A Taunton man accused of strangling the mother of his 3-year-old daughter was arraigned today on a charge of first degree murder.
A Taunton man accused of strangling the mother of his 3-year-old daughter was arraigned today on a charge of first-degree murder.
Authorities say Souleymane Yacouba-Issa, 34, used a cord to kill Maryse Antoine, 46, and left her body at Antoine's sister's apartment at 34 Middlesex Circle in Waltham.
Police discovered Antoine's body about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Issa pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in Waltham District Court.
District Court Judge Gregory Flynn ordered Issa, who lives on County Street, Taunton, held without bail.
Issa was arrested Friday night at his brother's house in Quincy by Quincy, Waltham and state police, according to the DA's Office.
Issa had a romantic relationship with Antoine, who was the mother of their 3-year-old daughter, Aisha, authorities said.
Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Kontz told the court Issa had abused Antoine physically and mentally over the course of their relationship and that Issa had threatened to kill her if she left him or reported him to the police.
"There is a history of abuse in that relationship,'' Kontz said.
Despite the fear, Kontz said Antoine, who drove a bus for children with special needs for JSC Transportation Service Inc. for five years, was on the verge of ending her relationship with Issa.
Kontz said that Antoine had been threatened by Issa the day before her body was discovered. The assistant DA also said Antoine was scared of Issa's threats and therefore never reported the abuse to police, but did tell family, friends and co-workers about it.
Antoine never filed a restraining order against Issa, the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office said.
Kontz also told Flynn that Antoine's friends saw marks on her body indicating that she had been abused. Some of that prior abuse, Kontz said, included attempted strangulation.
Issa's attorney, Michael Altman, told the court the evidence against his client is "thin'' and said that, besides his client's relationship with Antoine, there was little to tie Issa to the crime.
"The forensics show, really, almost nothing,'' Altman said.
Kontz had earlier said much of the forensic evidence in the case had yet to be processed.
Altman told Flynn that cell phone records indicate there was a small window of time that Issa would have had to kill Antoine.
Issa's next court date will be April 30 for a probable cause hearing.
The 3-year-old girl is staying with one of Antoine's family members, said Jessica Venezia, a spokeswoman for the DA's Office.
Richard Conn can be contacted at 781-398-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Daily News Tribune