A La Crosse man stabbed his wife in front of five children late Sunday at the couple’s South Side apartment before they huddled around her as she was dying, according to court records.
Prosecutors Monday charged Haron Joyner, 35, with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Jessica Joyner, 29. He’s jailed on a $100,000 cash bond.
Apartment tenant Lynn Hollowitch said a loud thud shook the units of 1314-1320 S. Fifth Ave., a multiplex bounded by Adams and Hood streets, during an escalating argument between the couple.
“Mommy!” Hollowitch heard, then “Stop!”
Hollowitch called 911 at 11:16 p.m. before Haron Joyner said something to the effect of, “I already said not to play with me,” Hollowitch said.
Then, another thud, this one louder than the first, Hollowitch said.
“The kids said, ‘She’s dead.'”
Haron Joyner stabbed his wife in the neck, face and chest six or seven times in the kitchen of their upper unit before she escaped to the apartment across the hall, according to the complaint.
She collapsed there in a pool of blood, telling the tenant that someone had tried to kill her before the five children, ages 5 to 11, surrounded her, crying and screaming.
Hollowitch rendered aid, trying to keep her alert and alive until police took over and searched the building for her attacker, who was described by one child witness as “too calm, to the point of being super creepy,” after the stabbing.
“I just can’t do this anymore,” he said before walking calmly from the chaotic scene, according to the complaint.
Haron Joyner called to turn himself in while standing outside the La Crosse County Jail but wasn’t there when police arrived. Officers found his van at the La Crosse Tribune, where he worked in the packaging department, and a lieutenant discovered blood in the building’s bathroom sink before employees said Haron Joyner fled in another car.
Police arrested him at 2:07 a.m. when they found him inside a car parked in the 3600 block of South 29th Court, about 90 minutes after his wife died at a local hospital. He had blood on his pants and shoes.
One child said Haron Joyner stabbed his wife as she was running away after he said she was “dating a crackhead,” according to the complaint. He told one child that she “was next,” the complaint stated.
Authorities don’t know yet how long Haron Joyner, a New York native, has lived in La Crosse or whether he has a criminal record. He returns to court March 15 for a preliminary hearing.