An illegal immigrant has been indicted on murder charges for the Jan. 20 stabbing death of his wife at their home in the Landmark Mobile Home Park in north Fayette County.
Jesus Ojeda Jimenez, 34, is charged with felony murder and malice murder, the latter of which suggests that he planned the deadly attack. He also faces three felony child cruelty charges because he carried out the fatal assault in front of the couple’s three young children.
Jimenez is accused of stabbing his wife, Liliana Ruiz, nine times as their 11-year-old son tried to halt the attack.
The indictment by a Fayette County Grand Jury means there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to a criminal trial. Jimenez is being represented by the Fayette County Public Defender’s Office.
Although the attack was horrific, it does not appear to meet the requirements that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty, said Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard.
“There are only about 10 different kinds of murders that you can seek the death penalty on and most of them involve financial gain of some sort,” Ballard said.
Ballard said if he could prove that aggravated battery took place in the course of the murder but as a separate action from the killing, there might be a chance to seek the death penalty. There has to be a time separation between the assault and the fatal attack, he added.
“To me, what’s horrible about this case is that the child is there trying to prevent it from happening,” Ballard said. “It was an awful, awful murder.”
At a court hearing in February, it was revealed that the 11-year-old pulled the knife from his mother and wrapped her in his T-shirt to try and save her.
Jimenez, meanwhile, fled the scene, leaving behind a note written in Spanish that asked for forgiveness and asked the first person responding to the scene at 350 Greenview Circle to take care of the three boys, Det. Wendy Moulder testified. She noted that Jimenez, who turned himself in the next day, told sheriff’s detectives that he wrote the note prior to the fatal attack on Ruiz.
Deputies were able to recover the alleged murder weapon in the case and he remains in jail without bond.
At the time of the attack, he was in the country illegally because he was deported in April 2010 after pleading guilty to an assault on Ruiz Nov. 14, 2009 that left her with a number of bruises and abrasions all over her body, a swollen eye and a bloody nose, according to the sheriff’s incident report.
According to that same incident report, Jimenez boasted to a deputy several times that “he would just get out on Monday and ‘Beat my wife’s ass again.’”
Ruiz’s sister told sheriff’s detectives that Ruiz let Jimenez stay with her and the boys as long as he worked, helped with the kids and stayed off of drugs and alcohol, Moulder said. But the relationship between Ruiz and Jimenez had been so “on and off” that there were times she would bring other men to family events, for example, Moulder said.