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A Natrona County man was already awaiting trial on an allegation that he battered a woman when he again brutally beat her, dragging her through cacti and kicking her in the head with steel-toed boots, prosecutors say.

The woman survived. After she was flown to a hospital, staff determined she had a partially deflated lung and broken rib, according to court documents filed in the latest criminal case against 33-year-old Matthew R. Drengenberg. He faces three additional felonies: two counts of aggravated assault and a single count of strangulation.

On Wednesday afternoon, a circuit court judge ordered Drengenberg held in lieu of $50,000 cash-only bail. He remained in jail Thursday morning, according to sheriff’s office records.

Documents drafted by a sheriff’s investigator and filed by prosecutors to support the latest charges state that the case first came to the attention of law enforcement on Tuesday afternoon. That’s when a dispatcher received a call from a woman who said her boyfriend had beat her up, the documents state. About a minute into the call, the dispatcher heard the phone drop to the ground and the woman began screaming, according to the documents.

The call then went silent.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived about 20 minutes later at the location of the call, where they found a woman severely injured, the documents state. She identified Drengenberg as her assailant before she was put on a helicopter and flown to a local hospital, according to the documents.

Doctors at Wyoming Medical Center diagnosed her with a broken rib and deflation of her left lung, the documents state. She had blood on her face, scrape marks on her legs and arms and her eye was swollen shut, according to the documents.

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In an interview with a sheriff’s investigator, the woman said Drengenberg began beating her after she said she would leave him, according to the documents. She said he threw her to the ground and then dragged her through cacti. He kicked her in the stomach and face, the documents state she told the investigator. He grabbed her by the throat and held her face-down in the sand, according to the documents.

As he dragged her through the cacti, Drengenberg told the woman he would kill her, the documents state she told law enforcement.

She said he kicked her 50 times in the head, chest and stomach, according to the documents.

Tuesday evening, law enforcement caught up with Drengenberg in central Casper. The documents state Drengenberg was wearing steel-toed boots and smelled of alcohol. He declined to speak to law enforcement.

When told why he was being arrested, Drengenberg pretended not to know who the woman was, the documents state. An investigator showed Drengenberg a photo of the woman.

“Who’s that,” the suspect responded, according to the documents.

Casper police arrested Drengenberg in April on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery against the same woman. The April case remains open in Natrona County Circuit Court, where he has pleaded not guilty.

The misdemeanor case alleges a similar criminal method: prosecutors’ documents state Drengenberg threw the woman to the ground, breaking her glasses and kicking her. His trial date has been set for mid-September.

It is not yet clear if the new set of allegations will affect the misdemeanor trial date. Prosecutors have cited the new charges and a no-contact order in asking a judge to revoke his bond. The judge’s decision on the bond request is not likely to determine his freedom: the $1,500 misdemeanor bond requirement is dwarfed by his new cash-only bail.

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Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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