A South Florida woman is facing a first-degree murder charge after she allegedly stabbed her husband, who was physically disabled, more than 140 times.
NBC News reports Joan Burke, 61, of Palm Springs, was arrested Sunday and charged with the death of her husband Melvin Weller, 62, whose body was found by Burke’s son on the couple’s kitchen floor on Feb. 11. Weller’s family told police that he lived with physical disability and had difficulty walking and with his grip strength.
Ricardo Green, 41, called 911 on the evening of Feb. 11 to say that he’d come home from work to discover Weller lying in a pool of blood. Upon arrival, law enforcement found a bloody knife and meat cleaver in the sink, with blood splattered across the kitchen floor. Officials said Burke was lying in the bedroom, reportedly conscious and alert.
An autopsy revealed that Weller was stabbed more than 140 times all over his body, and also sustained a skull fracture that was caused by a meat cleaver.
“Cleaning tools, including a wet-mop cleaner, a broom and a dustpan, were on the floor near the victim’s body,” police said of the scene. “All the items near the decedent were bloodstained. The numerous injuries to the body, coupled with bloodstains cast or otherwise spread on the walls, ceiling, counters, and cabinets made it obvious a violent struggle occurred.”
Also, per ABC affiliate WPBF, the murder comes just two months after Weller filed for divorce from Burke.
Burke’s attorney, Nicole Hamil-Scott, told the local news station that one item of possible dispute could have been the couple’s real estate, which under Florida law would have to be split.
“That could be one of the reasons… under Florida statute, whenever there are marital assets pursuant to the Florida law those marital assets would need to be equitably divided between the parties and certainly without getting too much into attorney-client privilege, the parties had substantial assets between themselves,” Hamil-Scott said.
Burke appeared before a judge in a virtual hearing on Sunday and is currently being held without bond at the Palm Beach County Jail.
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