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Queens Chronicle

He slew wife in front of witnesses, DA says

Accused killer lay atop her body at Jackson Hts. spa when cops arrived

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Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:30 am

The man who allegedly stabbed his estranged wife to death in front of multiple witnesses at her Jackson Heights workplace was charged Monday with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, the Queens District Attorney’s Office reported.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay funeral costs for the victim, Carmen Iris Santiago, formerly of Corona, who went by Iris Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, 35, was stabbed multiple times in her torso at the Tu S’tilo Salon and Spa at 93-05 37 Ave. on Aug. 7. Still images taken from video footage shot inside the spa show at least two of her co-workers trying to prevent the killing, to no avail.

“This crime is a horrific act of domestic violence,” Acting District Attorney John Ryan said in a statement announcing the charges. “The defendant in this case allegedly burst into the salon as his wife worked and mercilessly stabbed herto death in front of horrified onlookers. The defendant — now in custody — faces the possibility of spending his life behind bars for his alleged actions.”

Police responded to the scene at about 7 p.m. Rodriguez’s husband, William Rivas, 39, was lying atop the victim as she lay dying, the DA’s office said. Some reports describe him as cradling her body. He was taken into custody at the scene without incident, according to police.

Both were transported to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where Rodriguez was pronounced dead, police said, though on Monday Rivas was in New York-Presbyterian Hospital Queens in Flushing, according to the DA’s office. He had a cut on one arm, police said.

He was arraigned from his hospital bed via video link on second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon charges. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

A GoFundMe page entitled “Ayuda para gastos de Funeraria de Iris Rodriguez,” or “Help with funeral expenses for Iris Rodriguez,” had raised $6,055 out of its $15,000 goal by late Wednesday morning. The fundraiser was organized by Yunia Tejada. A link to it is posted on the Facebook page of Tu S’tilo Salon and Spa.

A post from the spa put up before services for Rodriguez were held said her wake was set for Aug. 12 at the RG Ortiz Funeral Home in the Bronx and that she would be interred the next day in Rosedale Rosehill Cemetery in Linden, NJ.

“We are waiting for you as your prayers will help us,” the post said in Spanish, according to Facebook’s translator function. “To find tranquility in the midst of so much pain.”

The couple had lived on 57th Avenue in LeFrak City, according to the NYPD, though the victim’s Facebook page says she was living in the Bronx. They had two young children, according to published reports.

A number of people posted lamentations of Rodriguez’s death on her Facebook page, most of them in Spanish.

“May God have you in good place Iris,” reads one, according to the Facebook translator.

“My heart goes out to this woman,” reads another, posted in English. “I’m so saddened for her family and children ... The devil was inside that man … RIP SO SAD.”

A photo of two young boys, one just a baby, is the main image on the page. Rodriguez also posted a number of philosophical quotes, from Confucius, the Bible and more modern sources.

Rivas’ Facebook page showed very few posts, at least publicly. It did contain a photo of himself with Rodriguez and the elder of their two sons, all looking happy amidst a stand of trees. The page says that Rivas “left” Newtown High School in 1999, without saying whether he had graduated.

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