A Whatcom County woman faces a murder charge for stabbing her husband to death on Sunday, Oct. 2, at a home east of Ferndale, according to the sheriff’s office.
At 8:54 a.m., deputies were called to 1064 Piper Road when Jessica Nereyda Inda reported her husband tried to kill himself with a knife. She said she was trying to give him medical aid by putting pressure on the wound.
She hung up the phone and did not answer when 911 dispatchers tried to call back, according to police radio traffic.
Inside the house, deputies found Alberto Manuel Mora-Morales, 26, on the floor of the living room. He had suffered a stab wound to the left side of his neck, said Sheriff Bill Elfo. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
At first, Inda told a detective she got into an argument with Mora-Morales, the father of their 5-year-old daughter. She did not recall how he got stabbed, she reported.
Shortly thereafter, Inda asked a female deputy if she could tell “the truth,” the sheriff said. She admitted she stabbed Mora-Morales, and she led deputies to a laundry room cabinet to show them a steak knife with blood on the blade, the alleged murder weapon, according to the sheriff’s office. She gave a brief statement, then stopped and asked for an attorney.
Inda was arrested on suspicion of murder in the second degree. She remained in jail Monday. She has no felony record in Washington and no past convictions more serious than shoplifting. Court records show Mora-Morales had dozens of run-ins with local police, but he never was charged with a violent felony.
Inda, a homemaker, grew up in Whatcom County, said her defense attorney, Kristin Hanna Slone. The couple met when Inda was 15, and they wed two years later around the time the child was born. She was 17.
At a bail hearing, Hanna told a Superior Court commissioner there is a strong case that Inda acted in “defense of self and others,” i.e., the child.
“There are two sides to this story, and the side that the state is proposing is extremely different than the story I’ve gathered so far,” the defense attorney said. “I believe that there is an extremely strong – extremely strong – self-defense (element) going on here.”
Hanna asked the commissioner to release Inda on personal recognizance, meaning Inda would not have to post bail, or otherwise to set a low dollar amount. The courtroom was full of members of Inda’s family.
“She wouldn’t go anywhere, because she’s a good daughter, never been in trouble,” Inda’s mother, Lucia Villarreal Figueroa, told the court.
The chief criminal deputy prosecutor, Eric Richey, asked for bail of $500,000. Superior Court Commissioner Alfred Heydrich set bail at $100,000. He entered a no-contact order between the mother and child because the girl is a material witness. The order can be reviewed once the child undergoes a forensic interview.
Deputies don’t believe the child witnessed the incident, the sheriff said. On Monday, the girl was in custody of her grandmother.
Correction on Monday, Oct. 3. An earlier online version of this story identified the couple as boyfriend and girlfriend. They were married.