As the jury announced its verdict against Carlos Asencio — guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon — the courtroom in Worcester County Superior Court remained silent.
Asencio betrayed no emotion. Family and friends of Amanda Dabrowski — who had waited nearly four years for a verdict against her killer since the July 3, 2019 attack that left her dying inside O’Connor’s Restaurant in Worcester — retained decorum.
But once the jury had filed out of court, Judge Janet Kenton-Walker had left the bench and Asencio was led away in handcuffs, the room gave way to sighs, tears and hugs.
Following the hearing, Dabrowski’s father, Ed Dabrowski, offered a brief statement from the family.
“While no verdict will ever bring Amanda back, we are relieved that a jury found this man responsible for taking her from us,” he said.
“We know he can never harm another person again. The jury helped us find some justice today, though we know there are no real winners here.”
Dabrowski also thanked District Attorney Joseph Early’s office and the victim/witness advocate.
“We ask that you continue to keep Amanda in your thoughts. She will continue to live through her family and friends.”
Early thanked prosecutors Edward Karcasinas, Tiffany Scanlon and Donna Marie Haran, who tried the case, as well as police departments in Worcester, Ayer and Webster, the Department of Homeland Security, Massachusetts State Police and the state fire marshal’s office.
“No one should ever have to go through something as horrible as this. We can only hope that this verdict brings the family some justice and some sense of closure in this case,” Early said.
He also extended special thanks to the good Samaritans who attempted to stop Asencio and help Dabrowski.
“They did everything they could while trying to save Amanda. Their bravery was exemplary in what can only be called a horrific situation,” he said.
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After five days of testimony the jury took a little more than three hours to deliberate and find Asencio guilty on both counts, for the stabbing death of Dabrowski and the knife injury to Allen Corson, who helped to restrain Asencio after the attack at O’Connor’s Restaurant in Worcester.
Last week’s testimony established the minute, brutal details in the case, from Asencio stabbing Dabrowski 58 times in 15 seconds, to the Google locator app that pinged Asencio’s phone when she arrived at O’Connor’s, to the “concerning” items a local couple living on the streets of Worcester found after spending a few days with him.
Mexican and Canadian money, bus tickets in different names, New England transit schedules and the couple, Lydia Willey and Richard Contreras, traced Asencio’s itinerary after he entered Canada. Asencio told mental health professionals he entered Canada after what he described as a “fight” at Dabrowski’s home on Easter 2019. Dabrowski reported it then as a home invasion and an attack that she fought off.
Asencio also admitted to reentering the United States illegally from Mexico, doctors testified.
Asencio’s defense highlighted his self-reported mental health problems, including a psychologist’s testimony that Asencio reported hearing “commanding” voices in his head, and that he believed the only way to stop them was to do what they told him — kill Dabrowski then himself.
A psychiatrist testifying for the prosecution said she believed Asencio more likely suffered from borderline personality disorder, and testified he performed poorly on tests designed to determine if he was faking or exaggerating symptoms.
Kenton-Walker ordered Asencio held without bail until his June 29 sentencing hearing.