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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The woman accused of strangling her boyfriend with an extension cord in Hartford over the weekend faced a judge on Monday morning.

Katherine Santiago, 24, was crying hysterically when officials led her into the packed courtroom in Hartford on Monday to answer to murder charges.

Hartford police said they called police to 372 Wethersfield Ave. just after 1 p.m. on Saturday  after getting word of a domestic incident inside.

  • 911 Operator: Do you need an ambulance?
  • Santiago: I don't know. I don't know if he's breathing. 
  • 911 Operator: What do you mean he's not breathing?

When officers arrived, they said they found 27-year-old Marcos DeJesus dead. Police determined that DeJesus had been dead for a few hours and had no marks except the ones around his neck.

Police said this is not only a case of homicide, but also a domestic violence case. According to court documents, Santiago told police they fought, but investigators said they didn't find any signs of struggle on her.

Police said DeJesus had been strangled with an extension cord, but that can only be confirmed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner once an autopsy is performed to determine his exact cause of death.

Santiago told police that she was in the bedroom and DeJesus came into the room. She said he pushed her onto the bed and tried to put a pillow over her face.

According to court documents, DeJesus took Santiago's shirt off and tried pushing the shirt against her face. She said she was scared and wrapped a nearby extension cord around his neck twice.

Santiago told police she was able to move around DeJesus and pulled the cord as hard as she could with her hands and leaned back with all her body weight.

  • Santiago: I kicked him out because he's a violent man and he kept hitting me and hitting me.
  • 911 Operator: Where is he now?
  • Santiago: He's right here. I choked him.

The extension cord used in the incident was found hanging from the wall and helped to light the room.

When police interviewed Santiago, there were no signs of trauma, redness or swelling on her face, arms or hands, according to court documents.

Santiago was arrested and charged with murder.

The courtroom was packed with supporters for both Santiago and DeJesus, who would have turned 28 years old on Sunday.

Santiago was extremely emotional in the courtroom where she cried and covered her face. The judge had to tell her to pull herself together.

"I'm sorry for the DeJesus family," Santiago's sister Omarya Sorano said. "I know what she did wasn't right, but she had to defend herself."

Court documents indicate that Santiago told DeJesus' family that she and DeJesus had been fighting for three days. According to court documents, Santiago said that he would hit her all the time, but she didn't call police.

"She was scared. She's sorry," Sorano said. "She was being physically abused."

Meanwhile, the victim's friends and family were also at the court hearing. Friends told Eyewitness News DeJesus, who was previously arrested for threatening, larceny and sale of narcotics, was never a violent person.

"She is abusive," Adrian Rivas said. "That's the reason why she killed him because she is abusive."

DeJesus had a fiancé and said he was leaving Santiago to move back in with her and their two children, with a third on the way. The two women knew about each other.

Santiago has been arrested seven times in the past and pleaded guilty to assaulting someone last year. That case is still pending. 

Santiago is being held on a $2 million bond and will appear in court again in early January.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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