Man who beheaded woman with machete had ICE hold on his record 

He asked to be deported back to his home country at his first court appearance Friday. 

Left: Alexis Saborit Right: America Thayer

Warning: This article contains content that some readers may find disturbing. 

A man who was charged with murder last week in the beheading of 55-year-old America Mafalda Thayer was at one point wanted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to court documents.

Alexis Saborit, 42, was charged Friday with second-degree intentional murder in Wednesday’s brutal slaying.

Court documents from Saborit’s prior criminal cases raise questions about whether he was in the country legally. In an order for release in Saborit’s 2017 domestic assault case, for instance, Judge Kevin Eide checked a box for “defendant has ICE hold.”

An ICE hold or detainer is when the federal agency asks a local jail to detain a suspect for an additional 48 hours after his scheduled release date “in order to provide ICE agents extra time to decide whether to take the individual into federal custody for removal purposes,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

At his first court appearance Friday, Saborit asked the judge if he could be deported to his home country to avoid standing trial, according to KARE 11 reporter Lou Raguse, who was in the courtroom. The judge rejected the idea and set Saborit’s bail at $2.5 million.

But it’s unclear what country he would be deported to, and neither the Shakopee Police Department nor ICE responded when Alpha News asked for clarification. A criminal complaint from his pending arson case describes him as a “Puerto Rican male.” If he was born in Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory), then he would be a U.S. citizen by default.

‘Often carries a machete’

Saborit also told the judge during his Friday court appearance that he hacked Thayer’s head off with a machete in self-defense. He gave a similar excuse to the police.

“The Defendant said he used a knife to kill Victim because she had ‘gone too far’ in her abuse of him and in her comments about ending their relationship,” the criminal complaint states.

Friends and coworkers gathered Thursday at the intersection where America Thayer was tragically murdered. (Photo by Rebecca Brannon)

A witness told the responding officers that Saborit “often carries a machete with him.” In a 2018 obstruction case, Saborit was in possession of a “folding knife with a three-inch blade and a kitchen knife with a 10-inch blade.”

When officers responded to his apartment in November, they observed that he “was holding a large machete knife in his hand.”

He was pulled over in 2017 for driving under the influence and was found with a “large kitchen knife on the driver’s side floor and an open bottle of Bacardi Rum.”

Witnesses to Wednesday’s gruesome murder, which took place in Thayer’s car in the middle of the day, said they saw Saborit “swinging an object in the air and bringing it down repeatedly” and “making a hitting motion.”

“The driver threw an unknown object into a yard and then dragged something out of the car that looked like a body. The driver then grabbed an object which Witness 2 eventually realized was a human head with blonde hair,” the complaint says.

Responding officers discovered a “black sheath that appeared to be for a machete-style knife” in the grass near the crime scene.

The murder weapon was discovered the next day “concealed in a bush” by a woman who was out walking her dog.

“The knife was almost entirely concealed and difficult to see. It appeared as though it had been plunged into the dirt somehow. The knife was a black machete with a partially serrated edge. The blade was covered with blood-like substance and there appeared to be strands of hair on the blade,” the complaint adds.

Saborit’s prior convictions include a 2017 DWI, domestic assault, obstruction, and fleeing a police officer. He was also convicted in two separate incidents of domestic abuse in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Saborit was repeatedly released from custody despite concerns about his mental stability.