Woman accused of murdering fiancé returns to court after SJC overturns murder charge dismissal
WORCESTER — A woman accused of fatally stabbing her fiancé eight years ago, returned to Worcester Superior Court Tuesday morning for trial after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned a murder charge dismissal in her case.
Stephanie Fernandes, 39, is alleged to have stabbed her fiancé to death on May 7, 2014, in their Worcester townhouse located at 25 Angelo Street. Her fiancé, Andrew Wagner, 31, was a corrections officer in Connecticut originally from West Springfield.
In 2016, Worcester Superior Court Judge Janet Kenton-Walker dismissed the murder charge because the prosecution failed to advise the grand jury on mitigating evidence they had introduced. The SJC vacated the dismissal, which sent Fernandes’ case back to Worcester Superior Court.
Fernandes’ lawyer claims she was a battered woman acting in self-defense, while the prosecution alleges that Fernandes simply murdered Wagner.
The day Wagner died, he was stabbed in the neck, slicing his carotid artery. According to court documents, after the stabbing incident, Fernandes ran to her neighbor’s house to call 911.
According to the Telegram & Gazette, the opinions written by the justices at the SJC indicated that Fernandes and Wagner were in a tumultuous relationship, which provided evidence to support claims that Fernandes was acting in self-defense and also the aggressor in this, and prior, relationships.
The evidence discussed in the SJC’s rulings included testimony from a police officer who said that Fernandes had visible bruises the night Wagner was stabbed. The justices also said that days before the stabbing incident, Wagner threatened to kill Fernandes over text message.
The justices said that the grand jury also heard evidence from witnesses who testified that Fernandes had a history of anger problems and physically abused Wagner, stabbing him once prior to the murder. Witness testimony also alleges that Fernandes threatened a former boyfriend with a knife as well.
In May 2014, Fernandes was arraigned on a manslaughter charge. The following year, she was indicted for murder and a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Last year – in 2021 – Wagner’s family was awarded $35 million in a wrongful death civil suit they filed against Fernandes in Hampden Superior Court.
News Link Live will have more on the trial when it becomes available.