PORTSMOUTH — A man who allegedly stabbed a local woman to death on a RIPTA bus Wednesday morning was arraigned in Second Division District Court in Newport later that afternoon.
Christopher R. James, 46, of 207 Rhodes St., Providence, was charged with murder following the incident that took place shortly after 6 a.m.
“He was arraigned this afternoon of one count of domestic first-degree murder and was held without bail,” Portsmouth Police Lt. Brian Peters said Wednesday afternoon, adding that the case will be prosecuted by the state attorney general’s office. “He was also a violator in Superior Court based on a previous incident. I assume he’ll be transferred to the ACI (Adult Correctional Facilities in Cranston) at some point.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Portsmouth police had not released the name of the deceased woman, pending notification of next of kin. The Providence Journal, however, identified her as the suspect’s ex-wife, Terry L. Chiodo, 46, of Portsmouth.
Police should have more details to release on Thursday, Lt. Peters said.
The last murder in Portsmouth took place in 2002, when the manager of the Founder’s Brook Motel and Suites was killed in a murder-for-hire plot.
At about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, Portsmouth police were called to the area of West Main Road near Willow Lane for a report of a stabbing on a RIPTA bus. When police arrived, they learned that a female had been stabbed by a male passenger shortly after she boarded the bus.
Immediately after the stabbing, police said, two other male passengers brought the suspect to the ground and detained him until police arrived.
The victim was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Police said the incident does not appear to be a random act of violence, but rather a domestic-related incident.
James has a lengthy rap sheet, with 20 arrests over the past 20 years for assault, breaking and entering, driving while intoxicated, resisting arrest and other charges, the Providence Journal reported.
Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, RIPTA chairman and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and interim executive director and State Police Lt. Col Raymond Studley issued a joint statement: “We first want to express our condolences to the family of the victim and our support for the passengers and driver who witnessed this troubling incident.
“This was an isolated event and Rhode Islanders should continue to be confident in their safety while using RIPTA. We have full confidence that the Portsmouth Police will conduct a full and thorough investigation and we will assist that investigation in any way possible.”