AUBURN — Laudrinha Kubeloso was afraid of Evaristo Deus, telling one Angolan friend that she feared her ex-fiance might kill her.

Adriana Joao urged her to go to the police, but Kubeloso refused.

“She said she could not (have police) arrest him because they had been together too long,” Joao said through an interpreter outside Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn, where Deus was formally charged with murder Friday.

Kubeloso talked about her fears last Sunday, Joao said, “and on Tuesday she was killed.”

Domestic violence can be common, almost accepted, in some immigrant communities, said Fatuma Hussein, executive director of United Somali Women of Maine, which works to educate members of the immigrant community about gender-based violence. Many victims are reluctant to go to the authorities because in their home countries law enforcement officials can be corrupt and unhelpful, Hussein said.

Deus, 33, is accused of driving into his pregnant girlfriend from behind with his SUV as she walked along Howe Street on her way home from an adult education class Tuesday. She died four hours later at a Lewiston hospital. Kubeloso, 32, was four months pregnant and the fetus did not survive.

Port Authority Police in New York were alerted that Deus might try to flee the country and took him into custody as he sat in a jet at JFK Airport just 10 minutes before it was scheduled to take off for the French-speaking island nation of Haiti.

Police returned Deus to Maine and he is being held without bail in the Androscoggin County Jail. Based on answers he gave to a medical questionnaire, jail officers at one point put him in a “suicide smock,” a bulky, loose-fitting garment designed to prevent a person from using it to fashion a noose.

Deus’ attorney, Justin Leary, said he had not discussed with his client why he was headed for Haiti, whether he had bought his ticket before Tuesday, when Kubeloso was killed, or whether Deus was the father or even knew Kubeloso was pregnant. Many of her friends said they did not know of the pregnancy.

Deus did not enter a plea at his initial court appearance Friday.

Dressed in an orange inmate uniform, his hands cuffed, Deus was watched by three county sheriff’s deputies as he sat somberly before Judge Carl O. Bradford. Deus did not turn to meet the accusatory looks from some of the 15 people from southern Africa – mostly Angolans and Congolese – who sat in the gallery representing Kubeloso, who has no family in the state.

“We wanted to be here to show support for the woman,” said Pastor Jean Pierre Tschamala of the Church of All Nations in Auburn.

Bradford asked Deus if he understood that he is being charged with intentionally murdering Kubeloso or doing so by “conduct that manifested a depraved indifference to the value of human life.” Leary answered that his client understood.

Deus will have a chance to argue at a future hearing that he is entitled to bail. A Maine State Police affidavit that described the probable cause police had to obtain an arrest warrant was sealed at the request of Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman.

Outside the courthouse, several people who knew Kubeloso spoke about her and her relationship with Deus.

Joao had known Kubeloso since they lived in Angola. When Kubeloso arrived in Lewiston last August, she stayed with Joao for three months.

“When she came here, she was happy,” Joao said. “She has a chance here.”

Deus arrived last October, Joao said, and Kubeloso “was the first woman he met” here. Their relationship soured after they became engaged and Kubeloso broke it off. Kubeloso told her that recently, Deus was demanding that she return a television he had given her as an engagement present, Joao said.

Advocates say that domestic violence homicides often occur when a person tries to leave a relationship and the abusers decide that if they can’t have their partner, then nobody can.

After Deus’ brief court appearance Friday, Hussein, the women’s advocate, said being in the courtroom was difficult and frustrating.

“But you also see the glimpses of hope,” she said. “They did arrest him and bring him back.”

Pastor Bin Mutombo, of the Spoken Word Tabernacle in Portland, helped Deus settle in Lewiston. On Friday, he was feeling somewhat responsible for Deus’ behavior.

Mutombo visited Deus after providing him with some furniture and other household items and found Kubeloso was caring for him because he was sick. Men and women who are not married should not be alone in a man’s home together, Mutombo said. The couple said they were cousins and Mutombo did not know they were in a relationship.

He was saddened that Kubeloso did not confide in him.

“She didn’t tell anyone the truth. If she had told me the truth, we would have maybe found a solution,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Deus asked Mutombo to pray that he might meet a wonderful woman to marry.

“God put him under my leadership. God trusted me,” he said, adding that Deus’ conduct was the devil’s work.

“The problem was he had a hidden life, and when you have a hidden life you are in danger,” Mutombo said. “You have to open up to your spiritual leader.”

Earlier this year, Deus called Mutombo and asked him to bless his 2001 Suzuki SUV so that the Lord would protect him. It’s the same car police say was used to run down Kubeloso.