A St. Paul lawyer has been charged with beating his 7-year-old son and threatening to kill him while the man's two younger children watched, according to a Ramsey County criminal complaint.

John Akwuba, 51, is charged with felony terroristic threats and domestic assault by strangulation in connection with the incident Saturday at his home.

Police responded to a report of a child being beaten in the back seat of a car about 11 p.m. A neighbor called police after she saw Akwuba punching a child at least 30 times, the complaint said.

When police arrived, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old were standing outside a car that was rocking violently in an open garage. Police heard Akwuba yelling, "I'm going to kill you" and saw his arm come down, followed by a child screaming, according to the complaint. The boy was curled up on the floor of the car with his arms covering his head.

Akwuba's wife said that her husband becomes angry and aggressive when he drinks alcohol. A test showed Akwuba's blood alcohol level was at 0.102 percent. Akwuba, who has been licensed to practice law since 1997, told police that his son has a discipline problem. He denied hitting or choking the boy.

LORA PABST