Joel Monegro has been hospitalized and charged with his wife Yesenia Torres' murder after both were found seriously wounded in a double stabbing

By Georgia Slater
May 31, 2018 01:33 PM
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Credit: Yesenia Monegro/Facebook

Massachusetts police responded to a bloody scene on Monday afternoon in Lawrence, where they found a husband and wife both suffering multiple stab wounds, PEOPLE confirms.

“Help me, I can’t breathe. He stabbed me,” Yesinia Torres, 28, told responding officers in a “dying declaration,” according to Police Chief Roy P. Vasque.

Torres’ husband, 32-year-old Joel Monegro, reportedly lay next to her on their kitchen floor.

“We stabbed each other,” he allegedly told police, Vasque says. “Help her out. She’s going to die.”

Torres was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston but did not survive her injuries. Monegro was taken to Tufts Medical Center and was subsequently arrested for murder.

Authorities had been summoned to the residence about 5 p.m. by a friend of the couple.

Monegro and Torres were together for 13 years and shared three children — ages 3, 7, and 10 — police say, but they were preparing for a divorce, according to the Eagle-Tribune.

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Monegro allegedly told police that he and Torres had been fighting about their finances and that he was going to move out on Monday, according to the paper.

They were both armed with knives and Monegro claimed that Torres struck him first, according to Vasque.

However, according to the Eagle-Tribune, Torres accused her husband of hitting her earlier this month and, according to police documents obtained by a local reporter, Monegro was arrested in 2014 after Torres reported that he allegedly became “enraged and attacked her” during a period while they were not together.

The disposition of those previous incidents was not immediately clear.

“Domestic violence is a serious issue in this country and this is a tragic incident,” Chief Vasque tells PEOPLE. “Three children now without both parents. They have no mother and the father is going to jail — a tragic incident all around.”

The couple’s kids are under the care of their grandparents until further decisions are made in family court, according to authorities.

“I just can’t believe, I don’t know why he took her away from us,” said Janet Colon, Torres’ aunt, according to the Associated Press and CBS News. “She was a loving person, hard-working person, a loving mother.”

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Monegro remains in the hospital where he is recovering from his injuries. He was arraigned from his bed in intensive care but spoke little, according to the Eagle-Tribune.

He was ordered held without bail and a not-guilty plea was entered, and he is due back in Lawrence District Court on June 25 for a probable cause hearing.

He has not yet retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.