‘A big heart’: Victim of fatal domestic violence stabbing remembered

[anvplayer video=”5186502″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Constance Henry died at 38 after being fatally stabbed, according to police. One woman is dead after a fatal domestic violence dispute on Friday night. But, Constance Henry wasn’t involved in the relationship.

Police said that Henry tried to stop a fight between Kevin Dukes Jr. and an unnamed 30-year-old woman inside a boarding house on Whitney Street when Dukes stabbed her several times.

She was dead before officers arrived at the house.

Naishah Ebanks has known Henry for the past eight years.

“That’s- that was was my sister,” she said. “That was my sister. Blood couldn’t have made us no more thicker.”

Above all else, she remembers the 38-year-old.

“I’m so devastated,” Ebanks said. “It’s typical Connie though, you know? She would never see the people she cared about, the people she loved in harms way and not defend her friends.”

Henry leaves behind three children: Ty, Naz, and Rachel.

Constance Henry with her teenage son, Naz. Courtesy: Naishah Ebanks

“That was my sister,” Ebanks said. “That was my sister. Blood couldn’t have made us no more thicker […] Her heart was huge. There’s nothing in the world she wouldn’t have done for someone she cared about.”

Police said that the woman Henry died defending had a restraining order out against Dukes.

“You can just imagine the impulse, to jump in and protect and support and get in the middle of something as its happening,” Domestic violence expert Megan De Chauteauvieux said.

Chauteauvieux is the president and CEO of the Willow Domestic Violence Center. She said that Henry is now a cautionary tale of how far abuse can spread.

“It can be an incredibly dangerous situation, as we’ve seen, for someone to be invovled in a domestics dispute,” she said. “We prefer to leave that to law enforcement.”

For bystanders who must get involved, Chauteauvieux recommends four steps that can be taken in any order to safely intervene.

The first, directly engage the victim, not the abuser – ask them if they need help, or if they want to contact 911. The second, distracting both parties – fake a phone call for the victim, or bring up a new topic. The third, delegation – delegate other bystanders to help or to call 911. The fourth, delaying the dispute, any way you can, to prevent the people from leaving or escalating.

“If it’s escalating to a point that feels unsafe for everyone invovled, distraction can be a really incredible tool,” Chauteauvieux said.

Police said that Dukes is a level three sex offender who has violated his parole multiple times. He was released in 2022 after maxing out his sentencing, which Ebanks finds unacceptable.

“He should have been in jail to begin with,” she said. “He should have never ever been walking the streets. And this goes back to the stupid laws that we have, where they’re releases violent criminals into our community, and this is the end result. We lose people like Connie. She did not deserve this. Nobody deserves this.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call or text Willow at 585-222-7233 or go to willowcenterny.org or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. Both hotlines are available 24/7. 

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.