Homicide domestic violence Lemon Grove
Rhona Fantone. Photo credit: Screen shot, 10News.com

A man who fatally stabbed his wife at the couple’s Lemon Grove home was sentenced Monday to 16 years to life in state prison.

Jay Barcelon, 32, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, plus an allegation of using a knife, in the April 16, 2021 slaying of 30-year-old Rhona Barcelon at their home on Dain Court.

Deputies responded to the home about 7:30 p.m. that night for a report of “a domestic incident with a male and female reportedly arguing,” said Lt. Thomas Seiver of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Seiver said deputies heard screaming inside the home and forced their way inside, where they found both Barcelons injured.

Both were hospitalized, but Rhona Barcelon died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Jay Barcelon underwent surgery and was later arrested on suspicion of murder and booked into county jail.

Barcelon did not make a statement at his sentencing hearing, but his defense attorney, Alexander Fuqua, read a letter his client wrote to his wife’s family, in which he said, “I’m extremely sorry for the tragedy that has befallen you.”

Two of the victim’s family members spoke in court and referred to her by her maiden name, Rhona Fantone.

Rhoda Delacruz, one of the victim’s four sisters, told Barcelon, “You’re supposed to protect your wife. … Every time it crosses my mind, I wonder how you can live every single day knowing your hands have my sister’s blood on them.”

The victim’s cousin, Krissy Flauta, said, “You’re always going to be considered a cold-blooded murderer in our eyes.”

Flauta said her cousin, who was a certified nursing assistant at Sharp Coronado Hospital, had dreams of becoming a nurse. The victim also left behind two children, who were 9 and 11 years old at the time of her death.

City News Service contributed to this article.