NORRISTOWN — A Norristown man allegedly used a belt to strangle his girlfriend and then beat and kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach during a domestic violence incident, and the victim’s unborn child is now dead, according to court documents.
Robert James Wiley, 23, of the 1000 block of Powell Street, is awaiting a preliminary hearing Sept. 16 on charges of aggravated assault on an unborn child, aggravated assault and simple assault, strangulation, possession of tools of a crime, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person. in connection with an alleged assault that occurred at a Powell Street residence earlier this month.
Court documents obtained by MediaNews Group show the woman was 21 weeks pregnant at the time of the alleged attack. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office wrote in court documents that “the victim’s unborn child has already died and an autopsy is pending.”
Wiley is being held in the county jail in lieu of $1 million bail pending a preliminary hearing.
Wiley has not been charged with any crimes related to the murder.
“The investigation is ongoing and we are awaiting the results of the post-mortem tests,” Kate Delano, director of communications for the district attorney’s office, said Thursday.
It usually takes several weeks to get the results of a fetal autopsy.
“At the moment, the cause of death has not been established. Additional testing is being conducted at this time,” attorney James P. Lyons, who represents Wiley, also confirmed.
The investigation began Aug. 18 when Norristown police officers were dispatched to the Genourdi Family Center on a report of an assault on a pregnant woman. When the woman showed up at the office for a prenatal exam, doctors noticed bruising on her face and abdomen and were unable to detect a heartbeat or fetal movement, according to a criminal complaint filed by Norristown Detective Joshua Keenan.
The woman reported being assaulted by Wiley, her boyfriend, and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment.
“(The victim’s) facial injuries were so severe that additional imaging was performed to determine the extent of her injuries, including a traumatic brain injury and facial fractures,” Keenan wrote in the arrest affidavit, adding that the woman’s injuries appeared to be were several days.
The woman told detectives that earlier on or about Aug. 8, she woke up to Wiley punching her in the face, then Wiley kicking her in the stomach and body.
“(The victim) stated that while Wiley was kicking her in the stomach, he told her, ‘I’m going to kill the baby,'” Keenan alleged. “(The victim) stated that Wiley was choking her with his hands and at one point he took a belt from his bedroom and strangled her. (The victim) stated that Wiley choked her to the point where she could not breathe and passed out.”
According to court documents, the alleged assault stopped when Wiley’s relatives returned to the residence.
The woman told detectives that four days before the alleged attack, she had a regular prenatal check-up and at that time her unborn baby had a heartbeat and no medical conditions had been diagnosed that led them to believe the baby was unhealthy or in distress, according to to court documents.
“(The victim) stated that she feared for her life during the attack,” Keenan argued.
At the time of the alleged attack, Wiley was out on $10,000 unsecured bail awaiting trial on charges of assaulting the same woman on Jan. 14, 2022, according to court records. As a condition of his bail, Wiley was ordered to have “no contact whatsoever” with the victim.
Assistant District Attorney Gwendolyn Kuhl filed a motion to revoke Wiley’s bail in the previous case, alleging he was charged with additional crimes and had contact with the victim in violation of the original bail.
During the alleged attack on Jan. 14, Norristown police responded to a Powell Street residence and found the victim hiding in the shower and noticed swelling and redness in her face and blood coming from her nose, according to court documents. The victim told police Wiley punched her in the face several times with a closed fist and she appeared “visibly shaken and crying,” police said.