Crime

‘Hickey,’ 3 pairs of panties emerge as evidence in Ferndale murder case

Ferndale woman accused of fatally stabbing husband

Jessica Inda, 22, appears in Whatcom Superior Court Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, accused of killing her husband Alberto Mora-Morales, 26, Sunday morning at their home east of Ferndale.
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Jessica Inda, 22, appears in Whatcom Superior Court Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, accused of killing her husband Alberto Mora-Morales, 26, Sunday morning at their home east of Ferndale.

A Ferndale woman gave two different stories to sheriff’s deputies before admitting she stabbed her husband in the neck with a steak knife, according to murder charges filed this week in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Jessica Nereyda Inda, 22, called police Sunday morning, Oct. 2, saying her husband Alberto Manuel Mora-Morales had stabbed himself in a suicide attempt. Paramedics found him on the living room floor at 1064 Piper Road.

He died at the scene – bleeding to death from a single stab wound to the lower left side of his neck and upper chest, according to the Whatcom County medical examiner. He was 26.

As first responders tried to save Mora-Morales, a deputy asked Inda what happened. She said they were fighting, and she didn’t know how he got cut, according to charging papers. She said he was drunk and high on methamphetamine, he took her phone away, and he wouldn’t let her leave.

Later, as deputies continued talking with her, Inda said she was trying to stop Mora-Morales from leaving to go beat someone up. She didn’t know who he wanted to beat up, according to the charges. She did not know where the knife was, she reported.

When she spoke with a female deputy, Inda asked if she could tell the truth, according to charging papers. She said she had stabbed her husband in the neck because he was hitting her. She directed deputies to a bloody steak knife in a laundry room cabinet.

Inda was arrested and charged with domestic violence murder in the second degree. Deputies documented minor injuries on Inda: a bump on her head, and a red mark on her neck that turned out to be a “hickey,” according to the charging papers.

During the autopsy, the medical examiner, Gary Goldfogel, found three pairs of panties in Mora-Morales’ right front pocket. The charges, however, did not elaborate on the underwear’s significance.

The deputy prosecutor in the case, Eric Richey, said there is a strong chance the underwear could end up as key pieces of evidence as detectives investigate what led Inda to stab her husband. Aside from scrapes Mora-Morales had no defensive wounds, according to the medical examiner.

The couple’s 5-year-old daughter was home at the time of the stabbing. In a forensic interview the girl said her parents were arguing with the door open, and that her father went outside, then came back in. She said she wasn’t afraid of her father or her mother, and that they never hurt her.

Inda never has been convicted of a crime more serious than shoplifting. Mora-Morales had one felony on his record for possessing methamphetamine in 2009.

Initial toxicology tests on Mora-Morales this week came up positive for meth and negative for alcohol, according to charging papers. Those tests still need to be confirmed by a state crime lab.

Inda posted $100,000 bond this week with money scraped together by her mother, two brothers, five aunts, a grandfather, and cousins. At a court hearing Thursday, Oct. 6, the prosecutor asked Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis to increase bail on the grounds that a self-defense argument by Inda’s attorney should not have swayed the commissioner to set low bail – the lowest in a murder case in Whatcom County’s history, Richey said.

“She’s someone who’s capable of stabbing someone out of anger, and that I believe makes her a danger to the community,” Richey said. “I don’t know how she could be defined as anything else.”

Inda’s new attorney, deputy public defender Angela Anderson, noted that the defendant would be leaving her family on the hook for another $90,000 if she jumped bail. (As is routine with bondable bail, the defendant only had to pay 10 percent up front.)

Montoya-Lewis maintained bail at $100,000, and required Inda to surrender an enhanced driver’s license that would allow her to travel throughout North America. The defendant plans to stay with family at a home on Halverstick Road, within sight of the Canadian border.

Over witness-tampering concerns from the prosecutor, Inda will be allowed to see her daughter, too, if she is supervised by a non-relative, Montoya-Lewis ruled.

Inda remained out on bail Friday, Oct. 7.

Anyone who needs help because of domestic violence can contact a local 24-hour hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, 360-715-1563.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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