Victim: Husband punched, dragged her by throat

Man tells detective ‘other me’ attacked wife

Rommel Bautista

WAILUKU — After being punched, kicked and dragged by her throat, a woman said she was lying on the bathroom floor while her husband held a toilet tank cover and pointed it at her face.

While Rommel Bautista stood over her, Anna Liza Bautista testified she had her hands crossed to try to cover her face. “I was so scared at the time because I was thinking that that could be the last days of my life,” she said.

Her words were translated by a Tagalog interpreter during a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Wailuku District Court for Rommel Bautista, 41, of Kahului.

The hearing concluded Thursday with Judge Kirstin Hamman ruling there was sufficient evidence to support charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, first-degree terroristic threatening and three counts of felony abuse against Bautista.

He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

During testimony Wednesday, his wife said Rommel Bautista had been drinking tequila and was lying on an air mattress in the living room of their house on Kuualoha Street after 9 p.m. July 22 when she heard him yell, “You’re a whore.”

When she asked why he said that, he didn’t respond. She said she had turned away when “all of a sudden,” he was by her side and punched her in the forehead and slapped the left side of her face.

He said, “Isn’t this what you like? You want to see the real me?” she testified.

She said she could barely breathe as he pressed against her neck.

She said she grabbed a vacuum cleaner to try to hit Bautista before he pulled and grabbed her by the throat into the bathroom.

She was lying on the floor and trying to use her legs to push him away as he stood and said, “This is your time to die. I will kill you now,” she said.

“I was really so scared, but I have to think that I have to get out of this for the sake of my children,” she said.

He kicked her in her chest and ribs, she said, while she begged for her life.

At one point, Bautista told her, “Better tell me now the names of the guys that you had relationships with. Give me their names one by one,” she said.

She said Bautista was holding the toilet tank cover vertically and was about to use it to hit her face when she heard her father-in-law telling her husband to stop. Her father-in-law was outside and talking to her husband through a window in the bathroom, she said.

She heard Bautista tell his father, “No, I’m going to kill this woman right now.”

The front and back doors to the house were locked when Bautista’s father tried to get in, she said.

Bautista left the bathroom and had opened the door and was talking to his father when his wife said she went upstairs to get her cellphone, then called to her 6-year-old son, who was in the living room.

“He was scared,” she said. “He was asking me, ‘Mom, what’s happening?’ ”

Mother and son left the house while Bautista was talking to his father.

“We both run away with no slippers,” she said.

At Maui Memorial Medical Center, Anna Liza Bautista said a tube was inserted into her side to remove air from her lungs. She was hospitalized until Saturday afternoon, she said.

Officer Ashley Gandauli, who is assigned to the police Domestic Violence Unit, testified Thursday that a report by the emergency room doctor who treated Bautista said she suffered a collapsed right lung and fractures to three right ribs, as well as bruises to her face and both lower legs.

Gandauli said the doctor’s report indicated that the collapsed lung could lead to respiratory arrest and death.

Detective Mark Hada, who testified Wednesday, interviewed Rommel Bautista shortly after 1 p.m. July 23 at the Wailuku Police Station. Bautista acknowledged what happened “all the way up until the point where the actual attack started,” Hada said.

He said Bautista reported he had been sleeping on an air mattress in the living room after drinking tequila when “his wife came down and screamed at him, which he explained was an everyday occurrence.”

Bautista said he was irritated from being woken up and “got up, used his hand to put over her mouth to shut her up,” Hada said.

He said Bautista reported he was going to the kitchen to get a glass of water when she threw a vacuum cleaner at him, which he blocked.

After that, Bautista said he blacked out “until he heard the voice of his dad yelling at him to stop from outside the window,” Hada said.

“He came to in the bathroom, standing over his wife,” Hada said.

When the detective asked if it was possible that Bautista had punched or hit his wife, he said it was possible, Hada said.

“But he kept referring to the ‘other me,’ ” Hada said. “He said he blacked out and ‘the other me is the one that attacked Anna Liza.’ ”

Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Miyashiro said the testimony showed that Bautista’s actions “escalated to the point that he was going to kill her, finish her off.”

In arguing against the attempted murder charge, Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae said Bautista didn’t touch his wife with the porcelain toilet tank cover.

“She was tragically defenseless on the ground,” Raidmae said. “Nothing prevented him from finishing the murder, and he didn’t.”

Judge Hamman found probable cause for the attempted murder charge, as well as the other charges, based on the testimony.

Bautista is set to be arraigned Aug. 12 in 2nd Circuit Court.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today