By Sonam Hundal and Hannah Adams
SANTA BARBARA, CA — Judge Brian Hill said here this week in Santa Barbara County Superior Court that video evidence of a scrap between a couple showed “violence” on the part of Ayako Muraoka, but also some culpability of the victim—he later proposed reducing charges against Muraoka.
Muraoka is accused of physically abusing her husband after the couple had an argument over a spilled bowl of rice. Things escalated when the alleged victim began recording the defendant. Allegedly, she asked him to stop, and when he didn’t, she became violent.
Upon reviewing the evidence, the judge declared that the video “shows a fair amount of violence” on behalf of Muraoka, while also stating that there was “some provocation on the part of the victim” as well. He added “she’s (Muraoka) clearly overreacting” and displayed “fairly sustained anger.”
Although the victim suffered light scratches to his neck and left arm, he told the court he “is not interested in prosecution.”
And, interestingly, it was revealed that Muraoka called law enforcement to the couple’s home, not the victim.
While Muraoka’s attorney argued that the video and the physical marks on the victim were “superficial,” Dalia Granados, the prosecutor for this case, noted the video is very incriminating.
Because Muraoka is an immigrant, the issue of immigration was discussed in court. Muraoka is a legal permanent resident of the United States, so it was declared that there is no active threat of deportation.
Judge Hill proposed a lesser charge upon consideration of the fact Muraoka is a married mother of two young children and has been going to therapy sessions since April 30, on her own and with the alleged victim.
Muraoka is set to return to court on Dec. 15 to finalize the new, formal charges against her.