Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a York City man accused of fatally stabbing his pregnant girlfriend in front of their 5-year-old daughter at a Manchester Township hotel in March.
Wilkins Gerard Marte-Escano, 28, had his formal court arraignment Thursday afternoon on charges of first- and third-degree murder, as well as first- and third-degree murder of an unborn child.
Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said if prosecutors win a conviction against Marte-Escano, they will argue four aggravating circumstances that warrant the death penalty.
Daughter nearby: The first two are grave risk to another person -- in this case, their young daughter -- and the fact that he knew the victim was pregnant, according to Barker.
The other two aggravating circumstances are dependent upon Marte-Escano being convicted of murder of an unborn child, the prosecutor said.
"We viewed these four aggravating circumstances to be of such a severe nature that they warranted this being a capital case," Barker said.
Public defender Ron Jackson, who represents Marte-Escano, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The background: Marte-Escano is accused of fatally stabbing Olga Vascones-Garcia, 24, on March 29 at the Super 8 hotel on Arsenal Road in Manchester Township.
Vascones-Garcia suffered two stab wounds to the chest, according to Northern York County Regional Police. She was 19-1/2 weeks pregnant, officials said, and her fetus died of extreme prematurity.
After being stabbed the first time, she and her daughter ran to the lobby of the motel, where the hotel manager called 911, police said.
Motel security video shows Vascones-Garcia fled the lobby when she saw Marte-Escano pursuing her with a knife in his hand, according to police. He then stabbed her a second time, police allege.
The couple and their daughter had lived in the 700 block of South Court Avenue but moved out and rented a room at Super 8 on March 28, police said.
Paternity issue: Marte-Escano and Vascones-Garcia were arguing at the motel over their daughter's paternity, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney has confirmed.
Marte-Escano may also have had concerns over the paternity of Vascones-Garcia's unborn child, the DA said, but those facts are still being sorted out.
Marte-Escano confessed to the stabbing, Kearney said.
-- Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.