Ex-wife testifies about abuse years before Ricks killed Bedford woman

05/12/2014 5:14 PM

05/12/2014 10:36 PM

Cedric Ricks’ ex-wife testified Monday that he abused her years before he stabbed his estranged girlfriend and her 8-year-old son to death.

Ricks, 39, was convicted Wednesday of capital murder in the May 1, 2013, killings of Roxann Sanchez, 30 and her son, Anthony Figueroa, 8, in Bedford.

Ricks is also accused of stabbing Sanchez’s 12-year-old son, Marcus Figueroa, and leaving him near death on the dining room floor near the bodies of his brother and mother. Marcus survived and testified against Ricks last week.

Teshana Singleton testified Monday that she married Ricks in 1999 and that he tried to kill her several times before they divorced in 2004. Singleton testified that the last time Ricks attacked her she and her two children were across the street from the police station in Country Club, Ill.

“He choked me until I passed out,” Singleton said. “When I woke up I was in my car. Someone put me into an ambulance.”

Bystander Terri Jackson, who was walking past the police station at the time, testified Monday that she saw Ricks with his hand around Singleton’s throat and asked a man to get police to help her.

“He had his left hand around her throat, it looked like he was holding her up with that hand and he was hitting her in the face with his right hand,” Jackson said. “This man got four police officers to come out. He was still hitting her as police tried to separate them. He struggled with the police for a couple of minutes and one officer went to her as she collapsed on the ground.”

Jackson said one of the officers also tried to attend to two screaming children who were in the back seat of Singleton’s car.

“Had police not arrived, I think he would have beaten her to death,” Jackson said.

It was not the first time Ricks had hit Singleton, she testified.

She told jurors that they met at church when she was 15 and he was 18. She moved out of town and had a daughter with another man, and when she moved back they rekindled their relationship, Singleton said.

He hit her a year before they married, she testified.

“He got upset with me because I wanted to end the relationship and he punched me in the jaw,” she said.

Months after they married in 1999, Ricks hit her again on May 5, 2000, Singleton said.

“He was drunk and he wanted to talk and I didn’t want to talk,” Singleton said. “He punched me, kicked me and pushed my hand against the wall and he threatened me with a butcher knife he got from the kitchen.”

Ricks stabbed the floor near her face, Singleton said. She said she called police and Ricks was arrested. They separated but later started living together again and had a son. Two years later, Singleton said, she filed for divorce.

Ricks assaulted her twice in 2002 and left threatening text and voice messages on her phone, Singleton testified. She said he made threats to the entire family, including saying once that he wished their baby would die.

Another woman who lived with Ricks, Jennifer Clark, testified last week that she had to pull a shotgun on him to get him to leave her home. She said Ricks threatened to kill her if she called police about his behavior.

Clark said that after he threatened to kill her, she pulled out her shotgun and said, “I will not be the first to die.”

Testimony is scheduled to continue Wednesday in state District Judge Mollee Westfall’s court.

Prosecutors Robert Huseman and Bob Gill are seeking the death penalty for Ricks, who rejected an offer of life without parole this year.

It is the first time Tarrant County prosecutors have sought the death penalty since 2012, when Steve Lawayne Nelson was sent to Death Row after being convicted of the capital murder of Arlington minister Clint Dobson.

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