A man accused of killing his wife appeared briefly in Stanislaus Superior Court on Friday for an arraignment that was continued to next month.
Jose Fajardo, 32, is accused of stabbing his wife, Marlene Rubi Sosa Fajardo, 30, inside their airport neighborhood home early Wednesday morning.
Fajardo's brother called police to report the crime in the 200 block of Santa Ana Avenue, and Fajardo surrendered peacefully upon their arrival. The couple's children, a 9-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, who were home at the time of the attack but did not see the attack, remain in the custody of child protective services Friday.
"It's just so sad and hurtful and painful for the kids," said Desiree Ramirez, a friend of Fajardo's who has known him since he was 17.
She said she learned from other family friends that Sosa Fajardo recently had told Fajardo she wanted a divorce and had threatened to take the children. She said Fajardo's brother had to break down the door of the room in which the attack occurred because Fajardo had locked it.
Fajardo is charged with first-degree murder with an enhancement for using a knife, which could lengthen his sentence if he is convicted.
His family and friends attended his arraignment hearing. A few wiped tears from their eyes as Fajardo walked into the courtroom in shackles and a red-and-white-striped jumpsuit. He spoke softly when Judge Marie Silveira asked him his birth date and whether he agreed to continue his arraignment.
The arraignment was continued because the attorney from the public defender's office who was present in court Friday will not be the attorney assigned to Fajardo's case.
Ramirez said she was shocked when she heard of his arrest.
"He was always smiling. Never in my life did I see him mad," Ramirez said. "He could have just walked away."
Fajardo will return to court for his arraignment at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 24 in Department 8.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter @ModestoBeeCrime.