Hazleton Woman To Stand Trial For Boyfriend’s Murder

February 7, 2020 GMT

WILKES-BARRE — A Hazleton woman accused of fatally stabbing her boyfriend during a confrontation late last year waived her right to a preliminary hearing Friday morning.

Marlin Florentino Batista, 43, waived the hearing in exchange for prosecutors agreeing to quickly turn over to the defense surveillance footage of the incident as well as a recording of Florentino Batista’s statement to police, defense attorney Demetrius Fannick said. The defense will later file a motion for discovery to get the remainder of the evidence against Florentino Batista, he said.

After asking if Florentino Batista — who requires a Spanish interpreter, understood what was happening — Magisterial District Judge Joseph D. Zola ordered an open count of criminal homicide bound over to county court for trial.

As police escorted her out of the courthouse, Florentino Batista maintained her innocence.

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“Innocent, that is what I am,” she said in Spanish.

Florentino Batista is accused of stabbing 23-year-old Jose Luis Jimenez in the area of Chapel Street and Filmore Court the morning of Dec. 13. Jimenez died at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest two days later.

Florentino Batista, who brought Jimenez to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton, initially told police Jimenez had been shot near Chapel Street and that she gave him a ride after he flagged her down.

But prosecutors say Florentino Batista later admitted to stabbing Jimenez during a domestic dispute that began the evening of Dec. 12. Jimenez insulted her and slapped her face, the only time he ever hit her, according to the charges.

While Florentino Batista claimed she only wanted to scare Jimenez when she stabbed him, surveillance footage that captured the incident showed her repeatedly stabbing Jimenez as he tried to escape, according to prosecutors.

The footage shows the pair fighting in the area of Chapel Street and Filmore Court before Florentino Batista goes inside to get something, prosecutors say. The charges allege that after she emerged from her home, Florentino Batista slashed at Jiminez at least 10 times, slicing into his right ventricle as he tried to escape.

Afterward, Florentino Batista got into her vehicle and chased after him, exiting the camera view, prosecutors say.

According to the charges, Jimenez was unarmed at the time of the attack and didn’t pose a threat to Florentino Batista.

She continues to be held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail.