Norwich man said he killed pregnant wife because she was a "voodoo priestess"

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Norwich — A 39-year-old man charged with fatally stabbing his pregnant wife, Margarette Mady, on Thursday and setting fire to their Norwich apartment told city police he killed her because he believed she was "a voodoo priestess" who planned to kill him by July 1 as a sacrifice before her baby girl was to be born.

Patrick Antoine, 39, of 283-285 Franklin St., Apt. 2B, was arraigned Friday in Superior Court on charges of murder and first-degree arson.

Judge Arthur C. Hadden set his bond at $2 million cash or surety, citing the seriousness of the charge, the "horrific" circumstances, the risk of flight and the public safety risk.

Hadden transferred the case to the New London court where major crimes are tried and gave Antoine a new court date of June 20.

Police said Mady was severely burned and had mutliple stab wounds to her upper and lower extremities and defensive wounds on her hands when firefighters removed her from the home.

A woman who answered the phone at the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Friday afternoon said the office was still waiting for a positive identification of Mady and could not yet release the cause and manner of death.

While family members said they were uncertain of Mady's age, public records indicate she was 42.

At the arraignment, Antoine wore a white paper jumpsuit and stood between attorney Richard Perry from the public defender's office and a creole interpreter.

Bail Commissioner Lois DuPointe said Antoine, who had worked at Foxwoods, had no prior criminal record. His immigration status is unclear.

The husband and wife were both natives of Haiti. 

Relatives said the victim, who had emigrated in 2000 and worked as a housekeeper at Foxwoods Resort Casino, was a U.S. citizen.

The victim's adult son — she also had a grown daughter, relatives said — attended the arraignment and sat between other female relatives.

When judicial marshals led Antoine into the courtroom, the women appeared to be holding back the son, who remained quiet but appeared highly agitated. 

According to the police report, written by Detective Kevin Wilbur, Antoine drove to police headquarters on Thames at 10:48 a.m., walked into the front lobby covered in blood and told Officer Thomas Lawton, "I'm here. My wife is dead."

He went on to tell Sgt. Jonathan Ley, "I killed my wife" and admitted he had set fire to the Franklin Street apartment and that his wife was "still there."

Because of Antoine's heavy Haitian accent, the police arranged for an interpreter from Mohegan Sun to assist in a more formal interview.

After waiving his rights, Antoine told detectives that he and his wife had been arguing Thursday morning.

He said she was a voodoo priestess who had cast several spells on him over the last couple of years. 

He also said he believed the unborn child was not his and that his wife had told him on multiple occasions "that he would be dead by July 1 as a sacrifice prior to the child being born."

"The accused truly believed the victim was going to kill him and had been making him deathly ill over the past couple of years," the police report said.

Antoine said that while arguing in the kitchen, Mady walked away and he grabbed a wooden-handled steak knife and put it in his pajama pants pocket.

He said Mady's phone rang and she spoke briefly with her brother and sister before the argument continued in the bedroom.

Antoine said Mady pushed him, and he took the knife from his pocket and stabbed her mutliple times — he said he did not remember how many — in the head and foot areas. 

Antoine said he used a Bic lighter to set the curtains in the bedroom, living room and bathroom on fire and left the home.

Detective Joseph Lombardi of the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit identified multiple points of the origin of fire within the apartment "with no plausible ignition sources outside the introduction of a flame by human hands," according to the report.

He also located a brown-handled knife, believed to be the murder weapon, in the bedroom.

The state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad processed the scene for evidence and conducted a survey of the victim's body.

The victim's family members, their eyes hollow with grief, were at the Franklin Street home Friday.

Beneath a window that had been knocked out by firefighters, someone had tied two purple star-shaped balloons to a stairwell and left a bouquet of flowers.

"God, you don't think something like this is going to happen," said Mady's uncle, Sterne Baptiste, who owns the Franklin Street home.

He said the family and other tenants are staying in a hotel and he is working with an insurance carrier.

Like others in the family, he had heard rumors that Antoine killed his niece because he thought she was about to kill him in a voodoo sacrifice.

"When somebody gets to be crazy, they say anything," Baptiste said. "My niece has been a Jehovah Witness all her life. She didn't know anything about voodoo."

Mady was happy to be having another child, he said, and her friends and relatives had thrown a baby shower last month for her.

"I don't know what went wrong," Baptiste said.

A cousin, who declined to give her name, said Mady was a good person who had helped raise her.

She said the family is close and that they had problems with Antoine.

"One day he was happy, the next day he thought everyone was against him," the cousin said.

Antoine faces up to 85 years in prison if convicted of murder and first-degree arson.

k.florin@theday.com

Editor's note: Commenting on this article has been suspended due to repeated violations of our commenting policy.

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