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NYC Man Allegedly Told Kids 'Keep Your Seatbelts On' Then Mowed Down Estranged Wife With SUV
Stephen Giraldo faces multiple charges in the alleged assault on his estranged wife, Sophia Giraldo, who hosted a podcast and gave speeches about being a survivor of domestic violence.
A Queens man is in Rikers after allegedly running down and stabbing his estranged wife while their children looked on.
Stephen Giraldo, 36, has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first and second degree, three counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and two criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, according to a press release from the office of the Queens District Attorney.
Prosecutors allege that Giraldo was in his white Ford Explorer outside of the home of his estranged wife, Sophia Giraldo, 41, in Flushing, Queens at 5:20 a.m. on Tuesday when he called her to come out and get their children, who were in the vehicle, according to the New York Post.
He then allegedly told the children, ages 11, 9 and 6, "Everyone keep your seatbelts on" and, as Sophia Giraldo passed in front of the vehicle, accelerated toward her. After he allegedly hit her so hard that she flew over a wrought iron fence in front of the home, according to the Post, the car struck the fence and turned on its driver's side.
With his 11-year-old son still in the front passenger seat of the overturned SUV and his 9- and 6-year old sons in the backseat, Stephen Giraldo then allegedly freed himself from his vehicle by crawling past his oldest son, walked up to his kids' severely injured mother and stabbed her twice in the right lower part of her torso.
According to the Post, he then called 911 and said, "I think I killed my wife." He remained on the scene, allegedly telling the responding officers,"I hit my wife — arrest me." They did so.
Sophia Giraldo was taken to the hospital with severe neurological damage, broken bones in her leg and a stab wound to her liver, prosecutors say. They told the court on Wednesday that she may have permanent neurological damage if she survives her injuries.
Her three children did not require medical treatment after the crash. They are staying with other family members.
Sophia Giraldo, who identifies as an entrepreneur with a specialty in life coaching survivors of intimate partner violence, has repeatedly said that she is a survivor of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse in interviews, on her nine-episode podcast and in speeches. Prior to her assault, she had told audiences that she discovered that her unnamed husband was a sex addict in 2012, shortly after the birth of their eldest son, which kicked off years of escalating abuse.
In August, she wrote on Facebook that it'd had been three years since she and her children moved into a domestic violence shelter, where they stayed for nine months until they were able to qualify for their own apartment.
The Post reported that she filed for divorce in August.
Stephen Giraldo's co-workers with the Metropolitan Transit Authority told reporters at the scene of the attack that, as the Post wrote, he was "a good guy who was going through a terrible divorce."
A spokesperson for the MTA told NBC4 New York that Giraldo has been suspended indefinitely without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
His brother, Jonathan Giraldo, suggested Sophia Giraldo's podcast and statements were inaccurate.
"My brother is nothing like that," he told the Post. "He’s a gentle, sweet guy.”
Black women, like Sophia Giraldo, are disproportionately more likely to experience intimate partner violence than women of any other race or ethnicity, according to studies by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Stephen Giraldo is being held without bail, according to jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com. He's currently represented by Legal Aid and his next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 12, according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com.