San Diego Fil-Am pleads not guilty to murder in wife’s stabbing

Rhona Fantone

A FILIPINO American man accused of stabbing his wife to death at their home in San Diego, California pleaded not guilty to murder on Tuesday, April 27.

Jay Barcelon, 31, is accused in the killing of Rhona Fantone, 30, at their home at 2200 Dain Court, Lemon Grove on April 16.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to the home for a domestic incident with a male and a female reportedly arguing. When deputies arrived, they heard screaming inside the residence and forced entry when nobody answered the door.

“Based on the investigation, homicide detectives concluded Jay stabbed Rhona while inside the residence. Jay also sustained injuries during the altercation,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on April 17.

The couple was transported to a local hospital, but Fantone was pronounced dead on arrival due to the serious injuries she sustained in the assault.

Meanwhile, Barcelon underwent medical treatment and was later arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody without bail, but a bail review hearing was scheduled for next week.

Fantone and her family moved to the United States from the Philippines in the early 2000s.

She had two children, ages 9 and 11, from a previous relationship. She was a dedicated certified nursing assistant at Sharp Coronado Hospital and was set on becoming a nurse, according to her family.

“She’s a frontliner. She survived taking care of COVID patients and in general, sick people. But she didn’t survive this tragedy. It’s very sad,” her sister Rhoda told ABS-CBN.

Rhoda also said that she received a call from her sister the night of the tragedy.

“She was telling me to tell her two kids that she loves them so much like repeatedly telling me to ‘tell my kids I love them so much. Please tell them,’ she kept reiterating those words,” said Rhoda.

A GoFundMe page for Fantone was set up by her family to help with funeral expenses and to help her two children financially.

Victims of domestic violence can call the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200. In an emergency, call 9-1-1. They can also call the San Diego County Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline 1-888-DVLINKS (385-4657) for emergency assistance or ongoing needs.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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