The five-day jury trial of a former Almena woman charged in the stabbing death of her boyfriend in August 2019 moved into its third day this morning, Wednesday, Feb.17, 2021, according to Barron County Circuit Court documents.
Melanie R. Kuula, 45, is accused of second-degree intentional homicide in the stabbing of 50-year-old Brent M. Bents during an Aug. 10, 2019, domestic quarrel at their downtown Almena apartment.
The victim was found lying on the ground in a yard behind a Soo Avenue apartment building. Bents was pronounced dead at the scene.
If convicted, Kuula could face up to a 60-year prison term.
Court records show Kuula spent more than a year in jail following her arrest, but was freed when $25,000 cash bond was posted at the end of August 2020. The defendant has been living in Birchwood since then, court documents said.
Jury selection took up the first two hours of the trial on Monday, Feb. 15, as potential jurors were questioned by two prosecutors, including District Attorney Brian Wright and Assistant District Attorney John O’Boyle, and defense attorneys Ryan Raymond and Andrew T. Knaak.
Circuit Court Judge James C. Babler denied the request of one juror to be excused.
After opening statements by Wright and Raymond, the prosecution lasted the remainder of the day.
Court records said jurors were presented with details from the 911 call made on the night the crime was committed. Two citizen witnesses testified, as well as two Barron County Sheriff’s deputies and a Wisconsin State Trooper.
Jurors were presented with a total of 80 photographs taken at the crime scene.