JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Jaguars fan, a lover of Smarties, a great cook and an unforgettable soul were all phrases that loved ones used to described a beloved hair stylist who police said was stabbed to death Monday.
Marcus Williams said the day he learned his aunt, Cassandra Valentin, had been murdered inside her Moncrief home was a nightmare that he and his family hoped would never happen.
"Unfortunately, we had a feeling that this day may come," Marcus Williams told News4Jax on Thursday.
He said Valentin was the one person he could always talk to, and had no idea that a phone call Friday would be the last time they would get to talk.
“We just talked like normal and I said, 'I’d call you right back,'" Marcus Williams said. "And that was the last thing I said to her. It’s very, very heartbreaking.”
The 61-year-old woman's live-in boyfriend, Marvin Williams, is charged with murder in her death, police said.
Marvin Williams was caught by police and arrested Wednesday after they got tips from the public that he was working construction at a local hospital.
Court documents detail a history of violence between Valentin and Marvin Williams. Valentin's nephew said her family knew her boyfriend was abusive, and they had tried to help her get out of the relationship.
"We all pleaded," Marcus Williams said. "We did not want her to be with him."
Marcus Williams said his aunt's boyfriend had threatened her in past.
"Like saying, 'Tonight will be the night that I'm going to kill you,'" Marcus Williams said.
Though Marcus Williams said he wouldn't go to his aunt's home if Marvin Williams was there, he said he loved spending time with his aunt and looked up to her.
Valentin's nephew shared memories of being his aunt's sidekick, watching Jaguars games with her and hearing her laugh.
"We used to compete with who had the best Bluetooth speaker," he said. "(She was) just out going. She loved life and she lived it."
Marcus Williams said he will also miss his aunt's cooking. He said one of her best recipes was shrimp and grits.
Now, Marcus Williams said that he hopes her boyfriend will never walk the earth as a free man.
"Why would you do something like that?" Marcus Williams said. "You devastated the whole family."
Valentin's family and friends are planning a vigil for her from 3-5 p.m. Saturday at her home on Frank E Avenue. They ask that everyone wear Valentin's favorite color: Red.
Victims of domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24 hours a day, at 1-800-799-7233 or the Hubbard House locally at 904-354-3114.