Michigan woman confronts abusive husband in court as he's sentenced to misdemeanor
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (FOX 2) - Wednesday was an emotional day in court for a Macomb County woman as she confronted the man she said beat her, strangled her, and pulled through a mirror: her husband.
Samantha Sonntag was married to her husband, Andrew, for seven months. It was seven months of hell.
Samantha is a survivor of domestic violence and on Wednesday, she told her story to the judge - as her husband was sentenced to a misdemeanor.
"There's a monster inside him that only God can release and this monster was released upon me," she said. "I still think any normal person would want to know why their husband would try to kill them."
Andrew, 31, was sentenced in Macomb County for the December 2017 assault of Samantha in Clinton Township. He was first charged and went to trial for assault by strangulation - a 10 year felony. But a jury found him guilty of a lesser charge of assault and battery - a 93 day misdemeanor.
"A simple assault would've been him slapping me in the face, not him strangling me twice, punching me until my face is beat in, and pulling me through a broken glass mirror. There is nothing simple about that," Samantha said in court.
Samantha shared a picture of her face a week after the attack. She was wearing heavy makeup to cover up what had been done to her - something she had to do dozens of times.
"I understand why less than half of all victims testify against their abusers. I understand why it usually takes 5 to 7 times of violence before police are involved."
During her victim statement on Wednesday, Samantha said they tied the knot in secret in 2017. She also said Andrew became more controlling and manipulative over the next few months and verbally and physically abused her in front of her children at times.
She said Andrew was on probation for drug charges in Oakland County at the time and he also controlled her financially and sexually. At one point, she nearly attempted suicide before she gained the strength to leave in February of 2018.
"I should've been protecting my girls but in reality, they wanted to protect me," she said. "I left Andrew because I saw the tears in my daughter's eyes. I knew that I was hurting her by staying."
Wednesday, Andrew's attorney stressed that he's in treatment for domestic violence, drugs, and alcohol. Andrew himself described his progress as 'great'.
"Overall, my sobriety, everything else has been going great," he said.
After all the statements were made, the judge sentenced Sonntag to 45 days in jail and 18 months probation. Samantha says her purpose now is to help survivors of domestic violence break free and find happiness in themselves.
"I forgive you Andrew. I can forgive a sick person because you are sick. I can honestly, whole-heartedly forgive you but I cannot forgive what you did to me."
If you know someone who may need help escaping a situation, help is out there at Michigan.gov