Frank Brauns, 43, denies hammering and stabbing his wife after an argument two weeks ago in Escondido. On October 7, he was listening to testimony against him at a preliminary hearing in San Diego Superior Court.
A witness identified as Kim reported that she rented a room in a home in Escondido four months ago, last June. She testified that one morning two weeks ago she was awakened by a man’s voice yelling, “Where’s my effing son?” And then she heard a woman’s “blood-curdling scream.”
Kim said she believed she heard a confrontation between her roommate Jordanna and a man she knew as that woman’s husband, named Frank.
The witness said that Frank instructed her, “Don’t get involved,” but she dialed 911 anyway. The witness said she then tried to quietly leave her room to go open the front door for police, but Frank came out of the other bedroom and asked her, “What are you doing, Kim?” She said his demeanor was “very matter of fact” and that she replied “nothing” before she carefully went back to her room and locked the door.
Kim said Frank slammed the front door shut and locked it and then he went back into his wife’s room. Kim estimated that Escondido police arrived within five minutes.
Officer Moshe Santini said he arrived at about 8:15 a.m. the morning of September 22 to a home in the 2300 block of Amber Lane. He said he identified himself as a policeman and ordered the door opened. He and the officer with him heard a woman scream and it took about three seconds to bust open the door, according to officer Santini.
The officer said he was wearing a video camera on the front of his uniform and he recorded the events that morning.
Jordanna, a plump, young blonde, testified for one hour about the alleged assault committed against her by her husband.
She said of Frank Brauns, “He’s my husband” and that they have been married one year, and that she gave birth to his son two months ago, in August. Their child was five weeks old at the time of the violent incident, but the baby was not in her custody: he had been removed to foster care.
Although Jordanna made a statement that the baby was taken away because of the father’s violent tendencies, the woman admitted on cross-examination that there was a different reason.
“There was marijuana found in urine from an accidental ingestion of food, at a party that I went to,” Jordanna said. It was unclear from that statement whose urine contained marijuana, and attorneys from the hearing declined to clarify later.
Jordanna said her husband wanted to come over on September 21, and even though she had a restraining order against him, she did allow Brauns to come and then spend the night. Jordanna said the next morning they discussed what they needed to do in order to get their child back from a foster home. Jordanna said they began to argue about their son.
“I was yelling back, I believe,” said Jordanna, and from there it escalated into a physical altercation. Defense attorney Matthew Wechter suggested that Jordanna participated in the violence.
Jordanna said that during the argument she picked up her cell phone and threatened to call the cops and Brauns grabbed the phone out of her hands and threw it against a wall and it broke into pieces. Jordanna said she went into the living room to use the landline and that was when Brauns came out of the garage with a hammer in his hand and struck her in the head.
“It was very fast,” the woman said in court. “I wasn’t even expecting it at all. I was completely in shock that he did it.”
Photo evidence of the hammer
The prosecutor showed the witness an evidence photo of a hammer and Jordanna stated, “It’s the hammer that he tried to use, to kill me with.” She said her husband pushed her back into her room and blocked her exit. “I was crying and pleading…you know, ‘Why are you doing this?’”
Jordanna said when police came “they said, ‘Police. Open up’” and that was when her husband came at her with both a knife and the hammer. “I just remember screaming. And they busted down the door.”
Jordanna now speaks haltingly and said since that day she “loses words that I want to say” and has headaches and blurred vision.
She believes there are 36 staples in the five lacerations on her head; the hole in the side of her neck, a knife wound, is almost an inch in size.
Judge Richard Monroy ordered Brauns held to answer three felony assault charges and one misdemeanor contempt of court charge for violating a restraining order. Brauns remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail and is next due in court on October 22, when a date for trial will be set.