13-year-old boy said he watched Donald Tibbets lie on Krystal and press his fist hard enough into her stomach that her ribs could be seen.