NEW BRITAIN - Now that the suspect in the killing of 27-year-old Alice Figueroa has been arrested, a vigil in her memory is scheduled for Saturday in the area of 347 Arch St., across from the basketball courts.
Genisis Figueroa, 28, a sister of the victim, said the location of is outside the apartment Alice Figueroa had moved to in an effort to get away from her boyfriend, Benjamin Morales, the suspected killer.
Alice Figueroa had slept there for two nights before she was shot to death on Feb. 4 at her old apartment on Elam Street.
Morales was arrested Tuesday, the day he turned 43, in Georgetown County, South Carolina, by U.S. Marshals with the assistance of local deputies and SWAT team members after U.S. Marshals in Connecticut learned he might have been in that state.
A member of the U.S. Marshals’ office in Hartford declined to comment on how Morales ended up in South Carolina and was located, beyond the use of usual investigative methods.
New Britain police did not return a request for comment on Wednesday, but said Tuesday that Morales was being detained and held in South Carolina until he is extradited to Connecticut. He is being held by U.S. Marshals, Jason Lesley, public information officer with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, said Wednesday.
The family of Alice Figueroa will have necklaces, T-shirts and placards for sale at the vigil, Genesis Figueroa said. Attendees are encouraged to wear black and purple, Alice Figueroa’s favorite colors, and bring stories, teddy bears, balloons, candles and anything else they may desire, Genesis Figueroa said.
The proceeds will benefit Alice’s three children, ages 7, 3 and 2, she added. Morales was the father of the youngest two, Genesis Figueroa said, and the father of the eldest is involved in trying to help the family. The children are staying with family and doing well, she said. The eldest was in school but is being homeschooled out of safety precautions, she added, and is being told that his mother is in heaven now looking over the family. The child is not being told the cause of her death, Genesis Figueroa said.
The funds will also go toward the creation of a new domestic violence shelter entirely in memory of Alice Figueroa through her mother’s 73 Arch St. church, Genesis Figueroa said.
Alice Figueroa was trying to get out of an abusive relationship with Morales and into a domestic violence shelter, but there was no available space for her, Genesis Figueroa said.
Morales Was physically abusive toward Alice Figueroa, wouldn’t let her go outside to shop and would wait for her outside her family’s home when she would visit them, Genesis Figueroa said.
The family had planned to open a shelter through the church before Alice Figueroa’s death, but now is more determined, Genesis Figueroa said. The shelter, which has a fundraising goal of $5,000, would provide counseling and other services, beyond just a place to sleep.
“You don’t know,” who may actually be in a domestic violence relationship, as often it’s hidden in the “shadows,” Genesis Figueroa said.
The vigil will be attended by police for safety precautions, Genesis Figueroa said.
“I just want justice,” said Genesis Figueroa on the arrest of Morales. Her family, which includes an older sister and two younger brothers, is planning on being at every court appearance. A small funeral was held last month with just the siblings present, out of safety concerns, Genesis Figueroa said.
Two family members of Morales were arrested last month for allegedly providing him assistance. A Putnam man was also arrested and accused of aiding Morales.
Virgen Figueroa, who is not related to Alice, was reported missing the week of the shooting and believed to be with Morales until she turned herself in to police later that same week.
Morales was dating Virgen Figueroa while he also dating Alice Figueroa, police said, but declined to say if she was with the suspect voluntarily or against her will.
Virgen Figueroa had an apartment with Morales in Hartford, Genesis Figueroa said.
Genesis Figueroa said she hopes Morales gets the maximum sentence so he can sit in prison all day, unable to see his children, similar to how her family can’t see Alice Figueroa any more. There’s no death penalty in Connecticut, she added, but the rest of her family wishes that punishment could be given to Morales.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.