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A man in Moorpark was arrested on charges of attempted murder, animal cruelty and burglary after allegedly killing a woman’s dog and then bludgeoning her over the head with a pickaxe, a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Thursday.

Abel DeJesus Monroy appears in this undated booking photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.
Abel DeJesus Monroy appears in this undated booking photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Abel DeJesus Monroy, 27, was arrested after local police responded to a call in the 14000 block of Peach Hill Road in Moorpark Wednesday morning. Monroy allegedly tried to attack a coworker with a pickaxe and later struck and killed a 59-year-old woman’s dog with a pickaxe before also beating her over the head with the gardening tool, according to local authorities.

The victim was hospitalized for head injuries and underwent surgery on Wednesday night “to relieve some pressure to the brain,” according to Sgt.  Mike McConville of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

She is recovering in the intensive care unit and currently in “stable condition,” McConville said.

Despite the brutal beating, McConville said it does not appear Monroy “had any animosity” toward the victim, who had hired him to do landscaping work at her home in Moorpark, according to investigators. Rather, Monroy seemed to be reacting to something else.

Prior to attacking the victim, Monroy made “delusional statements,” McConville said, to a coworker while the two were doing landscaping work on the victim’s backyard.  He appeared to have a “complete disconnect with reality” as he spoke about “spiritual things, the devil and God,” before he “completely snapped” and tried attacking the coworker with a pickaxe, McConville said. The coworker was able to escape by jumping over a fence.

When the victim’s dog started barking amid the chaos, Monroy “came down on top of the dog with the pickaxe and crushed his head,” killing the dog, McConville said. At some point, Monroy struck the victim over the head with the pickaxe and later tried to burn down the home, according to McConville. It is not known where exactly he attacked the victim, but she was found bleeding in the middle of the street a few houses down.

It is unclear if mental health issues or controlled substances played a part in the incident, but the suspect appeared to believe his coworker and employer were the devil.

“That was his reason for attacking them,” McConville said.

The incident is still under investigation and Monroy is in custody facing two counts of attempted murder as well as charges for animal cruelty and burglary. His bail has been set at $1 million, and he is due in court on Friday.