FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Bronx Woman Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Fatally Stabbing Ex-Boyfriend in Dispute Over Payment for Sexual Favors
Victim Stabbed More Than 60 Times During Struggle in His Brooklyn Apartment
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 47-year-old Bronx woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2011 death of her ex-boyfriend whom she stabbed repeatedly during a fight inside his Prospect-Lefferts Gardens apartment.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant repeatedly stabbed a man she knew for most of her life and left him bleeding to death. The long prison sentence she got fit the horrible crime that she committed.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Esmerilda Morales, 47, of 1755 Weeks Avenue in the Bronx. She was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic to 25 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision following her guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter, which was entered on July 16, 2015. She waived her right to appeal as part of the plea.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant knew the victim, 53-year-old Melvin Vargas, since she was 16 and the two had been involved in a sporadic romantic relationship years ago. They remained in contact and had an arrangement under which the defendant would engage in sexual activity with the victim for money.
On December 21, 2011, at about 7 p.m., Morales visited Vargas at his sixth-floor apartment on 25 Lefferts Avenue, in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. According to the defendant’s statements, she was paid $150 in exchange for a sexual act. Vargas then offered her $300 to engage in another sex act and later refused to pay. The defendant told detectives that an argument ensued, that the two fought over a kitchen knife and that she stabbed the victim.
District Attorney Thompson said Vargas was discovered the next day by his brother and his building’s superintendent. He sustained over 60 stab wounds to his body and died as a result of blood loss. The apartment was ransacked with property strewn throughout and some belongings thrown out a window to the backyard. A knife was also recovered in the apartment.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, at about 2:30 a.m. on December 22, 2011, the defendant was captured by security cameras in the lobby of the victim’s building with boxes, bags and luggage that were taken from his apartment. She then hailed a taxi, loaded the items and arrived at a Bronx apartment that she shared with her boyfriend.
The victim’s license and credit cards were recovered at the defendant’s home pursuant to a search warrant. She was arrested and made statements to detectives. She was subsequently taken to a hospital for detox treatment.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Lynch, of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Michelle Kaminsky, Chief.