35-year-old Victoria man fatally stabbed at home

Bianca Montes By Bianca Montes

June 18, 2014 at 1:18 a.m.
Updated June 19, 2014 at 1:19 a.m.

Crime scene tape no longer lined a small apartment complex on tree-lined Warren Avenue late Wednesday afternoon, but evidence of a fatal stabbing was still visible.

An orange circle documenting the exact location where a 35-year-old man collapsed and a blood trail that began inside his two-bedroom apartment and extended into the street painted a picture of what neighbors refer to as a tumultuous relationship.

Victoria police officers responded to a stabbing in the 1100 block of Warren Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, where they found Joseph Valdez collapsed in the street.

Thick, dark blood was smeared across a white front door, sprinkled on the porch and across the grass and trickled into the street.

Longtime friend Camelia Pena, 38, said she wished she was outside her home at the time so she could have helped Valdez.

“I’m always out there – he knew that – till late at night,” she said.

Valdez was rushed to DeTar Hospital Navarro with a knife wound to the chest, Victoria Police Detective Tanya Brown said in an email. Valdez was pronounced dead at 2:01 a.m. by a doctor at the hospital.

Catherine Vasquez, his on-again, off-again girlfriend of two years, was taken to Citizens Medical Center with facial injuries and later moved to a San Antonio hospital, according to a news release.

A spokesman at University Hospital said Vasquez was in the operating room about 7 p.m. Wednesday undergoing surgery on her jaw.

Neighbors said the couple had a history of being verbally abusive to each other but never saw the two physically fight. About 1 a.m. Wednesday, neighbor Mellisa Benevides, 37, said screams were coming from their apartment.

Benevides said, “They were always arguing, and he was always telling her to leave.”

But she doesn’t think he’s the type to hit a woman.

“He just wasn’t like that,” she said.

Valdez has a criminal history that’s had him in and out of jail on charges such as assault, possessing a prohibited weapon and possession of marijuana, according to court documents. His most recent offence, assault, was in 2010.

It is unclear whether Vasquez has a criminal history because her middle name and date of birth were not available from police officials.

“Information cannot be released because there has not been any charges filed, and she has not been arrested,” Brown wrote in an email. Additional details about the case weren’t released because of the ongoing investigation.

“We are pursuing leads, and eventually this case will be presented to the district attorney’s office for consideration,” Brown said.

Family and neighbors said Valdez had been working to turn his life around, fondly remembering him working out in the park across the street and training neighborhood kids in boxing.

“He was a role model to my kids,” Pena said.

Valdez’s mother was hospitalized the week before his death, and his sister said he broke down in tears over her bed, worried she might die.

“He told her, ‘I know I’m not perfect, and I know I’ve done wrong, but I’m a man after God’s heart,’” his sister, Melissa Morin, wept. “I went to that crime scene, and it looked like my brother fought for his life – he didn’t deserve to die like that.”



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