YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The man accused of stabbing his estranged wife at a Coitsville hotel testified Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that the two were playing fetch with his two dogs just minutes before she was stabbed to death.
Francis Rydarowicz, 50, testified before Judge Anthony Donofrio that his Katherine Rydarowicz, 42, stabbed him June 22, 2019, with no warning as he was helping her to move things out of a room at the King’s Hotel on U.S. 422.
He stabbed her because he said he was afraid for his life, he testified. “I feared for my life,” he said.
Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Paris asked Rydarowicz about texts the pair exchanged in the weeks before her death about her being in a relationship with another man and that he had begged her to come back to him.
He admitted he was upset with her being with someone else and that a risqué picture she sent to him was really meant for another man, but he added he accepted the fact the two would not get back together.
Rydarowicz is charged with aggravated murder, murder and domestic violence for her death.
Jury selection in the case was Monday and testimony began Tuesday. Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments and be instructed in the law later today.
Under directly examination from his lawyer, John Juhasz, Rydarowicz said he was living at the hotel after he was released from the county jail on a domestic violence charge.
Rydarowicz said his wife came to the hotel that day to move some things of hers out of his room. They played fetch with the dogs when she arrived, then tied the dogs to a tree and helped her move some things into a truck she drove there.
They went back into the room one last time, and she asked if she could look under the bed, Rydarowicz testified. He lifted up the mattress and box spring and that’s when he felt a sharp pain in his neck, he testified.
He turned around, saw she had a knife, and managed to turn away, he testified. She had her back to him but was next to a drawer that had knives in it.
Rydarowicz said he couldn’t remember if he told his mother that the knife was in the room before Katherine Rydarowicz showed up.
Paris also says she wondered how a woman who was 5’5 could stab a man in the front of the next who is 6’2.
Rydarowicz said he was squatting down to lift the bed up when he was stabbed.
Paris wondered how the two could struggle over a knife yet neither Francis Rydarowicz or his wife received any injuries to her hands.
Paris also pointed out that a DNA expert testified that none of Katherine Rydarowicz’s DNA was on the handle of the knife that killed her.
Rydarowicz kept saying there was a “mixture” of DNA on the knife, which exasperated Paris, Juhasz, who kept objecting, and Judge Donofrio.
They held two separate sidebar conferences before she moved on to another line of questioning about the DNA.