A Bradford man charged with murdering his wife announced in court Friday that he intends to plead guilty.

Jose Fernandes, 57, was charged with the first-degree murder of his 49-year-old wife, Maria Fernandes in November 2015. 

Police arrested Fernades at his home on Colborne Street where they found his wife stabbed to death.

Fernandes was set to go to trial for first-degree murder in April, but his lawyer told the judge his client intends to plead guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

“Mr. Fernandes will be vacating his trial and entering a plea of second-degree murder,” said defence lawyer Jason Dos Santos.

During the court appearance, Fernandes sat in the prisoner’s box in handcuffs, listening closely to a Portuguese interpreter who stood at his side.

Dos Santos also raised concern of mental illness and asked the judge to ensure his client gets his medication while in custody. He said Fernandes is having difficulty getting his proper medications while in custody while being held at CNCC in Penetanguishene. 

“Mr. Fenandes has been on medication for years,” the lawyer explained. “One of the reasons these charges are before the court was because he was not on his medications.”

The judge made a recommendation that Fernandes be kept in the hospital wing at the jail, while waiting for sentencing.

The guilty plea is expected to be made in April.

A conviction of second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life in prison. 

The judge will have to decide on when Fernandes will be eligible to apply for parole – which can be anywhere from 10 to 25 years.