Witnesses at a Kennewick plasma donation center watched in horror Monday morning as man stabbed his estranged wife’s boyfriend to death with a large kitchen knife.
Thomas Christian Sr. was sitting in the waiting room of Biomat USA on North Union Street when Matthew H. de Vore came in and stabbed him with at least one knife, police said.
Christian, 45, was with his girlfriend Brenda de Vore, who is in the process of getting divorced from Matthew de Vore.
The attack happened in front of dozens of people around 10 a.m. in the waiting room of the crowded Kennewick plasma center.
“I heard a grown man scream. It wasn’t just a scream, it was a cry for help. I’ve never heard a grown man yell like that,” said Pedro Torres Rodriguez, who was in the waiting room.
Torres Rodriguez told the Herald he watched as Brenda de Vore tried to save her boyfriend from getting stabbed.
“I saw the guy who was stabbing him holding a knife. He went to go for another stab attempt and this lady held his hand back from stabbing (Christian),” he said. “It’s like (de Vore) gave up and walked away casually.”
Witnesses called 911 and followed Matthew de Vore, 40, as he fled the area towards WinCo Foods on West Clearwater Avenue.
Rick Craig owns a business in the area and spotted de Vore as he ran with the knife, he said. Several men were chasing the suspect as he approached Craig.
Craig and the men, who had picked up large rocks, surrounded de Vore near WinCo, he said. Craig eventually convinced him to drop the knife and surrender.
“He took one step and stabbed the knife in the ground and sat down,” Craig said. “He held his hands over his head and said ‘my life is over.’ ”
Matthew de Vore was questioned by police and booked into the Benton County jail Monday night on suspicion of murder.
Christian — who recently moved to the Tri-Cities to be with Brenda de Vore — was pronounced dead at the scene. He leaves behind six children and multiple grandchildren, according to his family.
“He was literally the most caring man in the world,” said Miranda Christian, his daughter. “He gave up everything for us kids.”
Brenda de Vore accused her estranged husband of a history of domestic violence, according to an order for protection she filed in August in Benton County Superior Court. The order was dismissed for a lack of evidence a few weeks later.
She wrote that her husband repeatedly abused her, hit their teenage boys and put his hands around the neck of their youngest girl.
The court records of that domestic violence date back to 1999, when the couple lived in Everett.
Matthew de Vore pleaded guilty that year in Snohomish County to assaulting his wife and was sentenced to two days in jail, according to court records. The next year he was accused of violating a no-contact order with his wife.
In May of this year, Matthew de Vore pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault with domestic violence for assaulting his teenage son in the parking lot of a Kennewick grocery store, court records show. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, with 354 suspended, and five years of probation.
Matthew de Vore also has pending matters in Benton County District Court regarding an anti-harassment order and violation of a no-contact order.
Brenda de Vore noted that her husband abuses alcohol, has harassed her and owns several knives, court documents said. She filed for divorce in August and it was set to be finalized in December. The couple has been married since 1996.
“(Matthew de Vore) has been a habitual abuser with minor children and (Brenda de Vore) throughout the past 20 years,” Brenda de Vore wrote in court documents. “He changes for a limited time then (it) all starts again. (He) refuses treatment.”
Miranda Christian told the Herald that her father recently had a confrontation with Matthew de Vore. She said de Vore approached her father and tried to fight him over his relationship with Brenda de Vore.
Christian and Brenda de Vore dated in high school and rekindled their romance about four months ago after finding each other online, Miranda Christian said. They had talked about possibly moving to Tennessee one day to live on Christian’s property.
“When they met online he knew he was supposed to be with her,” Miranda Christian said. “He was so happy.”
Christian grew up in Stanwood and lived in Idaho Falls for years where he owned a taxi company, his daughter said. He had six children of his own and took in multiple others to care for. He has tattoos on his arms for all of the children.
Miranda Christian got a call from Brenda de Vore on Monday explaining that her father was no longer alive, she said. She fought back tears as she explained the impact his death will have on her entire family.
“We are all heartbroken,” she said. “We all can’t believe somebody would have so much hate in their heart to take a grandparent away from seeing their grandchildren.”
The family wants to honor Christian by planting a tree for him on his property in Tennessee and spreading his ashes there.