A Gladewater man has been sentenced to life in prison for strangulation as a habitual offender, the Upshur County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Joshua David Verhoef, 38, was arrested Aug. 20 on a charge of assault family violence — strangulation. The charge was later enhanced because of a previous conviction of family violence and previous felonies classifying him as a habitual offender.

In total, Verhoef had 23 prior criminal convictions, and the DA’s office filed to enhance the assault charge punishment to 25 years to life.

A jury convicted Verhoef and granted the life sentence.

“We appreciate the hard work of our Upshur County citizens and are thankful that the victim and many others are now safe from his violence,” Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said in a statement.

On Aug. 20, Upshur County deputies responded to a 911 call in the Union Grove area. According to court records, Verhoef struck a woman and strangled her multiple times in her home. The woman was able to flee to a neighbor’s home and called for help.

“Upon deputies arriving, they met the victim, and she was clearly upset crying and had visible signs of multiple injuries to her body,” Byrd said. The woman also told deputies that Verhoef was on methamphetamine.

When deputies tried to speak with Verhoef, he had locked himself inside the home and refused to come out.

“After over an hour of trying to get him to comply, officers knocked the glass out of the back door and entered the residence and took the defendant into custody,” Byrd said.

Verhoef previously was convicted of assault family violence against his mother and four other felonies over the past four years. He was on parole at the time of the August incident and had been arrested just a week prior on a possession of methamphetamine charge in Gregg County.

In 2017, Verhoef was arrested after leading Longview police on a low-speed chase and charged with driving while intoxicated third or more offense, evading arrest or detention with a vehicle and resisting arrest, search or transportation.