Groton man accused of torturing wife for hours

Groton — A Groton man allegedly tortured his wife for nearly five hours, beating her, threatening her with a knife and squeezing her finger with pliers, court records show.

James D. Tapp, 36, of 8 Larch Road, a former Navy man, was charged Monday with third-degree assault, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree unlawful restraint, second-degree reckless endangerment, cruelty to persons, disorderly conduct and second-degree threatening.

According to a probable cause report, Groton Town police were asked Monday afternoon to meet with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) at the Naval Submarine Base.

Town police met with a "reporting party" who said he observed the victim with a "goose egg" contusion above her left eye and that she was favoring her left side as she walked.

The reporting party asked the victim what was going on, and the victim replied, "He lost it." The victim was referring to her husband, the report said.

The victim, who is assigned to the submarine base, said she and her husband went for a walk on Sunday and started arguing.

"The accused believes that his wife told her Navy command that he suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from his deployments to Iraq," the report said. "According to the victim, her husband believes that this violated his honor by informing her command."

The victim told the reporting party how she was afraid that her husband was going to kill her and that he even threatened to use a gun silencer to shoot her from the bushes outside their house.

The reporting party referred the victim to the Navy Family Advocacy Program.

While police were speaking with the reporting party, the reporting party received a call from the Navy Child Development Center saying that the victim had not picked up her children.

Police along with NCIS immediately went to the victim's house. Police made contact with the victim and they, too, observed injuries to her face.

The victim said her husband was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom. Tapp was taken into custody without incident.

The victim told police that Tapp attacked her from about 11:30 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.

The victim said Tapp told her that he would "redecorate her face." He threw her on the bed and straddled her so she could not move or get away, the report said.

The victim said Tapp threatened to shoot her with a gun. She said that during the attack, he held a knife and threatened to "cut you ear to ear without thinking about it," the report said.

The victim said she did not attempt to leave because she would not leave her children behind.

Tapp then dragged the victim by the hair and threw her on the living room couch.

He grabbed a set of pliers and held her pinky finger with it.

"The accused stated to the victim, 'You will tell me everything I want to know,''' the report said. "The accused proceeded to clamp down on the victim's fingers with the pliers. If the victim did not answer a question or the accused thought she was lying, he would clamp down harder."

The victim said he stopped torturing her around 5:30 a.m. and went to bed as if nothing had happened, the report said.

Tapp is being held on a $99,000 bond. He was placed on medical and suicide watch. The court issued the victim a protective order.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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