November 1 2018

Man Convicted of Stalking Woman in Burlington Will Not Get a New Trial

By: Rich Hosford

A Woburn man who was convicted of stalking his estranged wife in Burlington in 2012 will not get a new trial.

This week the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a 2015 decision by a lower court to deny a new trial for Peter Chonga, who argued that the circumstances of his case did not meet the definition of stalking.

According to court documents Chonga and his wife moved to Woburn in 2009. At first their relationship was “good” but it deteriorated after, the victim said, Chonga became “controlling” and frequently demanded to check her cell phone and emails.

Court documents say Chonga also became physically abusive. The victim testified he tried to choke her and that he regularly threatened to kill her. She moved into her own apartment in Burlington in 2010 but Chonga reportedly kept coming by and demanding to check her email and cell phone. He also reportedly called her repeatedly and followed her around.

“Around April 1, 2011, the defendant entered the victim's apartment, pointed a knife at the victim's neck, and threatened to use it to kill both her and himself,” court documents state. “One week later, the defendant again turned up at the victim's apartment uninvited. The victim, understandably not wanting him to be there, lied by stating that she had to go to work. When he discovered that this was a lie, he entered the victim's apartment, took her cell phone and the handset from the home telephone, threatened to kill her, and eventually hit her repeatedly with his boot.”

The victim escaped to a friend’s house but not before, as Chonga himself admitted, he grabbed her arm in an attempt to keep her from leaving. The friend called the police.

In his appeal, the defendant argued “his repeated intimidating, threatening, and physically violent conduct directed at the victim was not ‘wilful’ because it was not ‘intentional and by design,’ two aspects of the legal definition. Instead, he argued that this conduct was “motivated by jealousy and anger.”

The court did not find this a convincing argument.

“Contrary to the implication of his argument, this does not, even if true, indicate that the conduct was not intentional and by design, or that the defendant did not intend both the conduct and its harmful consequences,” the Court of Appeals wrote.


 

 
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