Wife found beaten, shot calls incident misunderstanding

Oralandar Brand-Williams The Detroit News, DetroitNews

The wife of a Hazel Park man charged with trying to murder her after she was found shot and badly beaten in a vacant field on Detroit’s eastside said the incident stemmed from a “big misunderstanding.”

Natalia Muntean said Monday in his trial she initially didn’t want to press charges against her husband, Radu, who is charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, unlawful imprisonment and other charges.

When a Grosse Pointe police officer found Natalia Munteanshe was handcuffed, naked, bleeding in the face and shot in a leg. The bullet passed through her other leg.

Officer Dan Kolar was on patrol the area of Lyford and Gilbo near Van Dyke and French as part of an undercover auto theft unit when he stumbled upon Radu Muntean with his truck backed up to a vacant lot around 2:43 p.m. March 23.

Kolar testified before Wayne Circuit Judge Craig Strong that when he stopped to investigate, Radu Muntean, 34, approached him with a gas can and asked him to take him to get some gas. Kolar said Radu Muntean told him he was a cop and flashed an official-looking police badge. Kolar said the man told him he was in the desolate area of abandoned lots with overgrown weeds to pick up his girlfriend, who had gotten beaten up.

Kolar said he investigated further because “something wasn’t lining up” and found Natalia Muntean in her husband’s Dodge Ram pickup.

“I saw a badly beaten (woman) in a blanket,” Kolar said. “She had cuts on her hand. I asked if she was OK. She was saying something incoherent. She looked straight ahead. She never looked at me.”

The woman’s blood-soaked underwear were behind the truck, said Kolar, who is crediting with saving the woman’s life.

A doctor who treated Natalia Muntean said she had multiple lacerations and abrasions and her jawbone was dislocated. Dr. Michael Taylor said “the story was that it was her husband” who was responsible for her injuries.

An EMT who treated and transported Natalia Muntean to the hospital said the left side of the the woman’s face was beaten in and that “just looking at her took my breath away.”

Natalia Muntean said she was shot in the leg as she and her husband drove down I-75 in Detroit. She and her husband allegedly had argued earlier.

The woman was asked by Radu Muntean’s defense attorney during cross-examination about a so-called suicide pact. The woman agreed that in earlier statements she said her husband had discussed committing suicide together if they could not work out their marital problems.

Asked why she didn’t use her cellphone to call for help before getting shot, Natalia Muntean said she was in shock and “couldn’t think clearly.” She also told jurors she was afraid to call for help because she feared her husband.

“I didn’t want to make him mad,” Natalia Muntean said. “I was just trying to be obedient.”

She also admitted that the night before the incident she took some illegal drugs, she called police “on herself” and they took her into custody. She said her husband was “pushing” her to take the drugs because they made her more sociable.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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