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Convicted felon charged in stabbing death of Tonawanda woman

A convicted felon with no permanent address was arraigned in Erie County Court Wednesday afternoon on one count of 2nd-degree murder in the killing of a Tonawanda woman.

John M. Avent, 49, is accused of killing his girlfriend, Roberta A. Rybinski, 51, at her Newell Avenue apartment sometime between March 3 and March 8. Rybinski’s body was discovered when police were contacted for a welfare check after friends and family had not heard from her for several days.

Police said the victim was covered with a sheet when found and that her apartment had been ransacked and looted. Her car also was missing. Prosecutors said Wednesday Rybinski had been stabbed in the neck, in what Acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty referred to as “the ultimate act of domestic violence.”

Avent, who was arrested in Olean on May 14, had been convicted in 2015 of violating an order of protection to stay away from Rybinski, prosecutor Gary W. Hackbush said. Neighbors also said the two had been involved in a loud ongoing argument in the days before the woman was killed.

Avent reportedly has older convictions for robbery and assault, along with numerous misdemeanor arrests and Judge Kenneth F. Case remanded him without bail. Avent’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 1.