Sioux Falls, SD
Bond is set at $1 million for the man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death, while her children were in the other room. Michael Richard Martinez, 28, faces second degree murder and first degree manslaughter charges. Police arrested Martinez after 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. Authorities say he stabbed his girlfriend, Beverly Guerra, 21, with a kitchen knife.
The two lived in an apartment on South Rock Creek Drive, which is near 26th Street and Cleveland Avenue. Investigators spent the afternoon searching for evidence. A neighbor spotted the commotion early on.
"I let my dog outside and there was a cop car and an ambulance in the parking lot," Amber Lukehart said.
Lukehart, who lives in a different building nearby, was not sure what was happening at first. She found out later on in the day.
"It's scary," Lukehart said.
Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said Guerra had 14 stab wounds. It appears seven are in her chest, leaving three wounds in her heart. There are also two wounds on her back, her lungs are punctured.
Guerra's six-year-old and three-year-old were in a back room of the apartment. Lt. Matt Burns with the Sioux Falls Police Department said it appears Martinez and Guerra were fighting, and this outcome shines a light on the seriousness of domestic violence.
"You can get help, and spread that word to have folks realize you can break that cycle and get out of that. If that's what occurred here," Burns said.
Investigators are interviewing neighbors to piece together what caused the fight, and why it escalated. Though Lukehart did not see, or hear anything, she feels the impact of this homicide.
"Sad for everybody around. For all the neighbors and anybody that was close to this people," Lukehart said.
Police said Martinez is the one who called them, and he tried to save Guerra. He faces life in prison, if convicted. He has been in trouble with the law before. His record includes charges for drugs, aggravated assault, drunk driving, and a weapons violation.