Friday, January 15, 2010

Newark, NJ: Newark woman is fatally stabbed by ex-boyfriend in front of baby

By Star-Ledger Staff
January 14, 2010, 9:28PM
Courtesy of Newark Police
Quavon Bell
NEWARK -- A 19-year-old Newark woman was allegedly stabbed to death by her estranged boyfriend in front of the couple’s 1-year-old son Tuesday morning, authorities and family members said.
Vernita Desmith died in University Hospital in Newark Wednesday, succumbing to injuries she sustained when the man who one family member described as her "high school sweetheart," Quavon Bell, allegedly attacked her with a knife in her parent’s Central Ward home, according to Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Bell, 19, of Newark was arrested Tuesday after leading police on a wild chase across several rooftops in the city’s Central Ward, police said.
Police responded to reports of a woman stabbed in the 600 block of 15th Avenue Tuesday morning, and they found Desmith suffering from multiple stab wounds, said city police Detective Todd McClendon. The woman was rushed to University Hospital in critical condition and died Wednesday morning, according to McClendon.
Hours after the attack, a CrimeStoppers tip helped police track Bell to a residence at 509 S. 16th St., McClendon said. When the alleged killer realized the house was surrounded by police, he fled into the house next door, climbed out a window and onto a roof, according to McClendon. Officers entered the second house and chased Bell across several rooftops, eventually capturing him after a brief struggle atop an adjacent building.
Relatives said Bell was enraged over the couple’s recent break-up. Desmith’s aunt, Schnell Hall of Newark, said Bell wanted to see his infant son Quamar Tuesday morning, and that the young woman was bringing the baby to his father when he lunged at her with a knife.
"He knew that she wanted to move on without him, but she was still willing to put their differences aside for her son," Hall said. "Her son was her first and only prerogative."
Hall and another relative, Doreen Brown of Newark, said Bell had threatened the 19-year-old mother before, and that Tuesday wasn’t the first instance of domestic violence between the two.
"It was an abusive relationship and Vernita wanted out," Brown said yesterday. "This is the craziest thing. It’s so heart-wrenching."
Bell is charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses, according to McClendon. A preliminary autopsy was conducted yesterday, and Bell could face additional charges as early as tomorrow, depending on the medical examiner’s findings, Loriquet said.
If the slaying is ruled a homicide, it would be Newark’s fifth of 2010, and the fourth this week.
Relatives described Desmith as a family-oriented woman who had recently moved back to Newark after the death of her father, Gregory Caine. The family today was wracked with grief at the loss of Desmith, and anger toward the man police say took her away from them.
"My niece was 19 years old and devoted to her child — she did not deserve this," said her aunt Schnell. "This is a tragedy. He did this in front of his son, so he didn’t care about his child. "
By James Queally and Sharon Adarlo/The Star-Ledger

No comments: