Riverside man reaches plea deal in 2020 murder of girlfriend

A Riverside man accused of stabbing his girlfriend in front of her 9-year-old daughter took a plea deal Monday, just one day before jury selection was scheduled to begin for his trial.

Bayron Fajardo-Gonzalez, 34, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder after fatally stabbing his girlfriend at her Riverside home, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney.

“This plea will not bring the victim back, nor will it erase the brutal acts her young daughter witnessed,” Mr. Tierney said in a statement Tuesday. “However, this defendant will now serve an extensive prison sentence and her family and loved ones can hopefully rest a little easier knowing that the defendant has been brought to justice.”

According to court documents, Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez had been arguing with the victim, Tania Fox, 45, earlier in the evening on Aug. 10, 2020 and arrived home to find Ms. Fox and her daughter locked themselves in the child’s bedroom to avoid him.

He then went outside and broke a window to the bedroom and made his way inside the house, causing Ms. Fox and her daughter to run upstairs and hide in an attic.

From there, the DA said Ms. Fox quietly called a cousin and told her “If anything happens to me, Bayron is guilty. Please take care of [my daughter.]”

Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez then stabbed Ms. Fox “multiple times in the chest” while her daughter was next to her, according to a criminal complaint.

The child was able to escape the attic and dial 911, the DA said, and officers from the Southampton Town Police Department arrived at the Ludlam Avenue home moments later and took Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez into custody.

Ms. Fox was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where she was later pronounced dead.

A mother of four, Ms. Fox was described by relatives at the time as being a selfless hard worker that “went above and beyond” for everyone around her. She had worked as a cook’s helper at a nearby Head Start program.

After an initial appearance in Southampton Town Justice Court, Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez was indicted by a grand jury for the murder and remanded to county jail.

The case was prosecuted by assistant district attorney John Scarglato of the narcotics bureau and assistant district attorney Melissa Grier of the of the child abuse and domestic violence bureau, according to a press release.

Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez is facing 20 years to life in prison and will be sentenced before Judge Anthony Senft in Suffolk County Court in Riverside on April 27.