An Almena woman is in Barron County Jail on $25,000 cash bond pending a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 1, in connection with the stabbing death of 50-year-old Brett M. Bents during a domestic quarrel on Aug. 10.
A complaint was filed Wednesday, Aug. 14, in Barron County that charges Melanie R. Kuula, 45, of Almena, with second-degree intentional homicide—an offense punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
A Turtle Lake police officer found the bloodstained body of the victim shortly after an Almena man called 911 on Aug. 10 to report his neighbor, later identified as the defendant, “told him she stabbed her boyfriend.”
The neighbor said the victim was lying in the backyard and was apparently dead. He also said the woman “was full of blood and walking around the block.”
A Turtle Lake officer went to a parking area behind the defendant’s apartment and saw a man lying on his back, with blood on his chest, neck and face. There was no pulse and no response when the officer lightly shook the man. Emergency medical technicians later confirmed Bents was dead.
Witnesses told police the defendant allegedly said she had caught the boyfriend with another woman and said, “So what was I supposed to do? So I stabbed him.” She then went to a neighbor’s home to take a shower. The Turtle Lake officer arrested the defendant at the neighbor’s home.
The officer said he advised the defendant of her Miranda rights, and that she was willing to speak with him. She said she got mad when she walked into an apartment upstairs from her home and saw her boyfriend and a woman engaged in sex.
She said she went downstairs, grabbed a knife off the counter in her apartment and “hit” the victim with it. She said he ran outside after the stabbing.
Barron County sheriff’s investigators later found a serrated kitchen knife in the entryway leading to the kitchen of the defendant’s home. Also taken as evidence were a bent frying pan and the wooden handle of a kitchen spatula. All three items had blood on them.
A later report from the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office indicated the victim had a single stab wound to the chest, which perforated his heart. The victim’s head and face bore evidence of blunt force trauma injuries consistent with having been struck by the wooden handle and frying pan.