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Teen held in pregnant woman’s stabbing

She had refused an abortion, police in Southbridge say

By Gerard F. Russell
Worcester Telegram & Gazette / August 19, 2009

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SOUTHBRIDGE - A Southbridge teenager who police said wanted his former girlfriend to abort their baby, repeatedly stabbed the woman, leaving her seriously wounded, police said.

Alex Santana, 18, later said to police that he told his former girlfriend “she was going to abort the pregnancy ‘one way or the other.’ ’’

Police found Leah Diver, 28, lying in a pool of blood in the hallway of her apartment on Pine Street just after 2:30 a.m. Friday.

According to a police report in Dudley District Court, Diver told police Santana grabbed a knife during an argument and stabbed her several times. Santana then left the apartment through the back door.

Police Chief Daniel R. Charette said the baby survived the attack.

During a search of the apartment, detectives found a bloodied knife on the floor in the rear bedroom. The knife’s handle was broken.

While detectives were at the apartment, Southbridge police got a tip that Santana was at his mother’s apartment on Williams Street, where they arrested him.

Police said Santana had in his possession a black plastic knife handle, matching the broken knife found at the scene of the stabbing.

Santana was charged with armed assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was arraigned Friday afternoon in Dudley District Court, where a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Judge Robert G. Harbour ordered him held on $500,000 cash bail. The case was continued to Sept. 3.

After his arrest, police said Santana told them he and Diver had been arguing for the past several weeks “over the fact that she was pregnant with his child and he wanted her to have an abortion.’’

Police said in their report on the attack, “Diver was adamant about not aborting the pregnancy. Santana went to Diver’s residence with the intent to have Diver abort the pregnancy.’’

While at the Pine Street apartment, he told police, the two argued and Diver had a butter knife in her possession. He then picked up a knife and said he was going to show her how to use a knife, and then stabbed her.

But in another statement, Santana described a different set of events. He said he was standing behind Diver, who was sitting at a table, with his arms around her.

“At one point, Diver bit Santana in the left forearm,’’ the police report said. “After being bit, Santana stated he grabbed Diver in a headlock/choke hold and started to punch her. Santana then dragged Diver into a rear bedroom and threw her to the side. Santana then went back into the kitchen and grabbed the knife and returned to Diver and stabbed her.’’

Timothy Connolly, spokesman for Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., said Diver was in stable condition at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.