Mother of beaten baby
blames fear for inaction
A Japanese national says she prayed
for the Waikiki man to stop the abuse
A Japanese national says she didn't try to stop Anthony Chatman from hurting their 6-month-old boy, who suffered severe brain damage in April 2002, because she didn't think she could and didn't want to anger him further.
Asahi Suzuki, 35, sobbed quietly on the stand yesterday as she described two consecutive nights when Chatman turned on their son, Taison, because he wouldn't stop crying.
"I prayed that Taison would go to sleep. I prayed that he would go to sleep so Anthony don't do any bad things to him anymore," said Suzuki, through Miho May, an interpreter.
Chatman, 33, of Waikiki, is on trial in Circuit Court for attempted second-degree murder for allegedly causing his son's injuries. He is also charged with later bribing, extorting and abusing Suzuki, allegedly to intimidate her into recanting her statements to police blaming him for the child's injuries.
Chatman's defense has suggested the mother is responsible for the baby's injuries and for not seeking proper medical care. The abuse allegedly occurred April 6-7 at a room at the Ambassador Hotel.
Suzuki said that on both occasions, the baby was either fussy or crying. The first night, when Taison continued to cry, Chatman told the baby, "Shut your mouth," in a low and intimidating voice, she said.
When the baby cried even harder, Chatman put his thumb under the infant's chin and pushed it upward, saying, "No, Taison."
She said Chatman then abruptly flipped the baby face down onto the hotel bed and held him down for a short while before flipping him back up again.
When asked why she didn't do anything to stop Chatman, Suzuki said, "Because I thought it would be better if I don't say anything so he wouldn't escalate.
"All I could think of was I was scared," she said.
She said the same thing happened the next night.
Chatman also told her to watch and that "mothers should be near their babies," she said.
Unable to watch any longer, she said, she fled to the balcony this time, covering her ears and praying. But when she heard what appeared to be a banging noise, she peeked back inside the room and saw Chatman strike Taison at least once on the abdomen.
Suzuki tried to leave for Japan with the baby the next morning but airport employees refused to let them board after noting Taison's condition.