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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Child-beating defendant charged with witness abuse

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A 32-year-old Waikiki man who is charged with beating his 6-month-old son last April was indicted by the O'ahu grand jury yesterday on additional charges that he threatened and abused a key prosecution witness in his case.

Anthony Chatman was arrested Monday at his residence after a woman said a man tried to coerce her into not testifying at the upcoming trial.

Advertiser library photo • Oct. 21, 1995

Anthony Chatman was indicted on one count each of bribing a witness, intimidating a witness, extortion and abuse of a household member. He was being held on $500,000 bail.

Chatman is accused of attempting to intimidate his former girlfriend, Asahi Suzuki, into not testifying at his upcoming trial, according to an affidavit filed in Circuit Court by Honolulu police detective Paul Nagata. Chatman is charged with second-degree attempted murder in the severe beating of the couple's son, Tyson Suzuki, in April. His trial is set for March.

Tyson Suzuki suffered brain damage and bruises over his eye, chest, ear and face, after being beaten in a Waikiki hotel room April 7. At Chatman's preliminary hearing in April, Asahi Suzuki testified that Chatman threw their son on a bed, pushed his face into the bed and hit him.

Suzuki also testified that Chatman struck the infant on his side and put his fingers in the child's mouth and that she feared that Tyson could not breathe.

A District Court judge ordered Chatman to stand trial, but he was allowed to remain free on $50,000 bail.

But according to Nagata's affidavit, Chatman forced Suzuki on Oct. 20 to write a letter saying she had lied to police about the attempted-murder case. Suzuki told Nagata that she wrote the letter that Chatman dictated after he punched her on the head, pulled her hair and shook her violently.

Suzuki said Chatman also tried to persuade her to move back to Japan so he could avoid prosecution, the affidavit said. She told police that the threats occurred after she voluntarily agreed to stay with Chatman from Sept. 3 to Oct. 20, the affidavit said.

On Oct. 21, Chatman called police to say Suzuki had violated a temporary restraining order he obtained against her by calling him and sending him a letter written in Japanese, according to the affidavit. Chatman presented police with a photocopy of the letter, which stated that Suzuki had lied to police.

Police later obtained the original letter, which Chatman gave to a friend and told him to "hold on to the letter, just in case something happened to him," the affidavit said. Nagata said the letter contained similar information that Suzuki said she was forced to write.

Chatman was arrested Monday at his Waikiki apartment. He will be arraigned on the new charges at a later date.

This is the second case of abuse involving a child of Chatman's. In 1995, his 4-month-old daughter suffered brain damage as a result of shaken baby syndrome. Chatman implicated the girl's babysitter, who was charged with first-degree assault. But the charge was dropped at a preliminary hearing after medical evidence indicated that the woman, a Japanese national, did not commit the crime. Although authorities turned their attention to Chatman and his wife, no other charges were filed in that case.