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Saturday, December 20, 2014, 2:15 p.m.
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Woman accused of fatally stabbing man at Pulaski County home

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published January 27, 2014 at 8:01 a.m. Updated January 27, 2014 at 9:44 a.m.

melissa-stearns

Melissa Stearns.

A Pulaski County woman is accused of stabbing a man to death during an argument at the home they shared outside Little Rock.

Melissa Stearns, 35, is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing Saturday of 63-year-old Herschel Johnson at 15500 Minton Road. An attorney representing her during an arraignment Monday said the stabbing was in self-defense.

Police responded about 10:30 p.m. after Johnson's brother found him dead in the residence from an apparent stab wound.

Stearns wasn't there when authorities arrived, but she was arrested the next day at Lawson and Sullivan roads. According to a Pulaski County sheriff's office report, she said she and Johnson got into an argument that ended with her stabbing Johnson.

"[Stearns] fled the scene and after initial interview advised she was unaware of the incident," police wrote in the report.

Stearns made an initial appearance by video Monday in Pulaski County District Court, where an innocent plea was entered and bail was set at $400,000. Judge Wayne Gruber said that figure reflected the serious charge as well as Stearns' eight previous failure-to-appears.

Betsy Johnston, a public defender representing Stearns for the hearing, said Stearns "advised it was in self-defense." Stearns didn't speak during the brief hearing.

Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Carl Minden said Stearns and Johnston lived together but were not necessarily in a relationship.

Stearns remained in the Pulaski County jail Monday morning after her bail was set.

Comments on: Woman accused of fatally stabbing man at Pulaski County home

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 total comments

HarleyOwner says... January 27, 2014 at 11:02 a.m.

There needs to be stricter knife control laws.

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ToTheLeft says... January 27, 2014 at 11:15 a.m.

That's not funny. Someone died.

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RoyDaMercer says... January 27, 2014 at 1:21 p.m.

It's about as funny as djigoo throwing barbs every time someone is killed by a gun. Gooey's track record is much worst than Harley's one comment here

( | suggest removal )

LR1955 says... January 27, 2014 at 3:16 p.m.

We don't know that she stabbed the decedent with a knife. She might have used a harpoon she removed from her backside.

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