LOWELL — Firefighters arrived at Angela Aponte’s Lowell apartment at 9:56 a.m. on March 9, finding food burning on the stove and the 60-year-old woman dead on the floor.
The state medical examiner determined the victim suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck, bruising on her neck consistent with choking and a broken rib. The victim’s 32-inch television and cell phone were missing.
Police have charged the victim’s stepson, Jorge L. Aponte, 47, of 562 Essex St., Lawrence, with murder and armed robbery. Yesterday, he pleaded not guilty in Lowell District Court and is being held without bail, on suicide watch.
In arguing that Jorge L. Aponte be held without bail, prosecutor Cara Krysil noted the seriousness of the case and that Aponte has an 11-page record that dates back to 1983. Most of his convictions are for drug-related crimes — most recently he was arrested for armed robbery in Haverhill.
According to Krysil, shortly after 9 a.m. on March 9 Aponte was talking to a friend on the phone, explaining she was cooking breakfast for her stepson. Less than an hour later, a neighbor called 911 to report smoke coming from the victim’s apartment.
A security video from 9:30 a.m. that morning shows a man exiting her building carrying a flat-screen television. Another security video at the Gallagher Terminal in Lowell captured a man, covered in blood and carrying a flat-screen television, boarding a bus to Lawrence.
Police learned that Aponte tried to sell the television, Krysil said.
Investigators tracked the victim’s cell phone from Lowell to Aponte’s sister in Lawrence. The sister told police she bought the phone from Aponte, who allegedly told her he stole the phone from Angela in Lowell, the prosecutor said.
In court, defense attorney Debra DeWitt reserved her bail argument pending a probable-cause hearing on April 26.