Waikiki man gets
life term for injuries
to infant in 2002

A 33-year-old Waikiki man convicted of shaking and striking his 6-month-old son, causing him permanent brain damage, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison with the possibility of parole.


Anthony Chatman: He was accused of similar child abuse during his previous marriage in '94

Anthony Chatman, convicted of second-degree attempted murder a year ago, must serve a mandatory minimum of 15 years before he can seek parole because his son was under 8 years old.

After he serves the life term, Chatman also must serve three concurrent five-year terms for bribing, intimidating and extorting the baby's mother, Asahi Suzuki, into recanting statements she made to police blaming Chatman for the infant's injuries.

Deputy Prosecutor Dan Oyasato had argued that an extended sentence was appropriate because Chatman not only harmed his son, but tried to obstruct justice by getting the key witness, Suzuki, to abscond so he would not be prosecuted.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn denied the state's request to extend Chatman's sentence to life without parole but ordered the consecutive terms, saying she felt he has a violent streak.

"I believe you have a great deal of anger," she said after the soft-spoken Chatman gave a lengthy statement apologizing to his son, Taison Suzuki.

"You are a danger to children and a danger to society, and a consecutive term is necessary for just punishment and to protect the public," Ahn said.

Ahn noted that the child is now functioning with less than a full brain. "Half of his brain is now dead because of the severe shaking imposed by Mr. Chatman," she said.

At trial, Chatman testified he did nothing to harm the infant, which he also suggested was not his. The defense argued that the baby's mother was to blame for his injuries and for not seeking proper medical care.

Suzuki, a Japanese national who met Chatman during a visit here, testified that she saw Chatman flip the infant down on the bed at their Waikiki hotel room several times on April 8, 2002, pressing his face down into the bed and striking him in the abdomen at least once because he would not stop crying.

Suzuki said she did not do anything to stop Chatman because she did not think she could and did not want to anger him more.

In sentencing Chatman, Ahn said she did not consider allegations made in 1994 that Chatman had shaken his 4-month-old daughter from a previous marriage to a Japanese national, also causing severe brain injury.

Chatman was not charged in that case, but had accused a baby sitter of causing the infant's severe brain injury, paralysis and multiple leg fractures. The case against the baby sitter was dismissed, and she later returned to Japan. No one has been charged in that case.


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