Man used multiple knives to fatally stab woman over 13 times, prosecutors say

HOUSTON – The man accused of fatally stabbing a 75-year-old woman appeared in court overnight, where prosecutors presented new details in the case.

Marco Cobos, 19, was charged with capital murder after police said he forced his way into Etta Nugent’s home Sunday and stabbed her multiple times when she said she couldn’t help him with his broken-down truck. 

Authorities said Cobos had been sleeping in a stolen Ford F-150 parked in front of Nugent’s house for at least two days. 

Police said Cobos confessed to the crime and appeared in court overnight, where prosecutors released more details about the stabbing.

Prosecutors said Cobos confessed to forcing his way into Nugent’s home and stabbing her in the chest with a knife.

According to prosecutors, Nugent pleaded with Cobos for her life, but he did not listen.

When the first wound didn’t kill her, prosecutors said Cobos went to find more knives. While he was looking, Cobos heard Nugent trying to escape the home so he grabbed her in a bear hug, grabbed more knives and stabbed her multiple times.

Prosecutors said Nugent’s autopsy revealed she had more than 13 stab wounds.

After she died, prosecutors said Cobos took $560 from Nugent’s purse and the keys to her car and left to buy food and a new battery for the stolen F-150.

Prosecutors said Cobos then returned to the home and took some time to explore the house and eat food before taking three credit cards, which he used at a truck stop in Edna, Texas and to pay a cellphone bill.

During the investigation, police were able to locate the truck about a quarter mile from Nugent’s home. 

A Honda Accord was parked behind the truck and police said they saw Cobos get out of the vehicle and walk toward Nugent’s home.

Officers said they found the keys to the Accord plus two other keys that work on the locks to Nugent’s home.

Cobos is being held at the Harris County Jail without bond. He is expected to be back in court Thursday.

Meanwhile at the home, neighbors and community left flowers at the Nugent home's door.

"We know there are no words to tell them that are going to make them feel better, but we just want them to know they are not alone," Mirella Herrera, a neighbor and worker at the Neff Early Learning Center nearby, said.

Workers at the Center each left a white rose for the family.

"Lived in this neighborhood for 17 years, so when things like this happen, we want to come together," Herrera said.

Neighbors left shaken by the senseless murder still can’t believe what happened.

"Normally here it’s very relaxed and quiet. It’s a big surprise for everybody. Everybody is sad. Everybody put flowers in there because it’s a good neighbor," Ruben Blanco said.

A small memorial continues to grow outside Nugent's home.

"We just want them to know that they are not alone and that we are with them in their pain and supporting them," Mirella Herrera said.

Nugent's family released the following statement Wednesday:

"The family of Etta Nugent is heartbroken and in absolute shock at the senseless tragedy that unfolded before them this week. Etta was a kind, gentle and generous woman who lived her life with unwavering dedication to her faith, family and friends. To see her life end in such a tragic, evil manner is simply unexplainable. 

"The family takes comfort knowing that the suspect is in custody and has given a full confession, and they would like to express enormous gratitude to both the local community and the Houston Police Department for their roles in the arrest. Observant neighbors who were diligent in watching the area for suspicious activity were able to provide tangible clues, both big and small. Detectives were able to piece those clues together to identify the suspect and ultimately make an arrest. 

"While the family greatly mourns the loss of Etta, they celebrate the actions of attentive neighbors and the noble work of the Houston Police Department. The family would like to notably thank lead Detectives Eric May and Bobby Moss, and all of the associated detectives, officers, and first responders for their respectful and thorough handling of this case.

"As a legacy to her life, the family urges every citizen to make an effort to form real relationships with their neighbors and to actively watch out for each other. The observations made by caring neighbors unquestionably paved the path for identifying the confessed suspect and seizing the opportunity to capture him in such a short amount of time.

"Etta leaves behind her husband of 53 years, their three children and six adoring grandchildren, all of Houston.  She also leaves an extended family of siblings, nieces and nephews across the state of Texas, and numerous close friends throughout the Sharpstown and Bellaire communities surrounding St. Francis de Sales and Holy Ghost Catholic Churches. 

"The family is extremely grateful for all of the support and words of comfort from so many, as well as continued respect for their privacy during this difficult time. Funeral arrangements are pending."

About the Authors: