Christopher R. James, 46, entered no plea to a charge of first degree domestic murder Wednesday afternoon after fatally stabbing his 46-year-old ex-wife, Terry Chiodo on board a RIPTA bus early Wednesday morning.
The Providence Journal reports that James, a Providence resident, has been arrested 20 times in the past two decades.
Police say the stabbing took place at around 6:15 a.m. near West Main Road and the Lehigh Overlook in Portsmouth.
According to testimony from the police prosecuter, when officers arrived on scene they found two good samaritans holding James down, while Chiodo, who had trauma to the chest, was in "severe distress." Chiodo later died at Rhode Island Hospital.
"We've been trying to educate folks for many years that domestic violence is not just a private issue it's everyone's business," said Deb DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "Unfortunately when a situation like this happens in public, it drives home the point."
Debare said everyone needs to know the warning signs and where to go from help. The coalition offers a 24-hour helpline at 1-800-494-8100.
The stabbing comes in the middle of a series of community meetings hosted by RIPTA that aim to improve upon their transit services. A meeting will occur as scheduled Wednesday night at the CCRI Newport Campus.
Governor Lincoln Chafee, RIPTA chairman and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and Interim Executive Director of RIPTA, State Police Lt. Col. Raymond Studley, issued this joint statement Wednesday afternoon:
“We first want to express our condolences to the family of the victim and our support for the passengers and driver who witnessed this troubling incident. This was an isolated event and Rhode Islanders should continue to be confident in their safety while using RIPTA. We have full confidence that the Portsmouth Police will conduct a full and thorough investigation and we will assist that investigation in any way possible.”
This story has been updated.
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