RUSSELLVILLE — A man with a history of domestic violence convictions is in police custody at a regional hospital after police said he killed his wife and then tried to kill himself.
Angel Campos, 33, has been charged with murder in connection with the Friday morning stabbing death of his estranged wife, Lesley Hope Plott, 25, Russellville.
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said Campos, who has been living at a residence on Franklin 48 in Russellville, remains in Huntsville Hospital with police officers stationed near his room. Hargett said Campos has two or three stab wounds that appear to be self-inflected.
Police said Plott's body was found about 1:30 a.m. Friday on the side of North Jackson Avenue, near the entrance to Good Shepherd Catholic Church.
Authorities said they have three children, and Plott has another child from a previous relationship.
"There are still a lot of questions to answer," Hargett said. "We don't know what triggered this." He said investigators hope to question Campos within the next few days.
"From what we can determine at this point, this was a domestic situation that got out of hand and led to an assault and murder," Hargett said.
Franklin County court officials said Campos has two prior domestic violence third-degree assault convictions from 2003 and 2004.
Police said the woman's body was lying on the east side of Jackson Avenue, almost in a ditch near the Wilson Boulevard intersection. Police said a nearby resident called 911 to report the situation.
Hargett said officers arrived to find Campos sitting inside a Lincoln Navigator the couple had been in earlier. Campos already had been stabbed.
Plott was pronounced dead at the scene by Franklin County Coroner Elzie Malone.
Her body was sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy.
Hargett said the autopsy will reveal the cause of death. Emergency workers said Plott appeared to have been beaten and stabbed multiple times.
The chief said it appears Plott was attacked with a knife found inside the car, adding two or three bloody knives were found inside the vehicle. Another knife was found outside the car.
The knives will be sent to the forensic lab to be examined.
Investigators said Campos and Plott were separated and Plott and her children were staying with family members who live on North Jackson Avenue.
"They had been out of town and had just gotten back around 11:30 Thursday night," Hargett said. "She was taking (Campos) to his house to get his car so he could go to work, and they apparently got into a fight."
Family members reported the couple were arguing earlier in the day.
Authorities said Plott was the victim in the two domestic violence cases that led to convictions against Campos.
Rachel Cabaniss, executive director at Safeplace, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter for adults and children, said Plott was a client.
"It's just so sad," she said of Plott's death. "This is a tragedy, and if anything good can come out of this, maybe it will be that other victims out there can recognize the situation they're in and realize that maybe this could happen to them. Just because they don't think their spouse or partner is capable of murder doesn't mean something like this will never happen."
Angelique Madden said Plott will be remembered as someone "very responsible, very loving and someone who loved her children."
"They were her life," said Madden, who worked with Plott. "She was such a sweet and precious person." Madden said Plott was bilingual, speaking English and Spanish fluently.
She said Plott often helped Spanish-speaking residents who made visits to the hospital, local clinics and doctors' offices. Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said Plott also was a translator who assisted court proceedings.
"This is situation is bad enough, and then you add in the fact that four small children are now without a mother, it just makes it worse."
A bail hearing was held Friday afternoon by District Judge Paula McDowell. Campos is represented by court-appoint attorney Rebecca Thomason.
Court officials said McDowell set Campos' bail at $500,000 and he waived his initial appearance in court until released from the hospital. Authorities said hospital officials report Campos is to be released by late next week.
Rushing said the charges against Campos could be upgraded to capital murder.
"If it is determined the assault led to the death — that it happened in the car, we will look at upgrading the charges," he said.
Alabama Bureau of Investigation agents are assisting Russellville police.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.