A Lawrence man entered a plea Friday to trying to stab his ex-girlfriend to death with a pocket knife to keep her from testifying against him in a domestic-battery case.
Rojelio Barron, 36, pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree murder for the Aug 2. stabbing at Colony Woods apartments, 1301 W. 24th St.
On July 15 - just two weeks before the stabbing - Barron was arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery for allegedly choking the woman at the same apartment. But he got out of jail after Judge Robert Fairchild lowered his bond on July 26 from $4,000 to $1,000.
The victim almost died from the knife wounds. Barron stabbed her nearly 30 times in the head and neck, and doctors at Lawrence Memorial Hospital resuscitated her after she twice lost her vital signs, Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said.
The woman is alive only because a passer-by discovered her shortly after the stabbing and because police were able to slow her bleeding at the scene, Branson said.
"She's just an extremely lucky woman that she made it through all of this, but she's going to have scars for the rest of her life," Branson said.
Branson said the woman has had flashbacks and has trouble breathing because of the stab wounds.
The incident happened shortly before 8:30 p.m. when Barron stopped by the woman's apartment to pick up some of his belongings, despite Fairchild's order that he stay away from the woman and not go to the apartment while free on bond. After the woman let Barron into her apartment, he asked her whether she would testify against him, Branson said. She said yes.
"She walked down the hall, and he followed her down the hallway and began stabbing her and cutting her," Branson said.
After Barron left, the woman was able to escape the apartment. She collapsed outside, fell down a set of stairs and lay bleeding until a passer-by found her and called for help.
Branson said the case was a reminder that, after domestic-violence incidents, victims sometimes let the barriers they put up between themselves and the suspect "erode a little bit" with time.
"When somebody's shown a tendency toward violence, such as in this case, you just have to exercise extreme caution," he said. "If you're going to meet with this person, have somebody else there."
Barron, who, according to court records, was unemployed, will be sentenced Nov. 1 and faces about 13 years in prison. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed the previous aggravated battery charge and a charge of intimidation of a witness.