By Evan Chu and Simran Bhatt
The defendant in a domestic violence case, Antwain Howard, will need to answer to charges of domestic violence after the court heard about the defendant’s previous domestic violence records.
According to the alleged victim, the first witness for the People, the defendant became upset after seeing text messages pop-up on her phone while she was in the bathroom. Mr. Howard allegedly immediately accused her of cheating without seeing the messages. She stated that she tried to show the defendant that the messages were from Netflix, but she claimed that the defendant wouldn’t look, saying that she had deleted the messages that were proof of her cheating actions.
The victim stated that after the defendant left the bathroom, she caught up with him in the living room and accused him of cheating. She believed the reason his accusations of her cheating came from his cheating on her. After that, she said the defendant pushed her back into the bathroom with his chest and trapped her there. She recalled pushing him in the chest to get away and told him to leave her house, to which the defendant responded by threatening to call the police.
After leaving for a cigarette for approximately 20 minutes, she returned and allegedly saw him bringing his stuff outside. When she was about to close the door, the defendant allegedly had a foot still inside and pushed the door backward, causing her to fall. She stated that the defendant then grabbed her by her hair, threw her to the ground, and slammed the door shut before standing on top of her and slightly choking her.
The victim testified that she observed signs of redness on parts of her body, including the shoulders and around her neck. A couple of days later, she said that the redness turned into bruises.
During cross-examination, Deputy Public Defender James Bradford, representing Mr. Howard, asked about the alleged victim’s ongoing smoking of methamphetamine, to which the witness admitted to smoking earlier the day of the incident. Mr. Bradford also inquired whether the witness was seeing someone else at the time she reconnected with the defendant, since this was the second time the victim dated the defendant. The alleged victim also stated she only pushed the defendant once and then tried to throw a punch on him when he strangled her, but she wasn’t sure if that punch made any contact to the defendant.
Later on, the alleged victim said that she has been smoking since the age of 23. Both she and the defendant had smoked earlier on the day of the incident. She testified that she had “a couple hits” that day at around 9 a.m., which was three to four hours prior to the time of the incident.
Officer Alma Rosas, a responding officer to the alleged victim’s report of domestic violence on Sept. 5, also testified. The officer wasn’t able to have any interaction with the Mr. Howard but did notice a scratch on the defendant’s cheek a couple of days later when she saw his photo. Furthermore, a small clump of the victim’s hair was left on the coffee table. During the officer’s interview with the victim, she noticed redness on the victim’s chest, neck, and ear, but, according to her testimony, the alleged victim didn’t have any complaints regarding the pain to her neck or her head, and she was not aware of the alleged victim mentioning anything about the use of methamphetamine earlier that day.
Officer Rosas also stated that the victim was clear-headed even though she and the defendant allegedly had both consumed methamphetamine earlier that day. On Sept. 25, photographic evidence taken by the victim, was submitted to the officer through the department’s text messages, but no timestamp was provided.
Mr. Bradford argued that, according to the alleged victim’s testimony, this was the first incident in which Mr. Howard showed any signs of being physically violent. Considering the fact that the victim was indeed seeing someone else before reconnecting and dating the defendant again, it should be reasonable that the defendant had a concern about cheating and that this action shouldn’t be charged as a felony. In response, Deputy DA Amanda Zambor pointed out there had been several previous felony charges related to domestic violence in the defendant’s records, the most recent one being in 2014. There are also several violations of probation throughout the years. Due to these previous records, she argued that the defendant should have a clear understanding of domestic violence.
After considering the defendant’s prior felonies and events that lead to the injuries, the judge decided to have the defendant answer to this incident as a felony charge. The defendant’s arraignment will proceed on October 22 at 8:30 am.