Maui News

Jury Finds Woman Guilty of Assaulting 15-Month Child on Flight

December 8, 2015, 2:51 PM HST
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A federal jury today found Samantha Watanabe, 37, of Oʻahu, guilty of assaulting her 15-month old child while aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Honolulu on March 3, 2015.

Jury deliberations began on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, and Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang presided over the three-day trial.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaiʻi, said that according to evidence presented in court, Watanabe was alleged to have “repeatedly hit her child in the face with a stuffed doll, causing her child’s head to snap back through its full range of motion.”

In citing evidence presented in court, Nakakuni noted that: “She hit her child’s face with an open hand. And she slapped the child’s arm with unusual force, among other acts. Passengers and flight attendants testified that they did not observe the child do anything to warrant that treatment.”

Watanabe faces up to one year imprisonment when she is sentenced on March 15, 2016.

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The investigation resulting in this prosecution was conducted by Special Agents Jeffrey S. Koch and Thomas R. Logeman, Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Marc A. Wallenstein and Thomas J. Brady conducted the prosecution.

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