May 21, 2019.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from Superior Court in the judicial district of Fairfield and
tried to the jury before Kavanewsky, J.
Osedach, assistant public defender, for the appellant
Timothy F. Costello, assistant state's attorney, with
whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's
attorney, and Marc R. Durso, senior assistant state's
attorney, for the appellee (state).
Judges: DiPentima, C. J., and Keller and Noble, Js. KELLER,
J. In this opinion the other judges concurred.
Conn.App. 355] KELLER, J.
defendant, James Henry Watson, appeals from the judgment of
conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of assault in
the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61
(a) (1), unlawful restraint in the first degree in violation
of General Statutes § 53a-95 (a), strangulation in the second
degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) §
53a-64bb (a), and threatening in the second
degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-62 (a) (1). The
defendant claims that the trial court (1) improperly
determined whether the charges of assault in the third degree
and unlawful restraint in the first degree were " upon
the [192 Conn.App. 356] same incident" as the charge of
strangulation in the second degree for the purposes of §
53a-64bb (b); (2) violated § 53a-64bb (b) and his right to be
free from double jeopardy when it punished him for assault in
the third degree, unlawful restraint in the first degree and
strangulation in the second degree; and (3) violated his
right to confrontation when it restricted his
cross-examination of the victim. We disagree and,
accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.
basis of the evidence presented at trial, the jury reasonably
could have found the following facts. On October 19, 2016, at
approximately 3 p.m., the defendant and the victim were
" hanging out" and drinking beer on the front porch
of an apartment building at 850 Hancock Avenue in Bridgeport
wherein the defendant resided. The victim stated that she
needed to use the bathroom, and the defendant stated that she
could use the bathroom in his apartment. The defendant
accompanied the victim to his apartment, which was on the
second floor of the building, and the
victim went into the bathroom. When the victim tried to exit
the bathroom, the defendant blocked the door and stated,
" I'm going to get some of your fucking pussy."
defendant ultimately allowed the victim to leave the
bathroom, but he then blocked the victim's access to the
front door, forcing the victim into the living room. The
defendant closed the curtains in the living room and
increased the volume on the radio that was playing. The
victim later testified that she did not try to leave the
apartment at this point because there was a " certain
way" to open the front door, and she did not know how to
defendant then grabbed the victim and pushed her onto the
couch in the living room while stating that he " wanted
to get [the victim's] pussy." The victim attempted
to push the defendant off of her, but the [192 Conn.App. 357]
defendant held her down on the couch and began to rip off her
pants and underwear. The defendant also punched and hit the
victim in the face.
Additionally, the defendant continually choked the victim and
hit her in the face. Periodically, the choking would cause
the victim to have difficulty breathing. Whenever this
happened, the victim would kick her feet at the defendant,
and the defendant would briefly let go of her throat.
Thereafter, the defendant would resume choking her. At one
point during this episode, the defendant stated " I want
to kill you" and " I know I'm going to pay for
this." The victim asked the defendant to return her cell
phones, which he had taken from her
prior to the first episode where he attacked her, so that she
could call her son. The defendant did not return the
victim's cell phones to her and continued to hit her
repeatedly. In an attempt to resist the defendant, the victim
bit his pinky finger. The victim also tried to run toward the
door in order to escape from the apartment, but the defendant
prevented her from doing so by grabbing the hood of the
sweatshirt she was wearing.
attacking the victim in the living room, the defendant
brought her into his bedroom, threw her onto the bed, and
commenced a second attack, continuing to hit and choke her.
The defendant also ripped the victim's T-shirt off of her
body and used it to choke her. Throughout this second
episode, the defendant stated repeatedly that he wanted to
kill the victim.
defendant then took the victim back into the living room and
threw her onto a different couch than he had thrown her onto
earlier. During this third attack, [192 Conn.App. 358] the
defendant " beat [the victim] some more" and choked
her. Sometime thereafter, the defendant stopped attacking the
victim. Even after the defendant stopped attacking the
victim, he would not allow her to leave the apartment.
Sometime in the early morning, on October 20, 2016, the
victim was able to convince the defendant to allow her to
leave the apartment by begging him to let her go to the store
to purchase a drink and promising that she would return to
the apartment afterward. The defendant accompanied the victim
outside of the apartment building, but she was able to run
away from him.
victim ran to a nearby gas station, where she asked an
employee if she could use the phone to call the police
because she had just been raped. The employee did not allow
the victim to use the phone, so the victim left the gas
station and continued walking down the street away from the
defendant's apartment. While she was walking down the
street, the victim saw an ambulance driving toward her. She
waved down the ambulance and told the paramedics in the
vehicle that she had been raped. One of the paramedics
observed that the victim " had an abrasion of
approximately four inches [on] the neck," as well as
abrasions and swelling on her left eye and left ear.
paramedics parked the ambulance at the intersection of
Fairfield Avenue and Norman Street in Bridgeport and
contacted the police. The police arrived at approximately
2:30 a.m. and spoke with the victim. One of the police
officers observed that the victim " had some red marks
around her neck and some bruising to the face." The
victim directed the police to 850 Hancock Street and informed
them that the assault had occurred in an apartment on the
second floor of the building. The police entered the building
and spoke with the defendant in his apartment. The defendant
admitted [192 Conn.App. 359] that he and the victim had
sexual intercourse but claimed that it had been consensual.
While the police were in the defendant's apartment, they
noticed a pair of ripped women's underwear in the garbage
can and took possession of them for evidentiary purposes. The
police also asked the defendant whether he had in his
possession the victim's cell phones and charging cord,
because she had stated that they were " missing."
The defendant gave the police the victim's cell phones
police then brought the defendant down to the front of the
building, where the victim was waiting. The victim identified
the defendant as the individual who had ...