CPD: Man spotted strangling woman on the ground

The City of Cortland Police Department (Photo: Provided)

City police arrested a man Monday afternoon for strangling a woman on the ground until she was unconscious near Orchard Street, according to the department.

Officers arrested Michael A. Buchalla II, 34, of 200 Port Watson St. after they witnessed him strangling the 38-year-old woman in broad daylight while straddling her as she lay on the outside on the ground, said Lt. Michael Strangeway.

Police were called about 12:30 p.m. to respond to a physical disturbance in the area of Orchard Street, Strangeway said. When police arrived, Buchalla fled, he said.

Officers searched for Buchalla during the afternoon and obtained a warrant for his arrest, Strangeway said. About three hours later, police found him at 184 Main Street and arrested him without incident, he said.

Investigators determined Buchalla strangled the woman until she lost consciousness temporarily, Strangeway said. The woman knew Buchalla and identified him as her attacker, he said.

The 38-year-old was taken to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center where she received medical treatment for minor injuries and was released, Strangeway said.

Buchalla was charged with two felonies — second-degree strangulation and aggravated family offense — as well as false personation and obstruction of governmental administration, misdemeanors. Police also charged Buchalla with second-degree harassment, a violation.

The Cortland Voice archives reveal Buchalla was twice previously arrested — in 2016 and 2017. State police arrested him in 2016 for following a woman into a Cortlandville parking lot, pulling her hair and stealing her car keys, all in violation of an order of protection against him. In 2017, Buchalla fled from officers as he drove through Cortlandville and Homer to his Lake Como Road, Cayuga County home, according to police. There was a disturbance at Buchalla’s home earlier that day and officers were looking for Buchalla when he fled, according to the archives.

It takes very little pressure — about the pressure required to polish a car — to cut off major blood vessels in the neck, according to a November 2014 article in the American Journal of Public Health. It also takes just seconds to cause unconsciousness and just minutes to cause death, according to authors Dr. Susan B. Sorenson, Dr. Manisha Joshi and Elizabeth Sivitz. “Consciousness is lost in 10 to 15 seconds, and death can occur within 3 to 5 minutes,” the authors noted.

Buchalla was arraigned and sent to the Cortland County Jail without bail. His next court appearance is at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16.