Rosa Barraza, the wife of Assad “Sam” Suleiman, who gained national notoriety in 2007 for assaulting a local San Diego reporter, is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today on felony charges of burglary, two counts of grand theft, and elder abuse.
In 2006, the husband and wife duo were being investigated by reporter John Mattes of Fox 6 San Diego, the local San Diego Fox Affiliate. On September 6, 2006, Mattes, along with his cameraman, went to the home of Suleiman and Barraza to confront the couple about multiple allegations of mortgage fraud.
When Mattes arrived on the scene and attempted to question Suleiman about his actions, Barraza angrily confronted him, threw water at him and the camera, and asked Mattes if he wanted to end up buried in Mexico. Suddenly, Suleiman intervened, and viciously attacked Mattes, throwing him to the ground, jumping on top of him, and beating him. Cameraman Dennis Waldrop caught the entire incident on tape, and Mattes wound up with broken ribs, and bites and cuts to his face.
Ultimately, Barraza pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and received probation, while Suleiman, who was facing far more serious charges, pled guilty to assault with a deadly weapon causing grievous bodily injury, and was sentenced to a year in county jail and felony probation on July 7, 2007.
Unfortunately for Suleiman, he was still on felony probation when he was arrested on June 30, 2010 on the same charges that his wife is scheduled to be arraigned on today. Because he is on probation, Suleiman has what is called a “probation hold”, rendering him ineligible to be released on bail while his case is pending. He has been in custody at the George Bailey Detention Center since his arrest.
Interestingly, both Barraza and Suleiman were represented in the 2007 assault case by Attorney Kerry Steigerwalt, who announced on June 30, 2010 (the same day Suleiman was arrested) that his firm, Kerry Steigerwalt’s Pacifc Law Center, would be closing its doors for good. Not two weeks later, on July13th, Steigerwalt substituted in as counsel of record for Suleiman. Barraza also worked for Kerry Steigerwalt’s Pacific Law Center in the Loan Modification Department as a loan processor from 2008 through 2009.
If convicted, Barraza faces up to 19 years in state prison, while her husband faces up 25 years behind bars because of the felony case he is currently on probation for.