LYNNWOOD — The young woman called home, asking her mom to pick her up. Her boyfriend was making threats and she was worried for her safety.
She called home again. She’d run away from him and was hiding out at a nearby store. The young woman was convinced he was going to kill her. She asked her mom how long would it take to drive to Lynnwood?
“Eventually she was sitting on a bench located outside between the two stores, hoping her mom would find her before the defendant did,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Scott Halloran wrote in charging papers.
Joseph Peralta, 22, allegedly reached the woman first.
She refused to get into his vehicle and ran into a Rite Aid. She begged to use the phone. The employees told her to go to the manager’s office at the back of the store, where there was a phone.
A security camera allegedly captured Peralta come up behind the woman as she was looking into the office. He repeatedly stabbed her in the back, neck, arms, shoulders and face. She crumpled to the ground.
Employees called 911, and Lynnwood police found the woman lying in a pool of blood that measured 8 feet by 9 feet. Doctors reported that she’d lost a liter of blood from more than a dozen stab wounds.
She likely would have been stabbed more but she’d been wearing a large backpack, court papers said.
The victim has lost the feeling and use of multiple fingers on her left hand. She has undergone surgery to repair nerve damage but “may not recover the full use of her left hand and arm,” Halloran wrote.
Prosecutors recently charged Peralta with first-degree domestic violence assault. At the time of the Sept. 18 attack, he was under supervision of the state Department of Corrections for an assault conviction. His bail in the stabbing case was set at $1 million.
Lynnwood police reported that Peralta is a known gang member. He allegedly has threatened to use his gang connections if people cross him or cooperate with police, court papers said.
The young woman reported that she’d been dating Peralta since she was 16. He allegedly beat her in the past, leaving bruises and other injuries.
After the attack, Peralta fled the store. An officer viewed security camera footage and recognized the defendant. Peralta was located near an associate’s apartment. Officers noticed blood on his shoes and T-shirt. Police later located the bloody sweatshirt he’d been seen wearing, discarded near the apartment building.
Peralta admitted that security footage showed him holding a knife, but he claimed he couldn’t recall what happened. He told police he’d been drinking.
Peralta has multiple felony convictions, including stalking, domestic violence harassment and assault.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Domestic violence help available
October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is a victim, Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County offers help. The agency provides free and confidential services, including emergency shelter, legal advocacy and support groups. For more information, call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 425-252-2873.