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.