Handbook of Domestic Violence Intervention Strategies: Policies, Programs, and Legal Remedies

By Albert R. Roberts | Go to book overview

11
Preparing for Expert Testimony
in Domestic Violence Cases
EVAN STARK

On a December evening, a distraught woman gave police in Torrington, Connecticut, a signed description of abuse by her husband, Anthony Borrelli. The statement read in part:

… about 3 am. We went to bed and he began to accuse me of cheating on him. He started cutting up my clothes, underwear and things with his knife…cutupmy license and social security card because they have my maiden name on them…he said he was going to tie me up and I said not to. He took a pillow and put it over my face. I couldn't breathe. I gasped for air. He let me go and took a rope and tied my hands and feet together behind my back. It hurt. He kept putting the knife on my mouth and chest while he sat on my chest and put his knees on my arms. He said he was going to kill me. He cut the top of my lip and the bottom of my lip…. He kept saying he was going to kill me and my family, my two daughters and two sons. He got up, said it didn't matter if he went to jail—no matter how long he was in jail he would get out and kill us. He also put a lighter near my genital area…hehadalit cigarette which he threw on the bed. It landed next to me. I thought the bed sheets would catch on fire. He then said “I missed you, ” picked up the cigarette and put it on my chest. (State v. Borrelli, 1993, pp. 88–89)

Mr. Borrelli was charged with kidnapping, assault, criminal mischief, unlawful restraint, and threatening. At the jury trial, Mrs. Borrelli surprised the prosecution by testifying that her husband had not committed the acts

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