As three paramedics and a West Hartford police officer tried to revive Suzete Berrincha inside an ambulance that was speeding to Hartford Hospital, her alleged attacker was crouching inside a garage trying to hide.
Berrincha, 22, a Hall High graduate, had been stabbed 12 times and died in an operating room at 5:08 p.m. Thursday, according to West Hartford police.
David Grant, 25, apparently upset because of a recent breakup with Berrincha, was taken into custody about an hour later and charged with murder.
On Friday, Grant, who was described in court papers as an unemployed financial adviser, appeared in Hartford Superior Court and was ordered held on bail set at $2 million. A probable cause hearing was scheduled Dec. 6 after Berrincha’s family objected to Dec. 1 – the victim’s birthday.
According to police, a doctor who treated Berrincha said she was stabbed at least 12 times, including four times in the chest and once beneath her neck. She was discovered in the basement of her home at 60 Westphal St. shortly after 4:15 p.m., lying on her back. She was not breathing, police said.
Berrincha was apparently surprised at her home by Grant, who was described as an on-and-off boyfriend for about eight years.
Grant’s father, Rupert, 54, told investigators his son appeared “infatuated” with Berrincha. Grant’s mother, Donna, 52, said Grant was struggling “to deal with being without her” after the couple's breakup in April.
Investigators spoke with Berrincha’s parents, Jose, 65, and Maria, 58, and a brother, Daniel, 24, at the hospital. Daniel indicated that his sister, who graduated from UConn in 2010, considered seeking a restraining order against Grant a couple of months ago.
Police said Grant, who lives with his family at 173 Simsbury Road, acknowledged going to the home to retrieve a debit card. He told police there was an argument and Berrincha reached for a knife in the kitchen. After a struggle, he told police they fell down the stairs into the basement.
Police said Grant admitted that he pulled his personal stainless steel folding knife and stabbed Berrincha as she screamed, first in the chest and then in the neck.
Police were alerted at 4:15 p.m. by a female neighbor who told investigators she saw Grant and Berrincha struggle outside the home, located between Prospect and Oakwood Avenues. The woman said Berrincha screamed for her to call 911.
According to a 33-page arrest report, the first officers to arrive initially believed Grant was inside the home. His white Nissan Altima was in the driveway. Officers entered with their guns drawn and found Berrincha near a washing machine with a wooden board, apparently from a shelf, covering her face.
All available police flooded the area, sealing off possible escape routes. Grant was last seen heading north through a yard toward Caya Avenue, where he apparently chose a detached garage at 116 Caya Ave. as a hiding place, police said.
Grant, also a Hall graduate who briefly attended Manchester Community College, did not resist arrest and police said his clothes were covered with blood.