By Mianna Muscat
SACRAMENTO, CA — A pregnant alleged domestic violence victim admitted to police she pulled a knife on her husband, but only because he was beating her and endangering another child, according to testimony here last week in Sacramento County Superior Court.
Steven Smith appeared for a preliminary hearing, charged with a felony complaint of domestic abuse while driving with his pregnant wife and four-year-old daughter.
Sacramento Police Officer Christopher Cairns testified that on Nov. 3, 2020, he found Smith’s wife in the car, beaten with visible injuries, and near her shaken daughter in the back seat.
That morning, according to the officer’s report, the wife drove to pick up Smith with their daughter from an apartment complex. They got into a verbal dispute during the commute because Smith wanted to drive her car. When she refused, Smith allegedly began pushing her face with an open palm while she was driving.
Eventually they switched positions and Smith became the driver. Officer Cairns said the victim reported they continued to argue during the drive, and Smith became more aggressive. He pushed his pregnant wife and pulled her by the hair.
Smith, according to the officer’s report, grabbed a bottle of alcohol and poured all of it over his wife’s head. Then Smith repeatedly struck her on the head with the empty glass bottle.
While glass shattered around her face, his wife fought back, kicking him in self-defense. Smith allegedly began biting her foot and lower shin.
Smith put the car into park, said his wife, and reached back to remove his daughter from the vehicle. He violently grabbed and pulled his daughter, who was strapped in the back without a child seat.
Fearful for her child’s safety, the wife admitted she pulled out a yellow knife. Smith released his daughter, removed the key from the ignition, and ran away into a nearby apartment complex. This was not the first instance of domestic abuse between the couple, the victim said.
After providing testimony on the evidence supporting the domestic abuse charge against Smith, Officer Cairns said he observed several markings on the victim’s body, including a lump on her head, bite marks on her foot and shin, two lacerations above her right hand, and swelling above her left eye. Cairns also recalled the shattered glass around the passenger seat from the empty bottle.
During cross-examination by Assistant Public Defender Courtney Zane, there appeared to be some missing details from the officer’s report, and Officer Cairns admitted that there were facts he recalled in court that were not documented in his police report.
Smith pleaded not guilty to his domestic abuse charge, and the court continued the matter to a later date.
Mianna is a senior at UC Davis studying English Literature and Japanese. She loves reading, archery, playing the guitar, and singing.
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