Kathleen Ayala, 30, is alleged to have used a nail clipper to kill her husband during a fight at their Millville, New Jersey home back in January of this year
A New Jersey mother-of-four originally charged with murder for allegedly stabbing her husband to death with a nail file earlier this year has now been indicted on an aggravated manslaughter charge.
Katheleen Ayala, 31, of Millville, was arrested back in January in relation to the death of 35-year-old Axel Torres, to whom she was married for 15 years.
Ayala claimed to investigators that she was defending herself from Torres after he assaulted her and said she hadn’t intend to kill him.
The incident was spurred after an argument escalated into violent in their trailer at the Country Meadows mobile home park on January 12.
Torres had reportedly awoken from an evening nap when Ayala angrily confronted him for smoking marijuana. She was also said to be upset because the couple’s bathroom was dirty.
During the altercation, Ayala said Torres head-butted her in the face, leaving her with a broken nose and a concussion.
Investigators claim Ayala then armed herself with a metal nail file from a pair of fingernail clippers, chased him outside into the woods, and stabbed him multiple times in a blind rage.
Ayala and Axel Torres, 35, were arguing in their trailer when the dispute turned physical, according to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office
Torres suffered numerous stab wounds to his hands, shoulder, groin area and his foot. A wound to his left calf severed an artery which coroners later determined to be the cause of his death.
After the stabbing, Torres and Ayala reportedly apologized to one another. It was at this point that the 35-year-old reportedly insisted that he wasn’t feeling well and said he needed an ambulance.
Assistant Prosecutor Charles J. Wettstein said during a court hearing earlier this year that it was dark in the wooded area of the trailer park and the extent of Torres’ injuries were ‘not really known at that time’.
Ayala then ran back to the trailer to summon emergency assistance. She also enlisted the help of her cousin who drove his pickup truck to where Torres was hurt, loaded him onto the bed of the truck, and drove him back to the trailer.
Officers with the Millville Police Department then arrived at the mobile home community to find Torres unconscious and covered in blood at the scene, with Ayala performing chest compressions on him.
Torres was taken to hospital in New Jersey where he died the next day.
Ayala told police she was responsible for the attack but only wanted to scare her husband and did not intend to physically harm him. Officers with the Millville Police Department arrived at the mobile home community to find Torres unconscious at the scene
Ayala is alleged to have told police that she was responsible for what happened and that she had meant for Torres to feel pain but did not mean to harm him. She reportedly said that’s why she decided to stab im in the legs.
Defense attorney Eugene P. Tinari said that Ayala, a full-time warehouse worker and mother-of-four, had no prior record before January 12 when the incident occurred and claims she had no intent to kill her husband.
He said that Ayala’s behavior was an aberration and a response to being injured by Torres.
‘Who stabs someone in the calf if you want to kill them?’ Tinari said in a January court hearing. ‘Nobody.’
‘The fact is, your honor, by all accounts in what we have been given thus far, it is clear that this was an aberration in terms of my client’s behavior in the past and that particular night,’ Tinari said. ‘The prosecution is correct. She sustained a concussion.’
Torres suffered wounds to his feet, hands, shoulders and left leg. Ayala suffered a broken nose, concussion and a bruised eye after being hit there. The couple had been together for 15 years
Challenging the arguments, the prosecution countered that Ayala intentionally followed her husband after the fight, and rather than calling police, she attacked him.
‘It wasn’t just one stab wound, judge,’ Assistant Prosecutor Charles Wettstein said at the time. ‘It’s the state’s position at this point that she knew that thrusting a knife into the human body multiple times is going to result in an individual’s death.’
In addition to her aggravated manslaughter indictment, a Cumberland County grand jury also indicted Ayala on aggravated assault and weapons charges Wednesday.
Ayala has remained in custody since her arrest on January 12.
A court date has not yet been set in the case.