Family members of a Bristol woman, who was stabbed to death in front of her four children, screamed and yelled during the arraignment of the man who was charged with her murder.
Officers were called to a home on Cypress Street just before 3 a.m. Wednesday where they found Shenia Walker, 29, on the second floor of the residence suffering from multiple stab wounds.
Walker was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
A short time later officers found and arrested her 24-year-old boyfriend Mario Rivera, of Bristol.
Rivera was charged with murder and four counts of risk of injury to a minor, since Walker's children were present at the time of the attack but not hurt.
According to the arrest warrant, police seized a butcher's knife from the crime scene and believe that Rivera was high on PCP at the time of the murder.
"My client doesn't recall a great deal at this time," Rivera's attorney Konstantinos Diamantis said. "I think the one unified statement that I think everyone has made, including police, is that drugs were a factor."
"He killed my daughter and I can't take it," said Walker's mother Ramona Brooks, who was crying outside the Bristol courthouse.
On Thursday afternoon, Rivera appeared at Bristol Superior Court.
"She was getting ready for work this morning and he knew her routine," Brooks said. "She asked him 'why are you here?' She called my mother for help and by time my mother got up there it was too late, it was too late."
Walker's family told Eyewitness News during that phone call, she said Rivera was hitting her and was going to kill her.
"I talked to my sister quite a few times about getting out of that relationship because it wasn't healthy for her or the boys," said Tammie Walker.
Rivera did not show much emotion when he faced a judge, however members of the victim's family were thrown out of the courtroom.
Officers broke up a large crowd of the victim's family members outside the Bristol Superior Court and many were told to leave.
The judge raised Rivera's bond to $2 million.
Diamantis, who is representing Rivera in three other pending cases, told Eyewitness News his client had completed a family violence program related to his relationship with Walker.
"I'm so upset she had to lose her life like this, she was celebrating her 30th birthday May 1," Brooks said.
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Karen Jarmoc said, Walker's death shows that there is still work to be done in the state in regards to domestic violence.
"Domestic violence is a serious public health problem, and we must continue to facilitate conversations about healthy relationships and improve how we as a state respond to victims, ensuring that life-saving support services are available while also holding offenders accountable for their actions," Jarmoc said in a statement Wednesday.
Walker, who her family said was putting herself through culinary school, leaves behind four boys, who are 9, 6, 2 and 1.
Rivera, who Diamantis requested be put on suicide watch, will be back in court on Tuesday.
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