Scott Ignatius Agathluk has been found not guilty of assault in the fourth degree.
Agathluk, age 28, was accused of choking and bruising the mother of his child in April. In a Bethel courtroom on Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Martin Fisher claimed that Agathluk visited the alleged victim’s home at night, and trapped her in her bedroom when she told him to get out.
“A reasonable person doesn’t hurt somebody just because they’re asked to leave,” Fisher said in his opening argument. The prosecution showed the jury photographs of the alleged victim’s injuries and selections from her medical records.
Agathluk’s attorneys told a more complicated story. “So much of our relationships with the people we love are under the surface, like an iceberg,” Assistant Public Defender Terrence Haas told the jury in his opening statement. “You’re going to see jealousy. You’re going to see anger.”
According to Haas and his co-counsel, Assistant Public Defender Mitha Nandagopalan, Agathluk and his alleged victim were no longer a couple and Agathluk had started seeing someone else. They claimed that on the night of the incident, the alleged victim saw a hickey on Agathluk’s neck and flew into a rage, smacking Agathluk’s glasses off his face and ripping his shirt off. A witness for the defense testified that Agathluk was visibly injured by the encounter. If Agathluk did bruise the victim, Haas and Nandagopalan argued, it was only in the course of defending himself.
The alleged victim was three months pregnant at the time of the incident. In his closing argument on Wednesday, Assistant DA Fisher mentioned that the two are now back together. The seven jurors in the case deliberated for several hours before acquitting Agathluk of all charges.