FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man who confessed to stabbing his wife to death in the parking lot of Broward Health Coral Springs was formally charged with first-degree murder Wednesday.
Philip Matthew, 34, had his arms wrapped in bandages from self-inflicted knife wounds. According to prosecutors, Matthew had threatened to kill his wife, 26-year-old Merin Joy, before.
Joy was killed early Tuesday morning. Police say witnesses reported that someone stabbed Joy several times in the parking lot of the medical facility where she worked as a nurse.
“He stabbed her multiple times and then after he stabbed her, leaving her body on the ground, he then proceeded to run over the victim showing clear intent,” Assistant State Attorney Eric Linder said.
Police found Matthew at a nearby hotel. After taking him to the hospital for cuts on his arm, investigators say he told them he killed his wife because she was cheating on him.
Walter Miller, an assistant public defender, argued that it was not a calculated crime.
“A depraved heart or a crime of passion is not premeditation, and therefore this is second degree, not first degree,” he said.
Deputies determined that Matthew had bought a knife, hammer and other items from a Home Depot before the incident, according to court proceedings.
Linder said there were clear signs of premeditation.
“Your honor, he drove to her location of her place of work and laid in wait for her to leave,” Linder told the judge. “This was not a random encounter.”
Jared Smith, CEO of Broward Health Coral Springs, released a statement Wednesday saying: “We are heartbroken over the loss of Merin. She was a part of our family, and there are no words to describe our emotions. We offer our most sincere condolences to her family.”
According to prosecutors, Joy was able to make a dying declaration, telling investigators that it was her husband who killed her.
Matthew is being jailed without bond and undergoing a mental health screening at his attorney’s request.