What should have been a morning of celebration and new beginnings on Friday turned to terror when a woman and her baby daughter witnessed the murder of a relative at a house in Morvant.
Police said Darrel Villafana, 42, was at home at Geranium Drive at around 4 am on January 1 when two men armed with cutlasses stormed the house and chopped him to death.
A relative who was at the house at the time begged Villafana’s killers to spare her life and the life of her month-old daughter.
Speaking with Newsday at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Monday, the relative recalled the horror of seeing Villafana being chopped to death, saying both she and her daughter were still traumatised.
“My daughter, as young as she is, I think is still affected by the attack. She doesn’t sleep for very long and she wakes up crying ever since the incident. So I don’t know if it’s because she still remembers the screaming from that morning or what.
“It’s really hard that I had to see that. She is a newborn, I have to try and stay strong for her, because she is still breastfeeding, so she will be taking all of my energy.
“Every time I close my eyes to try and sleep, I keep seeing it happening all over again.”
The relative said she held onto her daughter during the attack and one of the men approached them, prompting her to beg for her daughter’s life.
The woman also said she was numbed after seeing the attack on her relative and was not fazed by having to identify Villafana’s body at the centre.
“They (relatives) were telling me how gruesome it would be to have to identify his body. But after what I saw, with all that blood, I don’t think anything can shock me again after that.”
Relatives said they suspect Villafana’s murder was linked to a dispute he had with another man over a woman with whom he recently began a relationship.
They said Villafana was threatened by the woman’s ex-lover, but they only learned of the threats after his murder.
Newsday also spoke to Villafana’s ex-wife Shenelle Turpin, who said she was devastated by his death.
Police said one man has been arrested.
Asked if these arrests brought them any closure, Turpin said while she was happy the police were working on the case, the wounds were still too fresh to say for certain.
“In a way yes and in a way no. because he is still dead and nothing in the world will bring him back.
“Darrel’s little son is seven years old and he cries every minute saying, ‘I have no Daddy again.'”
Turpin said Villafana would have celebrated his birthday on Tuesday and lamented the bloody start to the new year.
Relatives described him as a loving man who worked different jobs to support his family and lived for his children.
Villafana’s murder was the first recorded for 2021.
The murder toll for the year as of Monday afternoon stood at three.