A Kernersville man was convicted Tuesday on a charge that he slashed a woman’s throat twice on Salem Parkway in 2018. Just before he did it, he told the woman, “Happy Mother’s Day,” according to search warrants.
The woman survived the attack.
Rosendo Jimenez Santiago, 38, of Afton Park Drive, entered what is called an Alford plea to felony assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury in Forsyth Superior Court. He was initially charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury. An Alford plea means Santiago did not admit guilt but acknowledged that Forsyth County prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him if the case had gone to trial.
According to court documents, Assistant District Attorney Lizmar Bosques and Alan Doorasamy, Santiago’s attorney, agreed to a sentence — a minimum of one year, eight months and a maximum of three years. Judge Brian C. Wilks of Forsyth Superior Court handed down that sentence.
The attack happened just after 9:30 a.m. on May 11, 2018, on the side of the southbound lane of Salem Parkway near the Macy Grove exit. Kernersville police officers found the woman in her car on the side of the road. Large amounts of blood were found on the front seat of the car, according to search warrants.
The woman and Santiago, a married father of four children, had had an affair. According to search warrants, she and Santiago had arranged to meet on May 11, 2018, to discuss two topics — the fact that Santiago’s wife had found out about the affair and that the woman wanted to know where Santiago had bought her flowers in the past.
In an interview Tuesday, Doorasamy said that the woman and Santiago had broken off their relationship three months prior and that the woman had contacted Santiago about meeting.
Search warrants said the two came in separate cars and parked on the side of Salem Parkway and that Santiago got into the backseat of the woman’s car. They talked.
At some point in the conversation, Santiago told the woman, “Happy Mother’s Day,” and took some kind of sharp object, possibly a knife, and slashed the woman’s throat twice. Three witnesses told Kernersville police that Santiago drove away in a black Cadillac Escalade that police eventually discovered belonged to his wife, search warrants said.
The woman told police that she had bit Santiago, according to search warrants.
The woman had surgery at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.
Doorasamy said the case had been scheduled for a jury trial before he and Bosques worked out a plea deal in which his client did not have to admit guilt.
Santiago has reconciled with his wife and the rest of his family, which includes an older son who is in the U.S. Marines, a 14-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter, Doorasamy said. He said Santiago has worked his way up from being a cleaner at a restaurant to becoming a manager of the Mountain Fried Chicken restaurant in Clemmons.
He said Santiago met the woman, who worked as a waitress at a restaurant across from Mountain Fried Chicken.
Santiago had no prior criminal record and would have had a different version of what happened if the case had gone to trial, Doorasamy said.
“My client is not a predator. He is not a high-powered criminal,” he said. “He is a great father and a great husband but his emotions got carried away and got him into trouble.”