REDWOOD CITY -- The wife of a San Francisco Japanese Consulate official decided to call police after 18 months of her husband's violent abuse because she thought he was going to kill her, she testified Tuesday.
Yuka Nagaya said the final attack came when her husband, Vice Consul Yoshiaki Nagaya, tore her from a car, causing her to slam her head on a concrete floor at their San Bruno apartment parking garage. It was March 31, and after being punched, kicked, slapped and even stabbed with a screwdriver since January 2011, she called police.
"My husband's violence had been intensifying; that made me feel in danger of death," she said through an interpreter. "Probably I would have been killed by my husband."
But her flow of testimony during the second day of a preliminary hearing on the evidence against her husband in San Mateo County Superior Court abruptly stopped late in the day Tuesday. During cross examination from defense attorney Garrick Lew, she repeatedly said she didn't remember or didn't know such basic details as whether she had touched her husband's iPhone.
"He only wants to know if you picked up the phone. Yes or no?" asked Judge Lisa Novak.
"I don't remember," Yuka Nagaya said.
During a half-day of questioning Monday and Tuesday from deputy district attorney Tricia Povah, Nagaya relayed exact and detailed explanations of alleged episodes of abuse going back to the start of last year. She was guided by photos she took
Her testimony is expected to resume Friday morning in the hearing that will decide whether her husband faces trial on 14 counts of domestic violence and three charges of assault. He's pleaded not guilty to the incidents that she said started at their San Francisco apartment in January 2011 and continued when they moved to San Bruno.
Yuka's Nagaya's recounting Tuesday of the alleged abuse was as calm and methodical as Monday's. She described a familiar pattern of arguments with her husband about domestic issues, such as her disturbing his sleep, that she said escalated into violent struggles. In one of at least five episodes, she said Tuesday, she ran from their apartment in the middle of the night after being choked, punched and kicked.
"I stormed out," she said. "But I was on the fifth floor so I just stayed there crying."
She also described a beating she said left her unable to get up from the floor for at least five hours and another that left her with a loose tooth. Yet she sometimes chased after her husband during the fights and blocked his exit following the alleged attacks, she testified.
She sometimes taunted him with the name of one his female co-workers at the consulate. Yuka Nagaya has testified she believed her husband was having an affair with the woman. Her suspicions were stirred by photos of the colleague in her husband's iPhone and his late working hours.
Testimony was briefly interrupted Tuesday when the judge spotted a digital voice recorder perched on the witness stand in front of Yuka Nagaya. It's strictly forbidden to record court proceedings without permission, the judge reminded her.
Nagaya later said she had also recorded the first day of the hearing and shared it with her attorney, Junji Suzuki, who is representing her in the lawsuit she's filed against her husband. In an email to this newspaper Suzuki said he didn't tell his client to record the hearing.
Yoshiaki Nagaya remains out of custody on $350,000 bail.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.