June 24 – LAWRENCE – In a wheelchair, wearing a hospital gown with his hands and forearms tightly bandaged, a Diamond Street man was arraigned for the stabbing murder of his wife in their Lawrence’s south apartment earlier this week.
Junior Solis Garcia, 39, was held without bond after appearing in Lawrence District Court on Thursday afternoon.
A police officer in the Dominican Republic, Garcia is accused of killing his wife, the mother of their four children, Mariel Ramos De Los Santos, 30, in their apartment at 12 Diamond St., number 11, authorities said.
Garcia’s defense attorney called the case “self-defense” and said De Los Santos initially attacked her husband after he returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic.
He said his wife attacked and stabbed him in the stomach as they argued. She continued to stab him, he told police, until he was “forced to defend himself”.
But he couldn’t remember what they were arguing about and said he wasn’t trying to kill her, according to a police report.
People close to De Los Santos, however, told investigators that Garcia was very controlling and abusive. According to police reports, there was a history of domestic violence between the couple documented by Lawrence police and the state Department of Children and Families.
Garcia had been drinking and using white powder for three days before the incident, one of his children told investigators.
The children also said their mother had already obtained divorce papers in the Dominican Republic, where the couple married in 2010, according to a report.
De Los Santos was found by police in the couple’s bedroom after Garcia dialed 911 at 3:04 a.m. Monday morning.
Garcia, in Spanish, told a dispatcher, “There is a death at this address. Come on,” authorities said.
Officers said De Los Santos was “in a fetal position on the floor” and “was cold to the touch and stiff.” She was officially pronounced dead at 4 a.m. at Lawrence General Hospital, according to a detective’s report.
The couple’s four children were all at home at the time of the incident. Their eldest son, 13, opened the door to police on Monday morning when they were unable to break in due to a deadbolt, police said.
They were not physically injured and a police report noted that “none of the children were seen with blood on their bodies or clothing”.
At the prosecutor’s request, Judge Holly Broadbent ordered Garcia to have no contact with relatives of his wife and children while the criminal case is pending.
The children are currently in the custody of De Los Santos’ parents, authorities said.
De Los Santos had 14 cuts and stab wounds to his body. The most significant injury was to his left shoulder where a stab “cut through the shoulder into the left chest cavity, left upper lobe of the lung, pulmonary artery from the heart, through the esophagus and lobe lower right lung,” according to a soldier’s report that detailed the results of his autopsy.
In court Thursday, defense attorney James Krasnoo said Garcia was treated in the intensive care unit at Lawrence General Hospital before his arraignment. He said Garcia’s wounds were ‘still infected’ and asked the judge to send him back to the hospital for ‘immediate treatment’.
Krasnoo also told Broadbent not to send Garcia to Middleton Jail, the county jail. He requested a private side chat with Judge and Assistant District Attorney Breanna Doud to discuss the matter.
Why Garcia shouldn’t go to Middleton Jail was never discussed in open court during the arraignment.
Broadbent, however, ordered Garcia to be held without bail and never granted a waiver to Middleton Jail or to commit Garcia to hospital.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.