A New Hampshire man has pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife to death in front of the couple’s two children—even chasing her down to finish the attack after her 12-year-old daughter had helped her escape the apartment.
Emerson Figueiredo pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, 35-year-old Nathalia DaPaixao, on Friday more than a year after the July 2019 attack that claimed her life, according to a statement from New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald.
Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin recounted the gruesome crime in a Merrimack Superior Court Friday after piecing together the victim’s final moments based on testimony from Concord Police, neighbors and the couple’s two children, who had witnessed the attack, according to The Concord Monitor.
Before the fatal confrontation on the morning of July 28, 2019, Strelzin said the couple had argued after Figueiredo ran late, causing them to miss church. The couple disagreed about how to spend the remainder of their day and the tension between them grew.
The couple’s children testified that their parents “argued frequently” in the past and had increasingly gotten into disputes about money.
“The defendant was stressed over money, and the victim wanted more financial freedom,” Strelzin said.
Later that morning, the argument escalated with the couple taking off and throwing their wedding rings. DaPaixao also said she wanted a divorce.
“The defendant was very angry at that point. The children said they had never seen him so angry, and said something to the effect of, ‘You’re not going to ruin my life,'” Strezlin said, according to the paper.
The confrontation turned physical when Figueiredo grabbed one of DaPaixiao’s high-heeled shoes and began to beat her with it before grabbing a knife from the kitchen.
The couple’s 12-year-old daughter tried to break up the fight. She was able to intervene long enough for her mother to flee the apartment, but allegedly chased her down after grabbing a second knife and continued to stab her outside the couple’s apartment, prosecutors said.
Both knives reportedly broke while Figueiredo was stabbing his wife. He also used his foot to stomp on her face as she lay on the pavement, Strezlin said.
Concord Police arrived at the scene a short time later after receiving 911 calls about the violence.
They arrived to find DaPaixao “wounded and bleeding” on the ground of the parking lot, the attorney general’s office said.
DaPaixao was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Just a week before DaPaixao was killed, the couple’s daughter told investigators that her father had told her he loved his wife, but that if she kept insulting him she “doesn’t need to live.”
A neighbor who had been a friend of the couple told local station WMUR shortly after the bloody attack that he had seen Figueiredo standing by a police car in handcuffs. He said Figueiredo told him he “was really sorry,” for the attack.
“I just hope the kids are going to be in a good place and someone can help them get through this devastating, traumatic thing they’re going to be dealing with for the rest of their lives,” the man said.
Another neighbor described the family as “churchgoing people.”
“They just seemed happy whenever we saw them,” she told the outlet. “They’d bring our kids to the pool. It’s really devastating.”
Figueiredo is slated to be sentenced on Jan. 21, 2021. The state plans to argue for a sentence of 45 years to life behind bars.
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