By Christina Carrega
A Jackson Heights woman facing up to 25 years in prison for brutally assaulting her lover with a samurai sword told the jurors deciding her fate that “accidents happen.”
Karla Barba testified in her own defense in Queens Supreme Court on Thursday, stating that the two severe wounds that Franklin Larrea suffered inside their apartment in June 2016 were the result of self-defense. She did not intend to injure him, Barba said before Justice Deborah Stevens Modica.
Barba, 40, and Larrea had a domestic dispute before the sword swipes and bloodshed. Their infant daughter and Larrea’s son were in the house at the time of the incident.
Larrea had owned three-tiered stand that displayed two decorative samurai swords and a dagger gifted to him by his mother. Barba said that, when she fell to ground, she “grabbed the first thing next to” her — one of the swords.
“I thought, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Such a small thing to turn into an accident,” Barba told the jurors through a Spanish interpreter. “I just wanted to keep him a distance from me, it had never happened before.”
Larrea rushed into his son’s bedroom and called the police as he gushed blood from his right forearm and wrist.
Barba said she feared for her life and became even more frightened at the sight blood on the floor.
“I felt frozen, nervous,” Barba said, before accusing the police of “altering” the crime scene with extra blood and other objects.
Though Barba was barred by Queens Supreme Court Justice from discussing any of her past domestic violence incidents since 2004, on cross-examination Assistant District Attorney Mary Kate Quinn slid the her history into the testimony.
“You know the head is the most vulnerable part of the body?” Quinn asked Barba.
“I didn't know where I aiming … accidents happen,” said Barba.
Barba is a former domestic violence survivor, who sustained 40 stitches to the face, after her former fiance Hiram Monserrate slashed her face with a glass cup. During the 2008 case, Barba — who was known as Karla Giraldo at the time — stood by the side of Monserrate, a former state senator and city councilmember, and said the assault was an accident.
More than ten years later, Barba’s role was reversed.
“How could I want to hurt the man I love, he gave me a daughter,” she said.