Father accused of kidnapping kids appears in court

(KGO)
September 10, 2012 6:05:56 PM PDT
The father accused of grabbing his two kids from their mother's South San Francisco home and taking off in a stolen sailboat tried to explain his actions to a judge Monday. 43-year-old Christopher Maffei appeared in a Redwood City courtroom to hear the charges in connection with his children. He did not enter a plea but he did speak out in open court and what he had to say has outraged a number of people.

Maffei faces eight felony counts after allegedly kidnapping his two children last Tuesday from their South San Francisco home and sailing off with them in a stolen boat. Law enforcement vessels rescued the children Friday night near Monterey.

When Maffei appeared in court Monday, he spoke out offering, in his mind, the reason behind his actions and perhaps the first glimpse at this legal defense. "With all due respect to this court, my children have been put back to the place where they are being abused," he said. The deputy district attorney says that statement appears to be a self-serving attempt at defending criminal actions.

A boater who helped the Coast Guard track Maffei spoke exclusively with ABC7 News Sunday evening. Russel Robinette said that when Maffei asked him about where to get boat fuel, the father seemed to know he was doing something wrong. "His answer at that time was if I go in there, I'll have to stay, which I found really... another red flag, went up," he recalled.

ABC7News legal analyst Dean Johnson says Maffei singaled in court Monday that he will be aggressive in helping his attorney with a defense strategy. "We know some of the facts, not all of the facts. We don't know his side of the story. There are lots of defenses that can be raised in cases like this and I think this particular case, as we've seen today, could very rapidly become a Petri dish of legal issues," he said.

The mother of the two children, Jen Hippon, said Monday that she is upset by what she called the "outburst in court." She said there is no truth to the allegations. She also said that as a pediatric nurse, she has dedicated her life and her career to helping children, not harming them. She said she hopes Maffei will take responsibility for his actions.

The judge ordered Maffei to be held on $500,000 bail. He is scheduled to enter a plea next week.


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