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Former NJ pastor ordered to stand trial in Kansas baby-choking incident

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Oleh Zhownirovych, 54, faces charges for choking a baby. (JOHNSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

OLATHE, Kan. — A former pastor from New Jersey has been ordered to stand trial on charges that he tried to choke an infant girl he didn’t know at a Kansas City-area Wal-Mart.

The Kansas City Star reports a judge in Kansas’ Johnson County ordered 54-year-old Oleh Zhownirovych to be tried on charges of aggravated battery, aggravated kidnapping and battery for the October 2016 incident.

Monquisha Hill testified Thursday she was in the checkout line last October with her then-4-month-old daughter in a car seat in a cart when a man she didn’t know took the infant from her cart and began choking her. People in the store helped the woman and held the man until officers arrived.

Police said Zhownirovych appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

The baby wasn’t injured during the incident.

A May 22 trial is set for Zhownirovych, of Clifton, New Jersey.

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