Monday, July 15, 2013

Lower Makefield woman invokes 5th Amendment in boyfriend's hearing

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013

Last month a Lower Makefield woman said she thought her boyfriend was going to kill her, police said.
But on Wednesday, she invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself at a preliminary hearing for Michael Haddad, 42, of Burlington, N.J., who is charged with attacking the woman June 16 at her home.

Sara Webster, Haddad’s attorney, said, “Obviously what she told the officers or what is on the 911 tape is not the whole story.”
The woman did not answer specific questions while on the witness stand about what happened that night, but confirmed the statement she gave police at the time was hers. She also claimed that the police officer did not review the statement with her before she signed it.
In that statement, police say the woman claimed that she and Haddad were arguing when he kicked her off the couch and started to strangle her with his hands to the point where she vomited, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Then Haddad held the woman against a wall and placed scissors across her throat and threatened to kill her if she called police, according to the court document. He also disabled all the phones in the house, court records show.
Michael Haddad
“I thought I was gonna die,” the woman told police, according to her statement.
Lower Makefield Cpl. Timothy Reeves, who responded to the disturbance call, testified that when he arrived at the woman’s Sutphin Pines Road home she was crying and had visible red marks around her neck and upper chest.
During the hearing before Morrisville District Judge Michael Burns, prosecutor Tom Gannon played a call to 911 the night of the assault. On the recording, a woman, who identified herself as a victim, sounded out of breath and upset as she relayed her situation to the emergency dispatcher.
She told the operator that she was involved in a domestic dispute with her boyfriend. He was still inside the house, but she was outside. She said her boyfriend had disabled the phones in the house, but her cell phone could still call 911.
“He just kicked me on the floor,” said the woman on the tape. “He choked me and he told me if I called the cops he’d kill me and my kids. He choked me for a while but he let me go.”
The woman asked the operator if she thought the police would arrive quickly. She mentioned several other times during the phone call that Haddad had threatened her life, and that she believed he was intoxicated.
Reeves also testified that, after Haddad was taken into custody, he complained he was not read his Miranda Rights and demanded he be allowed to make a phone call. Haddad was “rambling on, insulting officers,” telling Reeves he’d “be on the tip of my spear.”
“That one just stuck to me,” Reeves said, adding he took the threat seriously.
Following testimony, Burns held Haddad for trial on charges of simple assault, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person, but dismissed the most serious charges, the two felony counts of aggravated assault. Haddad remains free after posting 10 percent of his $15,000 bail.
After the hearing, the woman’s attorney, who also attended the hearing, declined comment on why she invoked the Fifth Amendment.

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