25 Investigates: Man convicted in murder of ex-girlfriend takes plea deal for home invasion

WOBURN, Mass — The man sentenced to life in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend inside a Worcester restaurant in 2019 agreed to a plea deal Thursday for separate home invasion charges.

Carlos Asencio was sentenced to life in prison back in June for the murder of his former work colleague and ex-girlfriend, 31-year-old Amanda Dabrowski.

Before the brutal attack at O’Connor’s Restaurant in Worcester in July 2019, police accused Asencio of breaking into Dabrowski’s home in Ayer, MA, and attacking her months earlier during a violent home invasion in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday, 2019.

But Dabrowski fought him off in that first attack, police said.

Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Chris Tarrant said Asencio struck Dabrowski with an electronic stun gun.

“Amanda managed to grab a knife from her kitchen and attempted to stab the defendant in the chest and upper back,” Tarrant said in Woburn court Thursday.

More than four years later, Asencio stood in a courtroom in Woburn to plead guilty to a 10-count indictment related to that attack.

Middlesex County Superior Court Judge James Beaudreau asked him: “Are those the things that you did?”

Asencio said: “Yes it was under a psychotic episode, but yes I am pleading guilty to it.”

Asencio pleaded guilty to ten counts related to that attack – and will serve another ten years concurrent with his life sentence.

As 25 Investigates has documented, Asencio fled after the attack – driving to Montreal, then flying to Cancun, Mexico.

“When the defendant crossed the Canadian border he was in possession of a heavy-duty ballistics vest,” Tarrant said.

Despite active warrants, he snuck back into the country. He tracked Dabrowski by taping a cell phone to her car and followed her to O’Connor’s restaurant in Worcester in July 2019.

There, he entered with two large knives and he brutally stabbed her dozens of times as other restaurant patrons tried to save her.

The Dabrowski family sat in the hearing on Thursday via Zoom – perhaps the final time they’ll have to face their daughter’s killer.

In a text message to 25 Investigates Reporter Kerry Kavanaugh following the hearing, Dabrowski’s father Ed said his family now has some closure.

He’d met Dabrowski at work and they dated for just 3 months before she broke it off.


As 25 Investigations has documented, Amanda notified her employer of the Easter Sunday attack but learned she was terminated just two days later.

Massachusetts has employment protections for victims of domestic violence, up to 15 days of leave. But right now, it only applies to full-time employees. Amanda was a contracted worker. Proposed legislation would provide 15 days of leave in any 12-month period if the contract worker is a victim of abusive behavior.

25 Investigates was there in May when the Dabrowskis took their fight to the state house for the third consecutive session for legislation in their daughter’s honor.

Her family’s led their fight for such legislation since 2020.

The bill was voted out of the Workforce Development Committee and now sits in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

A spokesperson for Sen. Michael Rodrigues, a Ways and Means Committee chair and Democrat said lawmakers haven’t acted on the legislation yet because they’re still working on finalizing the supplemental budget.

“Once we get the budget out of the way, the staff should start to work on that,” he said.

Lawmakers officially get back to work in early 2024 for the second year of the two-year legislative session.

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