Alexandra Gales

Alexandra Gales

JEFFERSONVILLE — Family members of a woman fatally stabbed Friday at a Jeffersonville coin laundry say they had worried about her safety at that workplace and feel her death could have been avoided.

Yolanda Fisher, 50, had worked at the laundry in the 1500 block of East 10th Street for nine and-a-half months when she was killed Friday afternoon following a disagreement with a patron.

Alexandra Gales, 29, has been charged with murder after multiple witnesses and video surveillance showed her chasing the victim and ultimately stabbing her.

“It really feels like your heart is hurting to know that somebody could actually murder your people,” Fisher’s sister, Latanya Stapleton, said after Gales’ initial hearing Monday.

“It goes on every day but when it hits home, it’s breathtaking. My sister didn’t deserve that. She has four grandbabies that love her and they won’t get to see her. They don’t understand that.”

Court records released Monday show that Fisher called 911 at 5:51 p.m. Friday, reporting that a woman armed with a knife was chasing her; she screamed and the call was disconnected.

Police arrived within two minutes and reported seeing two women in some kind of engagement, and that one, later identified as Gales, was still holding a knife. At 5:54 p.m., a 911 operator re-established a connection and asked Fisher if she had been stabbed.

“Help me, I can’t breathe,” the woman had answered. She was taken to Clark Memorial Health with a “large puncture wound to her sternum and a slashing cut to the right side of her neck,” court records show, and despite emergency medical care, died from her injuries.

Witnesses at the scene say they saw an argument ensue after Gales had come out of the bathroom, which escalated to a chase around the laundry machines and outside of the building.

One person told police she heard them arguing and Fisher tell Gales to get out of the building, and that they ended up fighting on the ground outside, with the victim yelling for help. Another said they had seen blood and Fisher make a call saying she had been stabbed, and that Gales had told the victim, “You better run....”

Video surveillance from inside the business showed Fisher walk up to Gales, who then began to chase the victim. At one point, Fisher can be seen trying to use a laundry cart to put distance between the two before the situation spilled into the parking lot.

When police spoke with Gales, court records show, she said she had been at the coin laundry to dry a blanket and had been confronted by Fisher for being in the bathroom too long. They began to argue and she said Fisher asked her to leave. She said she got upset because people call the police on her frequently, and that it had “pushed her to a breaking point today.”

Gales said she pulled out a knife, chased Fisher outside “and we started fighting and I stabbed her, simple as that,” Gales said. “I don’t regret my actions and I will just have to take whatever consequences come from this and it is as simple as that.”

When police asked Gales what she would say if she knew Fisher had died due to her injuries, she said “I don’t care; I do not care. I knew she probably would; I stabbed her through her chest.

“Why would I be sorry? I am always proud to defend myself. You cannot please everyone in the world. Sometimes things like that happen but I do not regret my actions. It’s a shame that there are people like her running around harassing people....”

During an initial hearing Monday in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1, a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf. Gales told Special Judge Susan Orth that she did not intend to hire an attorney, nor need a public defender appointed. Before the end of the hearing, however, she agreed to the public defender.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Evan Ray requested the defendant be held without bond, which the judge granted. The prosecutor’s office had previously asked for Gales’ bond to be revoked in a separate pending misdemeanor theft case in another court, however due to current COVID precautions, some defendants with lower level charges are being released on their own recognizance or issued a summons to appear in court. Gales was arrested on a warrant in that case Aug. 25 and released on her own recognizance the same day, three days before the killing.

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said just before the hearing that while the defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted, the case “disturbs me because it is a case where the victim was at work here in Jeffersonville just trying to do her best to effectuate the policies of her employer.”

Fisher’s daughter, Nache Moore, said that her mother was “an outgoing person, very friendly,” she said. “She took her job very seriously, everybody loved her.”

Stapleton said her sister had “loved her job; I hated it,” she said. “I couldn’t stand that she worked there because I could see what’s going on in there.” She added that management is armed, “so why didn’t my sister have a security guard? Something.”

The two said their first order of business is to get everything together for a funeral then continue with the case, adding that they intend to file a civil lawsuit against the business.

“We’re trying to give her a nice homecoming and then we want justice,” Stapleton said. “Somebody is going to be held accountable. They didn’t protect my sister. They knew it was a dangerous place of employment. Something has to be done.”

A jury trial is scheduled for Dec. 14.

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