St. Lucie County Sheriff's detectives have charged Stephen Franklin Perduk, 50, for pre-meditated first-degree murder of his girlfriend, Grace Ann Assenza, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.
Assenza and Perduk lived together at 10 Don Quixote Lane, in Spanish Lakes Riverfront, just outside the city limits of Port St. Lucie.
"The murder took place Monday around 11 a.m. at their home in unincorporated St. Lucie County," Sheriff Mascara said. "Mr. Perduk told investigators he his girlfriend were sitting on the couch when the two argued. Mr. Perduk said he choked Ms. Assenza for five minutes, as she fought unsuccessfully to get free, biting him and scratching his face."
Detectives say Perduk admitted that after he had killed Assenza, he placed her body on the couch and covered it with a blanket.
He then made multiple, unsuccessful attempts on his life.
Detectives say, first he stabbed his arm with a knife, then he attempted to electrocute himself with a toaster, he drank some bleach and finally tried to cut his wrist with a razor before walking to a neighbor's house and asking him to call 911.
Perduk was waiting in the driveway of his neighbor's home when deputies arrived.
He was taken to a local hospital for medical clearance, then jailed without bond.
"This case is a tragic example of domestic violence which sadly ended with a loss of life," Sheriff Mascara said. "Sadly, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. Community resources are available for victims. I urge those who are victims of domestic violence, and those in fear of their spouse or partner, to visit our Sheriff's Office website to learn your legal rights and options. The web page address is: http://www.stluciesheriff.com/domestic_violence."