‘Revenge and manipulation’: Trial begins for man accused of murdering ex-girlfriend in Worcester bar

WORCESTER, Mass. — The trial is underway for the man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend inside a crowded Worcester restaurant.  The victim, Amanda Dabrowski, 31 of Webster, had joined a book club, which met at the O’Connor’s Restaurant and Bar once a month. That’s where the suspect, Carlos Asencio, allegedly tracked her down.

The Worcester prosecutors say the Asencio found her there and attacked her in act of revenge over a breakup. The defense argues this was the result of mental illness.

25 Investigates has followed this story since the beginning.

We reported Amanda was stabbed multiple times. The original police reports stated at least 30 times. Monday, we learned Amanda had been stabbed 58 times the night was murdered.

The stabbing lasted all of 55 seconds...according to the prosecution.

“You’re going to hear medical testimony that the defendant stabbed her with two knives, one in each hand, 58 times. That’s a rate of 3-4 stab wound a second,” said Assistant District Attorney, Tiffany Scanlon.

“Revenge and manipulation. That’s what this case is about,” Scanlon said during opening arguments.

“The defendant is not contesting the killing of Amanda Dabrowski. That happened. What happened was a result of his mental illness,” argued defense attorney, Robert Griffin during his opening arguments.

Beth Dabrowski, Amanda’s mom was the first witness.

“Amanda is a beautiful, compassionate, intelligent young woman. My first-born daughter,” Dabrowski told jurors.

Carlos Asencio trial begins

WATCH LIVE: Opening statements in trial of man accused of murdering girlfriend in crowded Worcester restaurant.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Monday, June 12, 2023

Dabrowski testified her daughter was a graduate of Northeastern University. In 2019, Amanda was working at pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb as a quality control microbiologist, where she met and briefly dated Asencio.

From there, witness after witness, restaurant workers and customers recalled being in O’connors the night of July 3rd, 2019 and hearing a woman scream.

“I heard really loud screaming,” said Casey O’Brien, a former O’Connor’s worker. “I saw him stabbing her,” she said. “She was trying to fight”

And, several witnesses them stepped in to help.

“I seen a man bending over a woman, his arms flailing at his sides. I saw a man assaulting a woman and I tried to stop him,” said Witness Allen Corson.

Allen Corson was eating at O’Connor’s with his family that night when he too heard Amanda’s screams.

“I was able to put my arms under his elbows and made it so his arms couldn’t move,” Corson said. “All he would say was kill me now, I deserve to die”

“I helped tackle him to the ground. I pulled him to the ground,” said witness Noah Dion.

“We shoved him to the ground,” said witness Richard Dion. “I secured the knife from him.”

“We’re all struggling, I hear ‘knife, knife’…” said witness James Salsman. “Out of the righthand side of the pile, a hand came out with a knife.”

Once Asencio was secured, the attention shifted to Amanda.

“She was in a seated position with her back up against the wall. I took a knee at her left side,” Salsman said. “I took my belt and tried to tourniquet her left arm.”

Salsman said a nurse also stepped in to help Amanda and was instructing the others how to help her best.

Amanda was awake and alert when she left the restaurant, the prosecution stated. She started losing consciousness in the ambulance and later died in the hospital.

The public could not see it in open court, but jurors had to watch a surveillance video that showed this entire event playing out. The room was silent as the video played. 17 witnesses took the stand on the opening day of the trial.

As we have reported, investigators say Asencio tried to kill Amanda in an initial attack three months before her death. It was a home invasion at the home she rented in Ayer. He’s then accused of fleeing the country, from Canada to Mexico and sneaking back into the U.S., and tracking her down in the days leading up to her murder.

That home invasion attack will be tried separately.

On Tuesday, jurors are expected to make a field visit to O’connor’s Restaurant. Testimony will resume in the afternoon.

Previous coverage:

25 Investigates: man accused of murdering woman at Worcester restaurant seeking insanity defense

25 Investigates: Trial date set for the murder of Amanda Dabrowski

25 Investigates: Family of woman murdered in Worcester settles suit against her former employer

Justice and answers on hold for parents of woman murdered at popular Worcester restaurant a year ago

Woman stabbed inside Worcester restaurant has died; N.H. man charged with murder

Man accused of killing woman at restaurant allegedly attacked her at home in April

Man accused of murdering ex-girlfriend may have been tracking her location

Man accused of killing ex-girlfriend fled, re-entered US before alleged murder

Woman stabbed in Worcester restaurant sought help from police before murder

25 Investigates: Local woman fired 2 days after surviving domestic violence

Man accused of killing ex-girlfriend to remain in hospital, judge rules

Court docs: Suspect attacked ex at home, Worcester restaurant after breakup

Mass. congressman ‘frustrated’ by lack of answers from feds in Worcester murder

Worcester murder victim attempted to protect herself from man accused of killing her

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