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Former wife charged in fatal stabbing

A 51-year-old retired NYPD officer was stabbed to death and his ex-wife jailed, police said, after an argument Tuesday night at a south Charlotte apartment.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police identified the slain man as James Arthur LaRossa. Friends described LaRossa as a devoted father who moved to the area with his wife a few years ago after retiring from NYPD following a back injury.

He had been in recent divorce proceedings with Carole LaRossa, 48, of Waxhaw, records show. She is being held in Mecklenburg jail without bail, charged with murder.

Police said they were called just before 10 p.m. Tuesday to The Apartments at Blakeney, off Rea Road, to investigate a reported assault. Inside an apartment on Dianthus Court, officers found the LaRossas, each suffering stab wounds.

Paramedics pronounced James LaRossa dead at the scene. Carole LaRossa had injuries described as not life threatening, and was taken to Carolinas Medical Center before she was taken to jail.

Police said their investigation revealed that the LaRossas got into an argument that ended with the stabbing.

A friend told the Observer that the couple’s daughter was at a sleepover at the time.

Mecklenburg County's Domestic Violence Advocacy Council said the killing is the county's first domestic violence-related homicide of 2012. At 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Council members will march at Trade and Tryon streets in uptown Charlotte to raise awareness about domestic violence in response to the death.

The couple bought a four-bedroom brick home on Nightingale Road in Waxhaw in 2008. But records show signs of trouble between the couple during the last two years.

In August 2010, Carole LaRossa made a domestic violence complaint against her husband in Union County. The complaint was voluntarily dismissed, records show, and she was granted a temporary restraining order against him

Last spring, James LaRossa signed over the Waxhaw house to his wife. Divorce proceedings began last year.

James LaRossa’s former brother-in-law and longtime friend Bill Cox of New Jersey said “Jimmy” was a native New Yorker and avid New York Yankees fan who retired from NYPD about 10 years ago after hurting his back on the job.

Soon after moving to North Carolina, James LaRossa joined the NYPD 10-13 Club of Charlotte, an affiliate of the national organization that helps retired and active law enforcement officers, predominantly from NYPD.

“He had an excellent reputation as a police officer in New York,” said Harvey Katowitz, president of the 10-13 Club.

He said LaRossa had surgery last year related to his injury but he’d recently rejoined a group of retired officers who play golf each week.

Katowitz said LaRossa was always smiling and dutifully attended club meetings – unless he was attending a function at his daughter’s middle school.

On James LaRossa’s Facebook page, he wished his daughter and her friends good luck at their school softball tryouts in February.

Katowitz said he knew that the LaRossas were going through a divorce but that James LaRossa “seemed to be moving on with his life.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 704-432-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Staff researcher Maria David and staff writer Steve Lyttle contributed.