Melania Kuula

Charges are still pending in stabbing case

Formal charges were expected today, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, against a 44-year-old Almena woman, suspected in causing the stabbing death of her boyfriend during a domestic quarrel on Saturday, Aug. 10, according to the Turtle Lake Police Department.

Al Gabe, Turtle Lake chief of police, confirmed the identity of suspect Melanie R. Kuula, 206 Soo Ave. E., Almena.

Jail records indicate Kuula was being held on a charge of second-degree intentional homicide in the death of an as-yet unidentified 50-year-old man, also of Almena.

According to county dispatch logs, a man called 911 shortly before 4:30 p.m. Saturday to report “his neighbor showed up at his (home) stating she stabbed her boyfriend.”

The victim was reported lying on the ground in a yard behind Kuula’s home.

Cumberland Ambulance and Life Link Helicopter were paged, but the calls were later cancelled when police confirmed the victim was deceased, just after 4:30 p.m.

Records say the suspect was arrested at another Soo Avenue address minutes later.

Dispatch records also said the Saturday afternoon incident was the second time police had been called to the suspect’s home. A report filed shortly before 12 noon Saturday indicated three people were fighting, including two men and a woman. One citation was issued.

According to Gabe, the incident remained an active investigation late Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 13.

He said investigators were processing the crime scene for more than 24 hours after the body was discovered, until about 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.

The Turtle Lake Police Department is in charge of patrol in the village of Almena. Gabe said this event appears to be the first homicide in the village for many years.

“I’ve been involved in law enforcement here the last 30 years,” he said. “We’ve had some stabbings in Almena, but they only involved superficial wounds – nothing life-threatening.

“We’ve been trying to recall, but we can’t think of another homicide (in Almena),” Gabe added.

Lengthy record

A check of criminal court files indicates that the suspect in the Almena homicide was on probation in connection with half a dozen misdemeanor offenses dating back to April 2018 when the Aug. 10 stabbing took place.

Between mid-April 2018 and January 2019, Kuula was charged with disorderly conduct/domestic abuse, misdemeanor battery, encouraging someone to violate probation, resisting and/or obstructing an officer, and 10 counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.

In a plea deal reached last Jan. 25, 2019, Kuula pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct/domestic abuse and one count of misdemeanor bail jumping. Charges in four other cases were either dismissed outright or dismissed and read into the record.

She was sentenced to 18 months’ probation and 40 hours of community service, was ordered to seek and keep a job, undergo treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse, maintain absolute sobriety, and avoid places where alcohol is served.