Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Young Tampa sisters describe horror of fatal machete attack on mother

Georgia Fonseca, younger daughter of Danitza Fonseca, testifies Tuesday in Judge William Fuente’s Tampa courtroom. She said she wanted to defend her mother, but had only a broom.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Georgia Fonseca, younger daughter of Danitza Fonseca, testifies Tuesday in Judge William Fuente’s Tampa courtroom. She said she wanted to defend her mother, but had only a broom.

TAMPA — In a murder trial so gruesome that a male juror fainted in his chair, two teenage sisters described how they saw their mother hacked to death by her boyfriend and how one of the girls sought to save her with a broom.

A day of testimony Tuesday began with the older sister weeping quietly as jurors heard a hysterical 911 call she made, and it ended with the younger sister sobbing as she was shown the 2-foot machete used to kill her mother.

Alexander Cote Ferrer, 40, charged with second-degree murder, is accused of fatally slashing his longtime girlfriend, Danitza Fonseca, 50, in their Tampa bedroom on Aug. 8, 2010. He was assisted throughout the first day of trial by a Spanish translator, although both girls testified that he speaks English. He showed no reaction to them.

Fonseca's daughter Jennifer, 18 at the time of the attack, went first Tuesday. She testified that she, her boyfriend and her 16-year-old sister Georgia were cooking dinner when they heard screams from their mother's bedroom. They had to break down her locked door.

Jennifer testified that she found her mother on her hands and knees beside the bed, covered with blood. Cote Ferrer, the teenager said, stood over her mother with his machete raised, then slashed her again.

She said Cote Ferrer told them, "You better run, or you're next."

Then jurors heard her 911 call to police from outside the house. "He has a machete!" she screamed. "Hurry! There's blood everywhere!"

Her younger sister Georgia could be heard yelling, "We got to go back!" Jennifer begged her, "Please don't go back!"

During her own testimony late in the afternoon, Georgia Fonseca told jurors that Cote Ferrer smirked at them when they broke into the room. She said she searched for a weapon to defend her mother, but all she could find was a kitchen broom.

She said Cote Ferrer then came out of the bedroom, moving toward them, machete in his hand. The three youths fled the house.

He followed them into the yard, she said, then returned to the house.

Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Vernard Adams testified that their mother, Danitza Fonseca, bled to death from 22 slash wounds. The blows, he said, were hard enough to fracture her skull and cut bone. She also suffered two punctures on her chest that prosecutors say were caused by a barbecue fork with prongs bent at a 90-degree angle.

As Adams testified, Assistant State Attorney Stephen Udagawa showed the jurors graphic color photos of the wounds.

Six jurors and two alternates craned to look. One suddenly slumped his chair, head rolled back.

"He's fainted," the medical examiner said.

Adams rushed into the jury box, put the juror's head in his lap and gave him water to sip as regained consciousness.

Hillsborough County Circuit Judge William Fuente released the juror, and the trial continued with the remaining six jurors and one alternate.

Further testimony included a Tampa police account of a confession of sorts that Cote Ferrer made after his arrest:

"I f------ offed somebody," he reportedly said.

Cote Ferrer's public defender, Rocky Brancato, told the jury the case wasn't about who did it, it was about Cote Ferrer's state of mind at the time of the killing. He said Cote Ferrer's state of mind did not meet the standard for a second-degree murder conviction. He said the defendant had not shown hatred, spite or intent.

The defense will present its case today.

John Barry can be reached at jbarry@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Young Tampa sisters describe horror of fatal machete attack on mother 08/30/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 10:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.