A Chicago man has been charged with murder for the savage stabbing of his ex-girlfriend on a train platform after the victim named him as her attacker with her dying breath, police said.
Alejandro Arellano, 31, was taken into custody Sunday on one count of first-degree murder stemming from the killing of 26-year-old Samantha Maldonado.
“A key piece of evidence in this case came from the victim herself: she named Arellano as the offender before she succumbed to her injuries,” First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter said during a press conference Monday announcing the charges, reported ABC 7 Chicago.
According to prosecutors, Arellano and Maldonado were co-workers who had been in a relationship for about six months before breaking up last week.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the former couple were observed sitting in the corner at Miller’s Pub in Chicago’s downtown Loop neighborhood.
Shortly before closing time around 1:20 a.m., Maldonado was seen running out of the bar, with Arellano following close behind her.
The woman tried to find refuge from her pursuer on a platform at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) station at Wabash Ave. and Adams St.
During the chase, a surveillance camera allegedly caught Arellano taking a folding knife out of his pocket, extending the blade and then putting it back in his pocket.
Maldonado attempted to hide behind a CTA equipment box and then board an arriving train, but according to prosecutors, her ex-boyfriend thwarted her attempt by pushing her away from the open doors.
The train then departed the station, leaving Maldonado alone with Arellano on the platform. As seen on surveillance video, prosecutors said, Maldonado tried to walk away, and that is when Arellano allegedly attacked her.
“As the defendant approached the victim from behind, he grabbed her neck and shoulder area and stabbed her multiple times,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anne McCord said during Arellano’s initial court appearance Monday.
The 26-year-old was knifed at least four times, including in the chest, stomach and left arm, reported the local outlet WTTW.
A mortally injured Maldonado was able to pull away from her attacker and stumble down the stairs while bleeding from her wounds and gasping for air.
While Arellano boarded a train and headed home, his ex-girlfriend collapsed in the middle of the street.
Witnesses, among them security guards from Miller’s Pub, rushed to the woman’s aid. Prosecutors said that when they asked her who had stabbed her, Maldonado allegedly replied, “Alejandro.”
The woman also reportedly identified her former boyfriend as the culprit by his full name to paramedics who were called to the scene.
Maldonado was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Less than 14 hours later, police acting on the tip received from the victim in her final moments busted the 31-year-old Arellano outside his home in the 1600 block of North Kimball Avenue.
Prosecutors said he was wearing the same clothes he had on during the stabbing, and he still had the murder weapon in his pocket.
Arellano’s pants, shoes and knife were found to be covered with suspected blood.
Maldonado’s family members said the woman was an engineer who had moved from her native Ecuador to Chicago in search of a better life less than a year ago.
Maldonado’s cousin told ABC 7 that her family members are glad that with her dying breath she was able to share vital information that resulted in her suspected killer’s swift arrest.
“We’re just really grateful that we’re able to have an answer,” the relative said. “It helps the family feel more at peace.”
During a police interview, Arellano allegedly identified himself in the surveillance video taken from the crime scene, and told detectives that he had argued with the woman seen in the footage and “poked” her once with a knife.
Arellano has been ordered held without bond. He is due back in court on March 31.
The suspect’s criminal record, cited by Fox 32 Chicago, indicates that he had been arrested in 2014 for allegedly pulling a knife on someone. He was charged with aggravated assaults, but that case was later dismissed.