A Casper man is accused of putting an unloaded gun to his wife's head and strangling her.

Appearing in Natrona County District Court Tuesday, 41-year-old Ralph Pickett Jr. pleaded not guilty to felony charges strangulation of a household member and aggravated assault, as well as misdemeanor interference with an emergency call. If convicted of all counts, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

According to court documents, a woman called police Jan. 17 and reported that her husband, identified as Pickett, held a gun to her head.

The woman told officers she had arrived home at 1 a.m. and noticed that there were no batteries in the electronic lock on the home's front door. When she entered the residence, Pickett allegedly shoved her down, put a .38-caliber revolver to her head and repeatedly berated her.

A seven-year-old child told police she heard the victim say, "Don't point a gun at my head."

When the victim screamed at Pickett to not point the gun at her, he allegedly placed his hands over her nose and mouth, preventing her from breathing.

Pickett then showed the victim the gun was unloaded by opening the cylinder. He then closed it and placed it under his chin before pulling the trigger several times.

The victim told police she was afraid to leave the residence because Pickett said he would take the woman's two children and leave for Tennessee.

During the investigation, police learned the victim had tried to call 911 with her cell phone, but Pickett took it from her and broke it over his knee.

As of Tuesday's hearing, Pickett remains free on $50,000 cash bond.

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