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Man charged with stabbing

Question remains if victim is pregnant or not

August 18, 2009


SOUTHBRIDGE — Claiming that he told police he was "going to abort the pregnancy 'one way or the other,'" court documents accuse a young Southbridge man of trying to murder his pregnant girlfriend over the weekend.

Alex Santana, 18, faces trial for assault with intent to murder and assault with a dangerous weapon (knife). He's being held on $500,000 cash bail or $5 million surety at Worcester County House of Correction.

Very early Friday morning, police received a 911 call reporting that a woman was bleeding and allegedly stabbed at 78 Pine St. When Officer Michael Corriveau arrived just after 2:30 a.m., he found Leah Diver, 28, "laying on her right side in a large puddle of blood."

She was still conscious, telling him she had just had an argument with Santana and "had been stabbed several times." Santana, however, had already fled the scene.

Diver "became very weak and began falling in and out of consciousness" before the ambulance arrived, Corriveau wrote.

Police Chief Daniel Charette said paramedics stabilized her and took her to Harrington Hospital and then UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where she was "doing OK" as of Tuesday morning. UMass, however, claims to have no record of her admittance at either University or Memorial campuses.

"It's a bit of an unusual case because this young lady appears to have no real local connections here," he said.

He added that police are in fact not certain Diver is pregnant.

"What we were going by was the statement of the victim and her friends," Charette said. "We are not positive of that. It was not physically apparent."

One neighbor, Kurt Young, of 76 Pine St., said Diver's father told him she is not pregnant, but has a cyst on her ovary that "gives off the medical impression she was pregnant."

"According to her dad, there is no baby," Young said. "… To me, she is a real good person … [but] you could see there were problems over there" between Diver and Santana.

Diver has relatives in Chicopee, Young said, but they have no listed phone numbers. Diver lived at 76 Pine St until a year ago, Young said, however the 2007 street list and phone book lists her as living on Morris Street. He claimed she was "in the process of being evicted" when the incident occurred.

Speaking under condition of anonymity, an officer involved in the investigation said police have had previous incidents with both Santana and Diver. Santana, he said, has a fairly long juvenile record and Diver was recently assaulted by another woman. Police had not had previous incidents involving the two of them together, and there's no record of restraining orders between them, he added.

Courthouse records say Detective Scott Bailey found the bloody blade of a silver knife in a back bedroom, and it was later matched with a black plastic handle Santana had on his person when he was arrested at his mother's apartment.

Santana "was willing to provide and audio/video recorded confession," Corriveau's report states, but that included "three different versions of what occurred."

The court report, however, only lists two of them, but notes the case is still being investigated. In one, Santana claimed Diver had a butter knife and he "grabbed another knife and told Diver he was going to show her how to use a knife" before stabbing her. In the other, he claimed he was standing behind her while she was seated at a table. She allegedly bit him, and he put her in a headlock or chokehold and punched her, dragged her to the bedroom then returned to the kitchen for the knife, Corriveau wrote.

Gus Steeves can be reached at 508-909-4135 or by e-mail at gsteeves@stonebridgepress.com.

Check back here at www.theheartofmassachusetts.com throughout the day and tomorrow for updates to this story. Also, pick up the Southbridge Evening News on Wednesday, Aug. 19 to read this story.

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