Man charged in alleged years-long spouse abuse


Herald Writer

An Everett man was charged with two felonies Monday for allegedly abusing his wife for years, leaving her with injuries that in mid-September required surgery to stop bleeding on her brain.

Jay Robert Smith, 35, was being sought by Everett police on an arrest warrant carrying $150,000 cash-only bail, according to documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Smith and his wife, 32, have been married nearly six years. During that time, he has developed a "lengthy history of beating his wife," including two prosecutions in Island County for domestic violence, deputy prosecutor Paul Stern alleges in court papers.

Smith’s wife on Sept. 15 was taken to an area hospital with bleeding inside her head. Surgery was required to drain the blood and release pressure on her brain, Stern said.

The woman told medical workers and detectives that she’d been beaten by her husband, the prosecutor alleged.

"My husband Jay gets mad if I don’t clean the house right … he pushes me and hits me," the prosecutor quoted the woman.

Smith was first charged with assaulting his wife in November 1996 when they lived on Camano Island. He was acquitted.

In May 1997, Smith filed for divorce. Within days, Island County deputies were again called to the couple’s home. He was arrested for investigation of assault after the woman reported being hit on the head, back and buttocks with a baseball bat, Stern wrote.

One of the deputies who handled the call that night wrote Smith’s wife "appears to be completely spiritually broken and has apparently resigned herself to a life of abuse and dominance by her husband."

Smith pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was sentenced to a $200 fine and domestic violence counseling. Court papers show he completed the counseling in March 1999. The divorce case was dropped for lack of action by either party.

Smith has a daughter, 10, and son, 13, both born in a previous marriage. The children live with their father and stepmother, and both allegedly have told police about the man either hitting his wife or dragging her around the home by her hair, according to court papers.

Smith’s wife’s "medical condition is compromised by the fact that she has overindulged on alcohol for years," Stern wrote. "She has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and suffers from substantial liver disease."

When hospitalized for her September injuries, the woman told a nurse "I drink too much so I get numb," according to court papers.

Smith was arrested and initially charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault after the alleged September assault. He posted $5,000 bail.

Everett police continued to investigate and charges were upgraded based on what detectives learned regarding the seriousness of the woman’s injuries and alleged pattern of abuse, said Jim Townsend, the county’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor.

Smith is now charged with two counts of second-degree assault. One count alleges he intentionally harmed his wife on Sept. 15. The other count alleges abuse from November 1996 through September 2000, "which by design caused such pain and agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture."

Second-degree assault carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

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