Concord man pleads guilty to stabbing wife to death

  •  Nathalia Da Paixao Courtesy

  • Figueiredo

  •  Nathalia Da Paixao Courtesy

  • The Edgewood Estates off of Branch Turnpike where the alleged murder of Nathalia Da Paixao took place on July 28, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 11/6/2020 5:14:16 PM

A week before he stabbed his wife to death at their Concord apartment complex, prosecuting attorneys say Emerson Figueiredo told his 12-year-old daughter that he loved his wife, but if she kept insulting him, “a person like that doesn’t need to live.”

Figueiredo, 43, pleaded guilty in Merrimack Superior Court Friday to the charge of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Nathalia Da Paixao, at their apartment complex on Branch Turnpike in July 2019.

Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin told the court what happened the day Da Paixao died, according to testimony from the couple’s two children, neighbors and Concord police officers.

Strelzin said an argument between Figueiredo and Da Paixao initially began the morning of July 28, 2019, when the couple was discussing their plans for the day. Figueiredo was running late that morning, which caused the family to miss church. Then Da Paixao wanted to go to the beach while Figueiredo wanted to sleep.

“The two children would testify that their parents had argued frequently in the past,” Strezlin told the judge. “And recently there had been a lot of arguments about money. The defendant was stressed over money, and the victim wanted more financial freedom.”

Later in the morning they argued again, wedding rings were thrown, according to Strezlin, and escalated to the point that Da Paixao said she and Figueiredo should get divorced.

“The defendant was very angry at that point. The children said they had never seen him so angry, and said something to the effect of, ‘You’re not going to ruin my life,’” Strezlin said.

Figueiredo allegedly began beating DaPaixao with one of her high-heeled shoes, and then grabbed a knife from the kitchen and began stabbing her.

The couple’s 12-year-old daughter tried to intervene and wasn’t able to stop the attack, but gave her mother enough time to flee the apartment. Figueiredo reportedly chased Da Paixao, pausing only to get a new knife from the kitchen, as the first one had broken.

Outside in the parking lot, Figueiredo caught up to Da Paixao and neighbor witnesses say he began stabbing her again, with such force that the second knife also broke. Strezlin said Figueiredo also stomped on her face three times as she lay on her back on the pavement.

Concord police arrived on the scene at 11:55 a.m. and detained Figueiredo. He was charged with two accounts of second-degree murder. One charge alleges Figueiredo knowingly caused Da Paixao’s death, and the other alleges he did so by stabbing her recklessly, showing “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

Neighbors and bystanders tried to help Da Paixao, who died later that day after being transported to Concord Hospital with seven stab wounds, according to the testimony of former associate chief medical examiner Christine James.

Figueiredo attended the plea hearing Friday alongside his defense attorney, John Bresaw, and a Portugese language interpreter who translated the hearing for Figueiredo. Judge John Kissinger Jr. presided over the hearing.

Figueiredo will be sentenced on January 12. His plea is capped, meaning the judge will not impose a sentence that is longer than the one requested by the prosecution. Strelzin said he will be suggesting a sentence of 45 years to life in prison for Figueiredo.

Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.

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